The Bottle Fairy (a short story)
One spring evening, after I had tucked Mushroom in to bed, I stood at the window watching twilight turn the sky a stunning blue/black and sprinkle the first stars across the sky. I walked down the stairs to wash the dishes and was stopped in my tracks by a dazzling light. Purple and blue stars fizzed across the hallway floor and stopped at my feet. I tried to touch them but as I bent down I heard a whispering… ‘Shhh… shh…’ There was a quick flash of light and a small boy appeared. He looked like any other small boy apart from the wings. Enormous purple wings that spanned the entire hallway. Oh, and the blue face. You know, like a smurf. He folded his wings and coughed. ‘Are you Mushroom’s Mum?’ he asked politely. I nodded. ‘Great. I’m in the right place then. Um, you see… I’ve noticed that Mushroom is a big boy now but he’s still having a bottle before his bath.’ He paused. ‘I know he really enjoys the cuddle time with you, but there are several little babies who live nearby, who need those bottles. He doesn’t really need it any more, does he?’ I shook my head no. I think a visit from a blue fairy would stun most of you into silence. He sensed my apprehension. ‘It’s ok Mum, I won’t leave you empty handed.’ He presented me with a brand new gold sippy cup and told me that Mushroom had been expecting him and wouldn’t be at all surprised by these events. Before I could recover enough to say anything, he took all of Mushroom’s bottles, bundled them into his backpack and vanished in a cloud of sparkling purple smoke.
Did you like the short story above? I have added in more detail to make it more interesting for the grown-ups but this is basically what I told Mushroom the day after I gave him his last bottle. I’d already brought a new (yellow – couldn’t actually find a gold one!) sippy cup. Then, once he was asleep, I hid all his bottles. The following evening before his bath, I sat him down and told him the above story. I then asked him if he wanted to use his new cup. I’m not sure how much of the story he understood but he was very excited about the new cup and couldn’t wait to use it. He jumped up and down when he saw it (he had no words at this point) and shouted animatedly. He then drank all of his milk and he hasn’t had (or shown any interest in) a bottle since.
This all happened in early May, when Mushroom was around 14 months old. I don’t know if he was just ready and would have happily given up the bottle anyway, but I am sure the story helped. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but just in case there are any copyright issues, I basically stole Jo Frost (Supernanny)’s dummy/paci fairy story and adapted it for my purposes. If any of you are weaning your toddlers from bottles to cups and you use a version of this story, please let me know whether it works for you by leaving a comment below! If you’ve already weaned your toddler (earlier or later), I’d be interested in how you did this too. Let’s all share our knowledge and help out Kara and anyone else who might find this information useful!