The incredible flying shirt prototype…

“Dad,” she says, “Dad, back out of the way.”

“What? Why?”

“Open the door, too. And move. Right there. No, over there.”

I open the door. I scoot out of the way. I look up at her with a question written on my face.

“So I don’t fly into you when I fly out of the room,” she answers.

She has a lot more faith in this flying shirt business than I do.

Then again, I don’t believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. She does. She believes her parents actually let strangers into the house at night to leave her toys or take her teeth, gifting her money with which to buy candy. You think at some point she’d put two and two together, figuring out that should these strangers attempt this in the day time, say, on the sidewalk, we’d call the police and have a little talk about dark vans and the dangers of tinted bubble glass. But she’s 6. She believes in magic. She believes in the kindness of northern strangers and winged fairy folk.

And she believes this flying shirt will actually work. She believes that if this test flight goes well, she’ll never need a car seat again, that she can simple flap her arms and hover above the freeway all the way to Grammy’s house. Her eyes, they are absolutely bursting with possibility.

“OK,” she says, testing her arms, “Ready?”

Her toes creep to the edge of her bunk bed. I make sure the door is open.

She counts. She launches. She hits the ground with a whomping thud.

“Hmm,” she finally says, “I don’t think … I don’t think we used the right fabric.”

Maybe that’s it.

Just a normal shirt, right?

Boom! Magic. Now back up, sucka fool.


The flying shirt was all her idea.

It was our summer project — something we were supposed to work on and perfect, but instead kept putting off in favor of camps and play dates and family vacations. Finally, with time running out, we hit the sewing machine and created this prototype monstrosity. I say monstrosity because I never tucked the wings into the shirt before sewing the sides together — essentially installing the wings on the inside of the shirt instead of the outside. I know, I know, rookie mistake. I had to tear it all apart and try again, creating something that ultimately looked like the first offerings at the inaugural Helen Keller craft show.


But we’re working on a newer, better model. I’ll have pictures and directions soon. It’s a SUPER. EASY. craft project that takes all of ten minutes but creates such magic and wonder and awe that you, too, might feel the urge to creep closer to the edge of the bunk bed and feel the rush of innocent possibility wash over your cynical soul.

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  1. Awesome idea. Scares me a little tho – I think this project is for when Ava is a few years older. She has been wearing her pixie dust necklace pretty much non-stop since we gave it to her. She knows she’s supposed to use it “Only in Emergency” (just like Jake and the Neverland Pirates) – but everything seems to constitute an emergency. (We’re out of milk!! Uh oh, that sounds like an EMERGENCY!)

    I’m just waiting for the day when she grabs inside the pixie dust pouch and tosses the invisible pixie dust into the air (glitter (aka herpes of the craft world) is too messy so we got her to believe pixie dust can also be invisible and still work) – and tries to jump off something and hurt herself.

  2. Ha! Love it. You have a daredeveil on your hands. We started with beds and couches first. It’s pretty clear, even for the young ones, that this shit don’t work.

  3. If kids had runways (maybe they do, and I don’t know about it–thankfully), this would be all over them.

  4. My son had some Batman PJs with wings once. Luckily he didn’t know how to open his 2nd floor bedroom window.

  5. Hmm, I don’t know if they have runways either — well, maybe the TLC babyshow kind, but that’s not the same at all … we need to work on that.

    I would have KILLED for those PJs … nice work, man.