Since my oldest daughter was cognizant of the world around her, not just my breasts and the milk they provided, we have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a special way. For the last 7 years or so we have set traps to catch the leprechaun that sneaks in our house on St. Patty’s Eve. He makes messes (guess who made it and then has to clean it up?!) and always leaves gold coins and shamrock confetti. Sometimes he has even turned our mashed potatoes or cake green. Alas, my laddy, we have never been able to catch the wee feller.
I really love making my girls feel the magic of childhood imagination. Santa, Easter Bunny, Leprecauns, Fairies, I take every opportunity. I know some people would say that I was deceiving them with these fairytales, setting them up for disappointment. However, to these fuddy-duds I say, “Bah!”. Childhood should be full of magic, beauty, innocence, and fun. And yes there will be a little disappointment. Life is full of let downs: when you realize the pedestrian man behind the curtain is the great and powerful Oz. But what do you think is more disappointing: finding out at 10 or 12 that there is no Santa, Easter Bunny or leprechauns after believing in them and enjoying them for years. Or being told at 4 or 5, when the child first asks you who/what is Santa and being told that Santa doesn’t exist, magic and fairy tales don’t exist and the other kids at school are being told lies by their parents. Yikes, I’ll take option 1 please with a side of pixie dust.
But I digress. Each year it gets harder to top what I did the year before. Usually the kids and I make a trap out of a shoebox and tissue paper with something shiny to lure the leprechaun in. We go to sleep and when we wake-up he has knocked over chairs, sprinkled shamrock confetti everywhere and pooped out gold coins as he made his fast escape. He is an imp, this little green guy. Being impish is held in high regard by my children, they take great delight in being imps when I leave them with their grandmother. They can really appreciate the leprechauns tomfoolery in light of their everyday misbehaving-fun.
What they don’t know is how hard it is to play the fool when I have worked all day, driven them to all their activities, pushed them through homework, made dinner, gotten us all bathed, bla bla blaa…It ain’t easy being green, that’s for sure.
Last night, my daughter got out the shoebox and asked me for drippy glue. I told I knew she had some inher room, she said she didn’t. I went on with what I was doing. Soon, The Tattle-Tell came to tell me that B had poured syrup in the box because she couldn’t find any glue. I then lecture B about not pouring food in boxes to draw every bug in the yard to our house (melodrama is my specialty). I took the Head of Project title way from the 9 year old. Not it was Z’s turn to make the trap (reward for tattling maybe?). I suggested to her to set a rabbit-trap: prop the box up at an angle with a stick and the leprechaun will hopefully be trapped underneath as he goes for the bait. I tell her that since leprechauns are such imps she should write on the box “Stay Out! No Leprechauns Allowed!” so he would really want to disobey the rules. We bait it with some jewelry and head to bed.
Later after they are snoring away, I knock the stick down, sprinkle some gold coins around the box. Thankfully, I had some coins in the cupboard since I forget to get any coins or any confetti from the store. I figure they won’t remember the confetti once they see chocolate. I have done all I can do before collapsing into bed.
In the morning the kids get up, check the box, gather up coins and animatedly discuss where the shamrock dust is and why didn’t he make such a mess this time. Then they begin finding messes and blaming it on the leprechaun. “Look, he knocked over that empty bottle of soda. And look, all these dust bunnies in the hall must be from him. And here, the cat food pieces sprinkled around the box, he did that. And that huge pile of laundry, that must have been him too!”
I realized that the leprechaun was taking the blame for my lack of housekeeping. Thanks little man, for one day a year it is nice to share the responsibility with someone else!