Friday, March 18, 2016

To Catch a Leprechaun

If you know me at all, you know that I am not a holiday mom.

Holidays are just not my thing. I mean, I like them, sure.  But I'm not a mom who does themed birthday parties, or makes green eggs on Dr. Seuss day, or hides an elf on a shelf, or any of those other over-and-above things.

I have no problem with other moms doing those things. You want a Little Mermaid party, complete with mermaid cake topped with fondant fishies? Go for it. Is your elf layout Pinterest worthy? Great. But I lack the creativity - and the patience - to pull off those kinds of things. I know this about myself, so I don't even try to compete on that level.

In our house, even the tooth fairy is a slacker.  She seldom remembers to come the first night the tooth is under the pillow, and she never left a note in her life until the kids starting writing to her and requesting answers.

Santa does pretty well. He actually has different handwriting from mine, so they can tell it's from him and not us.  And he always shows up on time - unless the pouch mail is stuck in the States.

The Easter bunny does a great job around here.  But that's mostly because my husband is in charge of that, jelly bean trail and all.  If it were up to me, they'd get quite a bit less candy in those baskets - and more of it would be the kind of candy I could steal from them while they were away at school.  Seriously, Peeps? Waxy milk chocolate bunnies? And don't even get me started on Cadbury eggs. Disgusting. What's wrong with a simple box of Fran's dark chocolate caramels?

St. Patrick's Day is what I'd consider a Level Three holiday.  I know it exists, but it doesn't require any effort whatsoever on my part. I don't own a single item of green clothing, and I'd never drink a green beer.  It's just another day to me.

Last year, for the first time ever, my kids seemed aware of the holiday. My daughters were a bit disappointed when they came home from school that day because all of their friends were talking about the green cereal and the green milk that they'd had for breakfast, and the frosted green cakes their moms made for dessert.  Why, they wanted to know, didn't we do anything green for St. Patrick's Day? So I quickly put a drop of green food coloring in the bottom of each of their dinner glasses.  At dinner, when I poured sparkling water into the cups, the water fizzed green.  They were delighted with the magic, and so was I - such an easy trick!

This year, on the evening of the 16th, A started scrounging around for tape and boxes and scissors.

"I'm making a leprechaun trap,"  she explained.

"Hmmmm..." I replied non-commitally.  I don't even know what a leprechaun trap is.  She cut and glued and taped for a few hours while I got dinner organized and cleaned up afterwards.  Then we all went to bed and I gave the trap exactly zero thoughts.

Until the next morning, that is.

On the morning of the 17th, she ran downstairs to check the trap.  I felt a vague sense of unease as she bolted past me on the stairs.  Leprechaun trap?  Was I supposed to participate in some way in this trapping thing?

She reached the dining room, where her complex pile of boxes sat on the table, untouched by leprechaun hands.  The look of disappointment on her face just about killed me. She had apparently genuinely believed that there was going to be a leprechaun in that box when she woke up. And here I'd thought it was a mere art project. She went off to school in a foul, foul mood.

Later that morning at the gym, I told my friend AG about the morning's trauma.

"No problem," she said.  "My mom used to toss gold glitter around and tell me the leprechauns had made the mess.  You just need to find some glitter and she'll be happy."

So I posted a plea on Facebook - where else would one turn to find glitter at the last moment in Moscow? Within minutes, another friend, MP, replied that she was on her way with glitter and foil shamrocks.

Soon enough, she rang the bell (wearing a perfectly festive green coat because of course she had the right outfit, too), holding a bag of glitter, shamrocks and gold chocolate coins. And she explained to me that the trick to the leprechaun trap is that it doesn't actually catch any leprechauns.  Apparently, her daughters build a trap every year, and every year they awake to discover that once again, the leprechaun has managed to escape the trap.

"You have to destroy the trap," she explained, "so they can see that the leprechaun escaped.  Sprinkle the glitter all around. Then they'll try to figure out how to build a better trap next year."

If there's one thing I'm good at, it's destroying arts n' crafts projects.  You should see me try to make a play dough farm animal.  It's ridiculous how much effort I put into it, when the end result always looks like the same sticky blob propped on 4 smaller leg-shaped blobs.

So I destroyed the trap. I punched a hole in the side, pulled the ladder out, stole the coin and buried the whole thing in glitter.  It looked pretty good when I was done.

When A came home that night and saw the trap, she was overjoyed.  A leprechaun! She'd almost caught a leprechaun! Now she could tell Bobby at school that he was wrong when he said there's no such thing.

The only problem? Well, she reallyreally wanted to write the leprechaun a note.  I explained that it was too late - the day was almost over, and there'd be no more leprechauns for a year.

Dear reader, she wrote it anyway.

What to do? I decided that I could safely ignore the letter because the holiday was practically over.  So I left it on the table and went to bed.

March 18th. Holiday over, with only a bit of disappointment about the fact that the leprechaun didn't write back.  I'm starting to write this blog post about leprechaun traps.  I hear K from the study: "mommy, how do you spell leprechaun?"

I tell her, and go back to making dinner.

A half hour passes.  Suddenly - a bloodcurdling scream from the dining room.  It's A.  I have no idea what has happened, and I run to her in a panic.

A is standing in the middle of the room, shaking and waving a paper at me. "Sally!" she screams.  "She wrote to me! SALLY THE LEPRECHAUN WROTE TO ME!!"

I look at the paper, and sure enough, it's a note, typed in green ink, signed by Sally the leprechaun.  And it's addressed to A.  It wasn't there just an hour ago, but it's there now, no mistaking it.

A reads it aloud, and the detail is astounding.  Sally the leprechaun mentions the fishbowl in A's classroom, tells how clever she thought the trap was, and finishes by writing "tell your cool sister I really loved her leprechaun drawing."

A is thrilled.  K is standing next to her, reading over her shoulder, grinning ear to ear.

"Mom," K whispers in my ear later on, "you know it wasn't really a leprechaun who wrote that letter, right?" She smiles proudly.

Yes, K, I know.  But did you know that your little sister already wrote another note to Sally, asking for a photo?  You'd better get busy.

See that hole? I made it myself. Don't tell A, though. She thinks Sally did it.


Elaine said... [Reply]

LOVE this story!

Brighid said... [Reply]

Oh my great story.
Going to pull this one on my grands, who think they are too old for the wonder of make believe...

Please. Write your own stuff.