Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you’re spending the day… ummm… drinking green beer? Shamrock hunting? Getting some girl named Erin to take off her bra?
I have no idea. See, I’m not Irish. (Plus, I believe beer should be red.)
St. Patrick’s Day has never been much more than a blip on the radar for me, but I do vaguely recall the kids coming home from daycare or school saying that a leprechaun had come to their classroom and left treats. Isn’t that cute? I think that’s really cute. At least, I thought that was really cute as long as St. Patrick’s Day fell on a school day.
“We need to build a trap,” Chickadee announced last night, appearing at my desk just after her shower. She was in her pajamas and combing the tangles out of her freshly-washed hair.
“Mmmmhmmmm,” I answered, ever the picture of maternal involvement. “That’s nice.”
“Moooo-ooooom!” She may have stamped her foot a little. “We need to build a TRAP so we can catch the LEPRECHAUN.” Uh oh. I pushed back from the desk with a sigh.
“Ummm, honey? We’ve never had a leprechaun come to the house. What makes you think one is coming?”
She looked at me with genuine pity for my impaired mental capacity. “Because it’s SAINT PATRICK’S DAY tomorrow? The leprechaun ALWAYS comes on St. Patrick’s Day! And he brings stuff!”
I happen to have it on good authority that the leprechaun had absolutely no plans to stop here today. “Chickie, I think the leprechaun only goes to school. I doubt he’s coming here.” She still didn’t look convinced. “I lock the doors, you know.”
“Oh, THAT doesn’t matter,” she assured me. “He’s coming. I’m going to go put our shoes out.” (Maybe the leprechaun needs shoes? There was no time to ask.) “And I’m going to leave him some directions.” She flounced off to the kitchen.
Ten minutes later, the pleasure of my company was requested. (“MOOOOOM! Come SEE!”) Three pairs of our shoes were set out by the door, along with a small note that said “Come in and follow the notes for a prize!” I followed a series of these scraps of paper on the floor (“You’re getting closer! Keep going!”) until I was led into the downstairs bathroom. On the counter sat a lopsided green shamrock, and beside it, the final note. “This is for good luck. You can have it.”
“Oh BOY!” I said, reaching for the shamrock. “Look what I found! And the note says I can have it!” Chickadee flung herself between me and the counter.
“NO! It’s not for YOU, it’s for the LEPRECHAUN!” I tried to get around her but she matched me step for step, so I ran off in circles around the house, instead.
“YAYYYY!” I called over my shoulder as she chased me. “A shamrock for MEEEEE!”
“NO!” she’d answer between breathless giggles, “the LEPRECHAUN!”
After about four very giggly laps on the first floor, I ran up the stairs. She was right behind me, and we were still debating the shamrock. I ran past the upstairs bathroom, where Monkey was just hanging up his towel. He fell in line behind us and joined Chickadee’s rallying cry, and down the hall we went.
I leapt onto my bed and was tackled. With both of them on top of me yelling “LEPRECHAAAAAAUN!” and all three of us laughing, I decided that I would probably need to negotiate a visit with this leprechaun, because this was quite a show and probably deserved a treat as a reward.
“LEPRECHAUN!” they shrieked in unison.
“LEPRECHAUN!” yelled Monkey, gamely, just as his sister put her face inches from mine and yelled, “LEPROSY!!”
There was a pause. We all burst out laughing again.
“Do you even know what leprosy IS?” I asked her.
“Yes, it’s a skin disease. In ancient times the people who had it were considered unclean.”
Eventually I agreed not to take the shamrock, but to leave it for the leprechaun. We did have to assure Monkey that the leprechaun probably doesn’t have leprosy, though.
We did our reading and then I tucked the kids into bed. “Mama,” Chickadee called from her bed as I was about to close her door. “You know how sometimes the Easter Bunny sometimes leaves little notes to help us find our baskets?”
I wasn’t sure where this was going, but probably not anywhere good. “Yes, honey?”
“Well, for some reason I feel like that must be a human doing that. Bunnies can’t write.”
I was grateful for the darkness, and took a moment to keep my voice serious. “Let me get this straight. You’re willing to believe that there’s a giant bunny who visits every house in the world on one night just to drop off candy-filled eggs and baskets of goodies, but you’re concerned because it doesn’t make sense that he can WRITE?”
She considered this. “Well, yeah.”
“Ooooookay. Well, we can talk about that another time. Go to sleep.”
“Okay, Mama. Mama?”
“Don’t take the shamrock.”
I chuckled. “I won’t. G’night, honey.”
The kids went to sleep and in the morning, whaddaya know? I guess at school the leprechaun leaves them sparkly pencils and chocolate coins, but on his first visit to our house he only had some pocket change and some little packages of Skittles. Huh.
Also, he took the shamrock.
We’re still debating whether or not he had a skin condition.