"Mom," Allie whined. "We didn't see any leprechauns today!"
It was 9:00 pm on St. Patrick's Day. I felt like I had adequately fulfilled my holiday obligations by that time, with the now-gone day spent crafting and decorating, reading Irish legends, poetry, and blessings, hunting clover, and other shenanigans. (This is the one time of year I allow myself to use the word "shenanigans.") It was time to send the kids to bed, and time for me to do nothing. I was pretty excited about that.
Allie disappeared upstairs. Noises followed. Sounds of digging around, stuff falling, something being torn up. Definitely not the sounds of a kid sleeping soundly. Allie soon reappeared, and she needed my help.
"It's a leprechaun trap, but we won't call it that. They won't get in it if they know it's a trap." She pushed a box at me. At one time, it had been a long, narrow USPS priority mail box. The end was hacked off, and she had plans.
A half an hour later, the box had bars made from pipe cleaners, was painted green, and bore glittery signs saying "Leprechaun House! and "Home Sweet Home." On the back of the box was a sparkly crowned fish, because now the box was a pub named "The Happy Herring." The Happy Herring was full of candy in shiny wrappers, and, once it was put in its place on the floor, surrounded by fake grass, birds, and plastic ducks. If it were real, I'd probably be at the Happy Herring every night.
"How will it get in? If it can get in, can't it get back out?" asked Allie. She's quick.
"Weeellll, it will get in pretty easily, but once it eats all the candy, it'll be too fat to escape." My ability to lie under pressure is one of my greatest gifts as a parent. (I'm kidding.) (A little.)
"You're right, Mom!" Allie yelled happily. She had more questions, I had more answers, the bars were tweaked, more candy was added, prayers were offered up to St. Patrick. Really. Allie was finally satisfied and bounced off to bed. I was troubled and had to make a quick trip to the store to get leprechaun supplies. I was hoping to find doll house miniatures and doll clothes, but of course they didn't have any of that, so I had to get felt to sew the leprechaun clothes, stickers, and little cheap gifts.
The tired and definitely unpleasant lady at the check-out looked at me like I was crazy. "You KNOW St. Patrick's was today and there's no reason to buy leprechaun stickers now because it's NOT like they're on sale, RIGHT?" she barked at me.
"I have to fake a visit from a leprechaun and have stuff for our leprechaun trap," I replied, like it was the most normal thing in the world. She didn't say anything.
(I can't sew. Obviously. Thankfully, leprechauns make shoes and not sportswear, so it was convincing craftsmanship.)
Three hours later, I had made a leprechaun shirt and pants, eaten or thrown away most of the candy, and printed a letter from an angry leprechaun. (I would like to apologize to the Irish and to leprechauns for my terrible, no-good Irish/pirate/something-I-saw-in-a-movie-once accent.) The bars were stretched out on the Happy Herring, and there was leprechaun barf inside. I could go to bed feeling clever and also slightly ridiculous.
I was woken up too early the next morning by three giddy kids, all talking a mile a minute about the destruction! and the clothes! and the letter! It was fantastic. I sat in the floor in the morning sunshine, laughing with the kids over "Naked Joe" and his letter, and was grateful for kids who can still believe in slightly crazy, magical things.