Friday, March 16, 2012

Melissa vs. The Leprechaun 
March.  It's a month devoid of any major holiday.  We're not quite sure if winter is coming or going, and we count the days until we can trade in our down jackets for t-shirts and shorts.  Just as we think the boredom of March will drive us insane, along comes a built in excuse to wear green, make merry, and try as hard as we can to catch a sneaky little leprechaun.  Yes, I am talking about 
St. Patrick's Day!

For my 14-year old daughter Melissa, St. Patrick's Day marks the anniversary of her "terrifying" encounter with a leprechaun.  Step back in time with me, if you will, to March 17, 2007.  As her appropriately named third grade teacher Miss Green (I am not kidding) read stories about these fabled, feisty Irish fairies, Melissa and her friend Sarah became determined to actually catch one of these mischievous munchkins.  Even though leprechauns have outwitted generations of trap-setting Irishmen, two  nine year old girls were convinced that they, and they alone, would succeed!

So, the girls spent hours developing a comprehensive trap-setting plan.  Step one involved one girl sleeping over the other's house on St. Patrick's Day eve, for surely that would be the best day for a leprechaun to be caught in the act.  Our house became the designated leprechaun lure, with Melissa's bedroom setting the stage for the over-the-top trap!

As Sarah and Melissa approached the task at hand, they decided the best way to trap a leprechaun would be to turn the bedroom into a resort and spa for little green men.  Steaming hot water helped to transform a soup bowl into a soothing leprechaun hot tub.  Construction paper and green crayons invited the leprechaun to express his creativity, while green confetti and Lucky Charms cereal set the celebratory mood.  Barbie dolls were dressed in their Sunday best as they sat ready and waiting for the leprechaun to invite them to play, and of course, gold coins aplenty (the chocolate version) were strategically placed in a bowl in the middle of the floor.  

As the girls put the finishing touches on the trap, morality began to set it.  They thought it might be a bit mean to trap the little guy, but still, they didn't want their hard work to go to waste.  They decided that, if the leprechaun came, they would not capture him but simply observe him at play while feigning sleep.

With all of the wheels in motion, the only task that remained was to climb into bed and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And while they waited, excitement turned to trepidation, trepidation turned to fear, then fear turned to terror.  What if the leprechaun became evil?   Would he attack them?  Were they safe?  What had they done!?

In the meantime, the "leprechaun" waited and waited and waited for the girls to fall asleep so "he" could sneak in undetected and check into the resort and spa.  The "leprechaun", who in reality stood 5' 5" tall, had long brown hair, and answered to the name of "mom", tiptoed ever so slowly into Melissa's room, while the leprechaun's husband Bob stood watch in the hall.  The girls moved ever so slightly, perhaps sensing a presence in the room.  I froze, waiting until both girls were silent and still.  Then I tipped over the water, tossed the barbies around, stole most of the gold coins, and used the green crayon to write a note of thanks for the fun, signed by, who else....the leprechaun!

In the morning, the girls woke up and were absolutely astounded by the site!  The leprechaun had come and played in the bedroom and made a mess and left them a note, AND THEY SLEPT RIGHT THROUGH IT!  

As for the leprechaun, instead of placing his newly found gold in the pot at the end of the rainbow, the coins found a nice hiding place at the bottom of Bob's sock drawer, never to be discovered by our innocent offspring......or so we thought.

About a year later, I asked Melissa to help me with the laundry.  I folded socks, while she put them away in her drawer, my drawer, and.....uh oh.....Bob's drawer.

"Mom, why are there gold coins in Daddy's sock drawer?" came her accusatory questioning.

Danger, danger!  Think fast!  Think fast!

"Well, the leprechaun must have put them there to hide them from you."

"Oh, ok."

I heaved a sign of relief.  She bought it!  I couldn't believe it, and, so I learned, neither did she.

A few days later as we struggled through the nightly ritual brushing of her long, knot infested hair, she asked the question I had been dreading.  

"Mom, are you really the leprechaun?"

"What?  No, of course not!"

"Really Mom, it's ok, you can tell me the truth, I won't be mad."

"Seriously sweety, I am not the leprechaun."

"Really Mom, I won't be mad, I promise."

So on and on this conversation went until finally I decided she had become old enough so know the truth.

"Alright sweety, you're right.  It was me.  I was really the leprechaun, it was me who snuck into your room in the middle of the night and messed up your room," I admitted.

Pause.  Pause.


So much for Melissa's promise of not getting mad.  While trying to explain my motivation (love), I also came clean about the tooth fairy and Santa Clause.  Being Jewish, the latter didn't bother me quite so much, but I made her promise not to spill the beans to her friends who still believed in St. Nick.  Even though her mom had spoiled the fun, Melissa's friends still deserved to enjoy a few more moments of childhood innocence.

The irony rocked my world.  Here, in trying to bring life to my baby girl's imagination, I donned an alter ego, only to lose her trust once my secret was revealed.  If I could, I would become the leprechaun every year.  Even traveling to her house on St. Patrick's Day when she is married with kids of her own.  I want her to relish in those childhood fantasies where no one questions the existence of little green men, and flying fairies really do exchange teeth for treasure.  For all too soon, reality takes hold and childhood evolves into a "not as much fun" grown up world.

This year, as St. Patrick's Day approached, Sarah called Melissa and invited her to sleep over on March 17.  Seems the girls want to relive the past, treasure the memory, and just maybe, reenact their terrifying showdown with the leprechaun.  Perhaps they're not quite so ready to grow up after all!
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  1. Love it! I had a similar experience with the Easter bunny.....

  2. You are right...I loved the blog.... just hope Mrs. Leprechaun can figure out how the leprechaun trap works!!!¡

  3. What a great imagination your daughter has! I know how you must have felt bad when she found the gold coins in the sock drawer, but at least the girls are planning another showdown with the little green men. Have a great time! Wonderful post.

  4. Awww, every parent has to go through this and I was glad when I was flat-out busted by my oldest child, faking sleep, while I tried to be the Tooth Fairy. She busted out from under the covers with a flashlight in my face! I was caught red-handed. She didn't realize that it meant the money would stop though, so her younger sister, I've noticed, has been very careful not to catch me and pretends to still believe whole-heartedly in EVERYTHING! LOL!

  5. Loll! A spa for little green men. Love it. Fun post.

  6. LOL Lisa!! This was such a good/funny read! It's rather late and I have work in the morning, but I am so glad I decided to read your post before hitting the sack. Now I get fall asleep in a good mood! I remember asking my parents if there really were such things as mum just said "no" and my dad said "yes, in the woods." I was terrified for the woods...for about a week until I forgot ha :D

  7. This is hilarious! I've never heard of parents posing as leprechauns before. I may have to do this for Q someday. I mean, we're already lying about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, so why not? :) Getting all caught up on your blog today!