Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Leprechauns are A-Holes

Let me begin by saying we do not make much of St. Patrick's Day. I decorate for lots of minor holidays--Valentines day gets pink and red hearts, Easter is pastel bunnies and birds, I put up Fourth of July banners and we've got pumpkins that turn to jack-o-lanterns and then I pull out the turkeys to get us through fall before busting out Christmas decor. We are plenty festive, is what I'm saying.

But we aren't Irish. We aren't Catholic. And (here's where I admit what a grinch I am) parades are not my favorite thing. I don't love crowds and I loathe port-a-potties, so dragging my family downtown to a St. Patrick's Day parade is unlikely to ever happen unless my kids really beg for it. St. Patrick's Day was virtually ignored by my parents (I don't even know if we wore green) and wasn't a thing when I was at school, so it's just not really on my radar.

(I am all about celebrating pi day with pie, though.)

Anyway, like most of us world wide, I've been feeling a little stressed of late and St. Paddy's day was not really even on my mind as I headed into the office yesterday.

HOWEVER. I try to be a fun mom. So I wore a green cardigan and even put G in her little green "Stay Lucky" shirt (the girls all have matching ones). I let the girls eat Lucky Charms for breakfast. I really thought that this was a perfectly sufficient acknowledgement of a holiday that means nothing to me. I certainly was not in a place where I felt I had the bandwidth to imagine, let alone enact, some leprechaun antics. And really, green beer doesn't do it for me.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash
But apparently a leprechaun got into Zuzu's first grade classroom last year. He turned chairs upside down! He covered up all the vowels in the alphabet posted on the wall! HOW HILARIOUS. I guess this made an enormous impression on Zuzu. I had no idea.

I did not realize that the girls were eagerly anticipating a leprechaun visit. This is not something that has happened before and not something that David and I have EVER talked about. I've joked about leprechauns pinching people who don't wear green (Coco apparently thinks leprechauns look like crabs with pincer claws, lol) but I have never even hinted that a leprechaun might come to our house.

I did not know that the girls constructed an elaborate leprechaun trap that involved Cadbury eggs carefully placed in a small tupperware container, rocks, and string. When their trap did not produce a leprechaun (and they had a full day at home essentially just free ranging while David and his dad worked outside), they apparently decided to create their own leprechaun antics as a surprise for David and me.

Guess how two stressed out parents are going to react to surprise leprechaun antics?

If you're not sure how we might respond, let's try to imagine the following scenario:

Imagine you arrive home from work after a stressful day of trying to figure out what work even looks like when you're doing it all remotely and students are stressed out about credits and projects and research and abandoned study abroad experiences. Imagine you have schlepped home your laptop, books, papers, and your breast pump because you don't know when you'll make it back to the office and you are not sure how you'll do your job remotely while also homeschooling two children and caring for a baby.

Imagine that your partner has been doing manual labor building a deck all day and is exhausted physically as well as being stressed out about what social distancing and school cancellations means for his school community.

And then imagine that when you walk in the house, you see that this "leprechaun" got into your pantry and opened the flour and spilled flour all over the floor of the kitchen and then tracked it to make leprechaun footprints all the way down the hallway to the living room.

Imagine there are three dogs at your house who are now licking up the flour and also running around tracking it everywhere and jumping on the furniture.

Also imagine that this leprechaun likes coins (we know all leprechauns love gold coins, right, but apparently in a pinch any old coin will do). Imagine this leprechaun climbed up on a chair to get the huge beer stein that holds your spare change. Imagine this spare change--ALL OF IT--was then scattered all over the floor of your kitchen, through the flour, down the hallway then on through the living room, the book room, the foyer, and dining room.

Imagine you have a 10-month-old baby who now cannot be put down on the floor.

Imagine how you might react.

There was a lot of yelling, you guys.

And I feel bad because I think the girls really thought that we would think it was a hilarious joke.

Readers, we did not find it hilarious.

So there was yelling and the asking of fruitless questions: "What were you thinking?" (David to the girls) and also "Why weren't you watching them?" (me to David) and then lots of blaming: "They're old enough to know better." (David to me) but also "No, actually, they are FIVE and SEVEN and this is why children need ADULT SUPERVISION!" (me to David).

Then Zuzu ran away (literally).

The thing you have to know about Zuzu is that she fights fire with fire. You literally cannot yell at her and get her to do anything. She will scream right back and slam a door in your face. She ain't skeered of her parents and she gives zero shits if we are furious or disappointed. I also think she was shocked by our reaction (she really thought it was going to be funny) and then embarrassed that she had been so wrong about it. But because we (and by we I really do mean David) got so mad so fast, she just got mad right back. She screamed that she was going to live in the woods and then ran out the door and into the woods.

No one went after her because we were busy cleaning the house so it was literally inhabitable for our youngest child.

Coco (bless her heart) got teary-eyed because she was in trouble and then helped me pick up the coins so her baby sister wouldn't choke on them. David swept up the flour and then Coco watched the baby while I swept and then mopped all the hardwood floors.

And eventually Zuzu she limped back home crying because she was sad and because she hadn't put on shoes and was cold and had cut her foot on a stick.

So then I put her in the bath tub and we talked about making mistakes and how the best response to making a mistake is to say you're sorry and help to fix things and make them right, not to run away in order to avoid dealing with the mistake. I know that's a hard lesson for any of us, especially seven year olds.

I still felt a lot of frustration with David rather than the girls because they had obviously been completely unsupervised or they wouldn't have been able to make this mess. I actually said to him, "I'm feeling really frustrated!" and he said, "I know, me too." And I had to clarify, "No... my frustration is WITH YOU."

You know how it is when everyone is tired, stressed out, and essentially under house arrest for the foreseeable future. I mean, really. I don't need to explain. You all know how it is.

I took a hot bath last night. It did not really make me feel better.

Then I went downstairs and decided to finish off the brownies we'd made.

That F@#$ing leprechaun had frosted the last brownie with toothpaste.

(At least that was honestly a pretty good joke.)

Takeaways: St. Patrick's Day is officially my least favorite holiday.

I need to take control of the leprechaun mischief so the girls do not do it themselves.

Next year I'll just put green food coloring in the toilets and call it a day.


  1. O.M.G.!!! I do not blame you in the least for getting upset, Brooke. NOT what you need, especially not right now. I am sure the girls have no idea what kind of additional stress all the adults are under right now... although I am sure you will all laugh about it in, oh, 10 or 15 years or so. ;)

    I blame the Holiday Industrial Complex. ;) I had to go digging around in my archives to find a post where I KNEW I had mentioned St. Patrick's Day celebrations that included mischievous leprechauns -- it was a December 2013 post about the Elf on the Shelf, which referenced THIS post by Rage Against the Minivan (the link to it from my blog was broken but I was still able to find the post). It's 7 years old, and obviously things have not improved on the overhyped holiday front.

  2. Obviously your memory has failed you. I, at least, always tried to wear green on St. Pat Day and pinch you if you didn't. But it almost always fell during school spring break so maybe that's why you don't remember it well. But you should remember the time I bought a green angel food cake for a special St. Pat's Day dessert and your brother asked me where the special dessert was b3cause he's color blind and didn't notice the cake was green! Lol!

  3. I love the expression “she fights fire with fire”. Same here and it’s not easy to always stay calm. I have a feeling that (IF I manage to remember this line in the heat of a moment) this can really help me.
    Thank you!
    Stay healthy and keep on writing (if you can find the time). I love checking your blog at night and finding a new post.
    Greetings from Berlin. Cordula 🎈

  4. This sounds super annoying, but I admit I did cackle at the brownie. Talk about adding insult to injury! I would also be more frustrated with the other parent, though--building a deck doesn't seem like the most important thing to focus on right now, when there are small children to be supervised.

  5. So happy to see your post today, as I really enjoy your writing. My oldest daughter would have reacted just as Zuzu did at age 7! I somehow intuitively knew this about her from early on, but my mom who was the (paid) "Granny Nanny" at the time just couldn't grasp it. That was the year when my husband and I found a way to handle the driving for morning and afternoon daycare at the elementary school and my mom's job was lightened to just the younger two kids...
    Anyway, thanks again for the post and having me laugh out loud through the tears at the brownie finale!

  6. I'm so very sorry, but this was hands down the best thing I've read in a week!! 😂😂😂 I love that you shared it. Much respect!! It will be a lot funnier in say, five years, give or take? Your girls are so sweet and smart and sassy- it shows how safe and loved they know they are that they even dared to think this up!!