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07 February 2013 @ 11:03 am
LJ Idol Exhibit A: "Topsy-Turvy"  
Topsy-Turvy
LJ Idol Exhibit A | week 3 | 440 words
Shenanigans!

x-x-x-x-x

When our kids were younger, they had far more interesting St. Patrick's Days than their friends. We upheld a tradition at our house that was invented for that day by my clever sister-in-law: a secret visit from a leprechaun.

Leprechauns are known for making mischief, and every March 17th the kids would wake up and wander through the house to discover exactly what our visitor had been up to. My husband and I prepared everything after the kids were fast asleep, a stealth operation that rivaled both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, because at least those undertakings were quiet.

I had Santa down to a science by the time my oldest was three: all the presents were wrapped in special Santa paper and hidden away days beforehand, and the stocking contents were pre-sorted a night early. Late on Christmas Eve, I'd put bows on the presents and dump the presorted stuff into the stockings, all with a window of exposure that was 5-10 minutes, tops. For the Easter Bunny, the baskets were assembled in secret and put out last minute, and the eggs were carefully hidden late at night. I say "carefully," because while the Easter-egg dye from my childhood actually stayed on the egg, the stuff nowadays tends to gradually drip off onto whatever the egg is touching. On the other hand, nothing rivals the Easter when I was four and everyone got up to discover that the family's Great Dane had spent the night finding and growfing every single one of the hidden eggs. Yuck.

Creating evidence of a leprechaun visit involved moving toys, household items, and furniture—sometimes in the playroom next to where the kids slept, which required nearly ghostlike silence. My sister-in-law's leprechaun tended to move things to the wrong places, like this:


Pictures show a stuffed toy bunny perched on a wall sconce, and a vase of flowers on top of another inverted vase.

But ours went a step further in moving things to weird places, usually multiple things at a time:


Picture shows a large toy robot standing on a chair that is positioned on top of three other chairs.

A chair on the sofa is always good for random weirdness, but it's even better to make your kids wonder exactly what the leprechaun was thinking. We've had TV remote controls going for rides in toy cars, and plastic play-set toys communing with kitchen utensils. Better still, things like this:


Picture shows a small toy rocket-ship (with green alien!) sitting in a circle of prostrate gloves.

Why would a household's worth of winter gloves worship a tiny spaceship? Who knows? You'd have to ask the leprechaun!

Our leprechaun, Shaughnessy, finally went the way of all mythical childhood beings, and has not visited our house for a couple of years now. But if all goes well, we will someday have grandchildren who wake on St. Patrick's Day to witness the little pranks their own leprechauns leave behind!



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themysteriousgthemysteriousg on February 7th, 2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
I'm trying so hard to embrace this tradition. I really am - my kids heard about it at school. This year I actually grabbed some goodies at target to festoon the joint and create some fun chaos. But I swear it's a California thing:)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 7th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
I'd never heard of it before my S-I-L, but her daughter is about 25 now, and I can imagine this gradually catching on. It's such a great idea!

Other than that, neither my husband nor I has ever really celebrated St. Pat's. We're not really drinkers, and since my ancestors are Welsh and his Scottish... we're not about to celebrate some OTHER Celtic group's heritage. ;)
Rebeccabeeker121 on February 7th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
That is a brilliant idea!

Why do Easter Baskets always lead to angst? Our best family story was the time an aunt hid one in the oven and no one told Grandma. The next morning my cousin was slowly hunting, but the whole family found out where it was about 30 minutes after Grandma had started pre-heating the oven for a ham.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Laugh SPNhalfshellvenus on February 7th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
Icon love! I adore Beeker. :D

but the whole family found out where it was about 30 minutes after Grandma had started pre-heating the oven for a ham.
Hahahahahaha! Oh, boy. That would be about the point where the parents realized that all the stores are closed on Easter, so they can't buy replacement candy. :O

The Great Dane growfing the eggs was disgusting—shells and egg-chomp in drooly bits all over the house—but at least she didn't find the baskets.

My Dad's epic fail was the year he hid mine in the fireplace, suspended from the flu-lever, not realizing that all the contents would wind up with ash all over them and that I was going to bitch about that pretty much forever. *snerk*

Edited at 2013-02-07 10:20 pm (UTC)
B Manimpoetry on February 7th, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC)
I love it! So glad you have the pictures to accompany the story.

And I had a leprechaun this week too!

:)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 12:15 am (UTC)
I thought we had more pictures, too-- especially of some of the epic weirdness in the kitchen-- but that would have been during the year where my PC crashed and took all my photos with it. :O

I saw your leprechaun, who could as easily have been a short, Irish curmugeon. So hard to tell, when Billy's narrating what's happening. :D
Domcomedychick on February 8th, 2013 09:04 am (UTC)
This sounds like a lot of fun to do with kids. I've never heard of this as a tradition before.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
I thought this was invented by my S-I-L, and it may have been. She's like one of my sisters, very good with kids and just bizarrely creative in a way I will never be!

The kids loved this tradition, and never seemed to notice that the pranks were mostly disordering and not, say, things that would be hard to clean up later. :O
audreybuttercupaudreybuttercup on February 8th, 2013 03:10 pm (UTC)
:laughs: This is so cute! I did similar stuff with Santa but I never thought of doing it with leprechauns.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
We had a lot of fun with this, and the kids did, too. Always a surprise, every year, because it's hard to anticipate the exact nature of "weird." :D
mc_lji on February 8th, 2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
hilarious. never heard of this before. i am glad i'm not a parent because i know that now *having* heard of it i'd take it WAY too far.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 05:54 pm (UTC)
There IS no taking things too far, not with stuff like this! \o/

Well, not unless you're torturing beloved toys or something. But otherwise, run riot!
(no subject) - mc_lji on February 8th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 07:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mc_lji on February 8th, 2013 08:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
FEELS TERRORIST!momebie on February 8th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
That is such a fun tradition!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
The kids got such a kick out of it, and it's not often that the goal of something is for it to make no sense whatsoever! :)
Myrnamyrna_bird on February 8th, 2013 05:59 pm (UTC)
What a great family tradition. I may just have to have a leprechaun come visit here this year. My grandson would really get a kick out of it! Cute pictures too for some ideas!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 07:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, I think he'd love it! A little bit of strangeness can make such a big impact on young people, and it will build wonderful memories. :)
cindytsuki_no_bara on February 8th, 2013 08:52 pm (UTC)
how fun! and weird! and whimsical! altho the gloves worshiping the toy rocket are vaguely creepy.... (gloves without hands in them, posed as if they do have hands in them, are kind of creepy!) what a neat idea, seriously.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Laugh SPNhalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
Well, then again... don't you find leprechauns themselves to be kind of creepy? :D
jensi08jensi08 on February 8th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
Cute! My husband paints tiny green footprints in a chosen spot to signify the visit, but that started in school three years ago. We didn't make it up.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 8th, 2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
Aw, that sounds very cute! Well, ideally either outside or with washable paint. Because lack of permanent damage is always a concern. :D
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen": Big Nut - Squirrelroina_arwen on February 9th, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
That seems like a fun tradition, LOL. And I love the word "growfing."
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Yay!halfshellvenus on February 9th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
Finally, somebody noticed the word "growfing"! \o/

I expect you can imagine what the aftermath of that looked like. Yurk. :O
unmowngrassunmowngrass on February 10th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
:D Had a big goofy smile picturing all this; well done!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2013 12:37 am (UTC)
Yay! The weirdness of it all was sure fun, both for us and the kids.

They're 13 and 15 now, but with all the various Santa/Easter Bunny/Leprechaun antics... we were never caught. :)
(no subject) - unmowngrass on February 11th, 2013 12:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Good old captain crazy-pantsdreamsreflected on February 10th, 2013 11:03 pm (UTC)
that's a really cool idea.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
I had a fiction story I'd started for this week, but then realized that if ever a prompt were suited to telling this story, it was this one!

Is your oldest too old to sneak something like this in for your own family? The nice thing about leprechauns is that they don't have to be there from the beginning. It wouldn't be that your house had been overlooked all of those previous years... it would just now have been found. Mwahahahaha! ;)
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on February 11th, 2013 06:23 am (UTC)
How fun! And I like the things you came up with. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2013 08:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm sorry so many of our pictures of the more elaborate mixups got lost when my old PC crashed, but I hoped these would give a good idea of the potential weirdness. :)
(no subject) - jem0000000 on February 12th, 2013 06:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
baxaphobiabaxaphobia on February 11th, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
Oh how fun! Smile!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
It was such a neat tradition! Hope the descriptions of the visuals helped. :)