LJ Idol Exhibit A | week 3 | 440 words
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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