How to Catch a Leprechaun and Stress Mom Out

Long ago, in a lifetime very very far away, St. Patrick’s Day used to be an endurance event in day drinking. You wore your signature green shirt and tried your hand at an inebriated jig every time Dropkick Murphys played as your green beer sloshed all over the floor of the bar adding to the tidal pool of suds.

While I’m still waking up at 6am on St. Patrick’s Day, albeit for very different reasons – my kids are awake vs. beating the long lines for any Irish pub within a 20-mile radius – how this holiday is celebrated is very different. Back when AJR was born, we got him a St. Patrick’s Day onesie because like any parent of a firstborn knows, you are the absolute worst parent in the world if you don’t have a special onesie for every single potential holiday. Including Arbor Day. But something strange has developed these past few years and especially with the introduction of school. They come home daily elaborate stories about Leprechaun traps, pots of gold, and all of this stuff that I just didn’t think was necessary for this holiday.

Now, barely recovered from Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and with Easter (AKA what my kids think is Christmas 2.0) a month away, I have to create some elaborate ruse about catching a leprechaun? Thankfully this leprechaun does not bear gifts (I hope). I think he causes mischief and eats some Lucky Charms? I don’t even know.

I was looking forward to simply pouring a bowl of Lucky Charms for the kids on St. Patrick’s Day and letting them bask in that sugar-high glow that only a holiday can bring. But now, there are expectations. Can’t we just let something uneventfully roll by? Do we have to go scrambling to Pinterest every single month to look for something creative to do? Thanks for that, preschool.

Listen, if you as a parent enjoy doing all of that stuff, great! If you’re going to make faux footprints around the house to indicate leprechaun activity and build a trap that requires an engineering degree, that’s awesome. And I do mean that with absolutely zero sarcasm in my voice. I swear. Everyone has their “stuff” that they get really excited about doing for / with their kids and I am all for that. Perhaps I’m just weary from Elf on the Shelf, or just generally tired of making everything so magical but I’m really struggling to find out how these traps developed into a “thing”.

Thankfully, Lucky Charms – my fave cereal even when it’s not St. Patrick’s Day – has a leprechaun trap conveniently located on the back of the box. Even I, in my Grinch-y state, can make my peace with cutting along the dotted lines and sprinkling some marshmallow cereal around it. I just need to know what to do with this trap beyond letting it hang out on my kitchen table. Like do my kids even think leprechauns are real? Do the kids wake up on St. Patrick’s Day to witness some sort of struggle with the trap? Do I feign his capture and eventual escape? Does he leave anything behind to indicate his presence? Tufts of a red beard? Gold coins? Candy? I DON’T KNOW AND ITS STRESSING ME OUT.

The web of lies I’m constructing around all these mythical creatures is getting out of control. I need a Google doc to cross-reference what they’re hearing at school with the BS I make up on the fly when asked a pointed question about a leprechaun’s eating habits. All I can say is I’m looking forward to the lull between Easter and Halloween to allow myself the time to adequately recoup and recover from my role as Chief Holiday Magic Maker.

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