Dear Over-achieving Parents:
I don’t appreciate you. With your nonstop crafting, your way over-the-top-excessive gift-giving…You make my already difficult job (as a self-proclaimed Slacker Mom) even more challenging!
It’s just gotten to be too much. Enough! Stop the madness! The kids come home from school with stories about what the Tooth Fairy brought their classmates. And I’m not just talking about the money (which is, in my opinion, always too much). The Tooth Fairy leaves notes and fairy dust and little tiny sparkling footprints and on and on and on. But now the madness has carried over to St. Patrick’s Day.
On St. Patrick’s Eve, Zachary calls me into his room and excitedly shows me two notes. He’s written one for Matthew and one for Kayli. They are from leprechauns and each note has a quarter attached to it. Zach points out how he ‘disguised’ his hand-writing so that Matthew and Kayli wouldn’t realize who they were actually from. Well, he kept the secret for all of 4.8 minutes and then brought Matthew into his room to show him. So, together, the boys stealthily left the note on the floor of Kayli’s room while she slept.
St. Patrick’s Day arrives and we’re greeted with two emotional extremes – Kayliana is beside herself with excitement that she got money and a note from a “what are the little guys called?” – she kept having to ask. I look at Zach to see if he’s thrilled that his plan worked. His face, on the other hand, is the epitome of depression mingled with angst. After Kayli goes upstairs, Zach starts crying.
“Even though I did the notes. I thought leprechauns were real, but I didn’t get ANYTHING! I think it’s just parents and you guys probably do the Tooth Fairy too!” Fearing that the downward spiral was about to begin (and having just gone through our first Christmas with Matthew knowing ‘the truth’ (http://www.jenny524.blogspot.com/2014/11/growing-up.html , I was very quick to nip it in the bud.
“You know, I’ve lived my whole life and never saw a leprechaun and certainly never received anything from one. They’re sneaking little guys. K, time to get ready for school!” Thankfully, my distraction tactic managed to work for once.
After school, Zach gets home and is the walking opposite of his morning-somber-self. “Mom!! I was wrong! Leprechauns wouldn’t have come last night! They come ON St. Patrick’s night! I’m going to work on building a leprechaun trap!”
Crisis diverted….I guess??
While he worked on his trap, I found some info on leprechaun folklore to read to the kids. Stressing the parts about leprechauns being tricky little guys…rarely-if-ever seen by humans.
I also pointed out that not one article said the leprechaun would leave money or presents. (The story goes, they only leave gold IF they have the bad luck of actually being spotted by a human).
I asked Zach if he’d still believe in leprechauns even if his trap didn’t work again (he’d built one last year). “I don’t even know if they actually come inside our house,” I pointed out. He assured me that a.) Yes, they come in houses because, of course, kids at school had reported finding all sorts of treasure and b.) Yes, he’d still believe even if there was no leprechaun proof.
After Zach built his trap and got it all set up, Matthew came downstairs and quietly said, “Mom, I’m concerned that Zach’s believing in this so much. We don’t want him to be disappointed when there’s nothing in the trap in the morning. Can we like write him a note or explaining ‘the truth’ or just leave him some money so that he keeps believing?!”
I explained my genius plan: Do Nothing. He looked at me incredulously. (I feel like after having me as a mom for years now, he should be unsurprised to my ‘set their expectations as low as possible’ approach to parenting.)
“Matthew, the more we do, the more involved we get and elaborate this becomes, the harder it is to maintain. We want him to keep believing because of his imagination and faith…And we (I) certainly don’t want to make more work for (myself) in the future!” So, he dropped it and we did nothing…or so I thought.
Mike told me later, that he snuck into the trap (through the ‘decoy trapdoor’ that Zach had put on top) a little Lego leprechaun that he’d made. I wasn’t sure if I liked this plan or not.
Come morning time, Zach woke Kayli up and the two eagerly inspected his leprechaun trap. He very quickly decided that the trap door had definitely been messed up a little bit. He was quite certain his ‘gold’ (a.k.a. gold duct tape wrapped around a scrap of paper) had done the trick in getting a leprechaun’s attention in the first place. He looked down into the trap (where glue had covered the floor of the box in the hopes that poor Mr. Unsuspecting Leprechaun would get stuck) and saw the little Lego guy.
I held my breath, sure that he’d immediately jump to a “Mom! YOU did this!” conclusion.
“That. Sneaky. Little. Guy!” Zachary declared, shaking his head in utter disbelief. “He totally snuck in my room and made a little leprechaun Lego guy to leave as a decoy! Ha!”
And then we moved on. He just accepted this with complete childlike wonder and faith, never for a second questioning. PHEW.