Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mischief and Malarkey

The most authentic Irish tradition my kids got this year was my temper.

It started the other day when Maddie came home and started telling me about this mischievous Leprechaun in her classroom that was supposed to play tricks and leave coins.  

The next thing I know the kids are asking for shoe boxes, sticks, cords and anything available to fashion a trap suitable for capturing a spry guy.  

The dog set the trap off and I supposed we are lucky she is a larger dog, otherwise our not-so-smart dog would have fallen prey to the simple animal trap.

Maddie mentioned the leprechaun leaving stuff behind again and I felt compelled to run to Target to get some gold coins to leave behind.  Alas, there was not a singe St. Patrick’s Day item amid the Easter candy and decor that seemed suitable.  Not even some Hanukkah gelt on clearance to use as gold.

I settled for a set of playing cards, Lego mini figure and some M&M’s to put in the traps.  

Then I got home and made shamrocks out of construction paper and placed them throughout the house. I even made a little leprechaun hats and bowties for some framed pictures of the kids.  

As I was driving home from Target, I started getting angry.  This reminds me of that damn Elf on a Shelf.  You can see my feelings on this little guy in a previous blog I wrote “Women Who Talks to Elves.”  http://writethishitdown.blogspot.com/2010/12/women-who-talk-to-elves.html

Seriously. Who started this Malarkey?  

I’m Irish.  We’ve always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a party at church and my mom’s corn beef and cabbage and Irish Soda bread. Of course, my grandmother always reminded us that her parents, straight off the boat from County Tipperary, never ate corn beef and cabbage nor did they celebrate St. Paddy’s Day.  It was a saints day and that was it.

So, I’m wondering how all these saints days have turned into frantic trips to Target or the ultimate farce, Santa. St. Nicholas Day means putting your shoes out for a treat.  St. Valentines Day is a day to make those who are without a significant other feel insignificant, alone and worthless while those in relationships scramble to buy the best, most expensive or creative gift to prove their love.  The kids have to bring the most popular character on their Valentines and if it doesn't have at least a tattoo, you are blackballed. 

And of course, Santa a derivative of St. Nicholas, has its archangel the Elf on the Shelf with a constant watchful eye that has us not only waking up out of a dead sleep at 2 a.m. when we forget to hide him or her, but also competing for the most creative destination each morning complete with some sort of scene.

We have an Elf, but have not gone full-out out on the mischief.  In my mind it is just one more mess I have to clean up or gallon of strawberry flavored milk that no one will ever drink.  I do however, see great value in using it to threaten my kids that if they don’t behave, they won’t get Christmas presents.

I started thinking maybe I should make up a Leprechaun that I could market much like the Elf on the Shelf.  His name would would be Mac O’Malley the Mischief Making Leprechaun.  Here’s the problem.  While he could be used in the weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day to amuse the kids and torment the parents, he really doesn’t serve any  purpose when it comest to threatening the kids.  In fact he promotes bad behavior. The only way I could use him to elicit good behavior would be if there were gifts as the end result like Christmas or even the evil cousin of the Elf on the Shelf, the Birthday Elf on the Shelf.  So, it would only perpetuate the ridiculous notion that we should give gifts on holidays that normally wouldn’t and shouldn’t involve gifts.  

Of course, I see a huge marketing juggernaut that could spur a whole line of paraphernalia that could launch me into billionaire status. So, there’s that.

The reality is that it would also require us all to go on Pinterest to look for creative ways to wreak havoc on my home…on purpose…to keep up with all the other Leprechauns in the neighborhood. I don’t think I could live with myself if I were responsible for such nonsense.

Yes, I know I am a total kill-joy.  I should embrace the fun.  Stick with the mischief-making, but I’m a realist and have two children who, as I have mentioned, are spoiled rotten and never happy. 

Here’s what happened this morning as a result of my efforts…

I opted out of T.P.ing the house, because then I would have to clean it up.  I opted out of putting green food coloring in the milk, because as with strawberry milk, it would go to waste.  As for green toilet water? The good news is we have blue tabs in our toilet so, when peed in, it turns green anyway. I couldn’t bare spreading laundry around because I.just.folded.three.loads.last.night.  ‘Nuf said.  I did buy them small gifts, but they could have cared less about them.  Colin cried because he wanted a viking mini figure and got a joker.  They ripped the shamrocks with their names on them that I placed on their chairs and disregarded them. Maddie thought the shamrocks I left on the stairs were dryer sheets, but I guess that's what happens when she is half asleep coming down the stairs at 5 a.m. to wake me up. Maddie couldn’t figure out why the leprechaun didn’t take the pennies she left, while Colin was pissed that the guy took the paper coin he left. Tom yelled at me for taping a shamrock to the television in the kitchen because it was an LCD.

I finally lost my aforementioned Irish temper and said, “Quit crying!  No on in the world gets gifts for St. Patrick’s Day!  I bought them!”  Luckily I didn’t completely deplete their faith in a naughty leprechaun as Maddie continued to hunt for more tricks that he played and wondered if there were any coins left behind somewhere. Sigh.  I can’t win.