Last weekend we almost caught a leprechaun.
When Sadie went to take care of her morning chores -- it’s her responsibility to keep the downstairs bathroom clean -- on Friday morning, she found suspicious little green footprints all over the bathroom counter. Next to the footprints was a tiny pair of shoes!
Once her super-imaginative 7-year-old brain had a moment to digest this information, she went wild. She was so excited she could barely contain herself. “JO-SIE!” she yelled to her sister, running down the hallway. “ADELAIDE! Get ine here! There are feetprints – I mean footprints! Green… feet… AAAAAHHHH!”
Her sisters ran in to get a closer look. Together, they found even more “clues.” A ribbon tied to a drawer handle and draped all the way to the floor. Drawers that had been pulled open. A squished clover on the bathroom floor. Green scissors. Things out of place. Hmmm.
Their three little minds deduced that this could mean only one thing:
We had a leprechaun in the house!
From that moment on, Friday consisted of research into Ireland, the history of Saint Patrick and an intensive study of leprechauns.
We made a chart labeled who, what, when, where, why and how (they are studying interrogative words) and filled them in. They drew pictures. They used a map to find Ireland. They looked in books to find out more about the country, the landscapes, the castles, the foliage, the history and the folklore. They looked at hundreds of pictures of leprechauns and studied their dress, habits and personality traits.
Did you know that traditionally, leprachauns had 7 rows of 7 buttons sewn on to their coats? Yep, a leprechaun does love his buttons.
The kids searched for clues all over place – both inside and outside. Adelaide thought she was hot on his trail when, out by the basketball hoop, she said “I found a frog! He is green! Just like a lep-wa-conned! He musta rode on him here, Mommy! Jumping!”
Later on in the day when Sadie was working on a picture of a shamrock, she stopped writing and looked at me with her eyes narrowed. She said, “Mommy, are you doing all of this just so we’ll have fun?”
“Fun?” I asked innocently. “Do you call this fun? All this work is fun for you?!”
“Um, yeah!” Josie answered for her. “Actually, I think this is the most fun I have EVER HAD! Now, let’s build a trap!”
Along with their dad, they spent the evening constructing a trap, complete with a rainbow, a pretend campfire, a fake ladder so the leprechaun would think he could get out, lots of sparkly things and of course, a goldfish cracker for bait.
Then they walked around outside and in loud voices, proclaimed to each other, “Hey, didya hear about that great leprechaun house they have in there? I heard it was amazing! Hey, I think they have a lot of GOLD in this house! I’m just saying!”
As St. Patrick’s Day dawned, they were disappointed to only find a teasing note from Darby the leprechaun instead of the little guy himself (and his three wishes).
But they’re already planning a new and improved trap for next year.
And as far as learning something new goes, I think it was the most fun I ever had too.