Sunday, March 18, 2007

Of Martha-land and Leprechauns

Photo by Eperales

WhenJake was two I learned an important lesson. You'd think it would be talked about in parenting circles, up there with breastfeeding and teething, but no. It wasn't.

Never do anything for your kids that you don't mind repeating, at least once. You never know what they will remember as amazing and wonderful and then insist it becomes family tradition. Sort of like Canada Day Cake, in our house.

When Jake was little I was sucked into Martha-land and everything it entailed. The crafts, the house decorated for every little holiday whether we celebrated it or not, parties, the handmade treats and lunches. I'm not really sure when I completely snapped out of it-I think I still have the tendency to drift back now and then. However, I lived there whenJake was small. Just wait until I tell you about the Easter egg dying parties we had when he was 4 (and while no gingerbread houses flew, eggs did!)

Anyway, let's get back on track here.

One spring break when he was about 2 or 3 we went to Victoria for a bit of a vacation. We toured the museum, Butchart Gardens, and Ogden Point. At one point St. Patrick's Day arrived, and Jake awoke to find that leprechauns had left chocolate coins all over the hotel room. He quite literally went nuts.

"Leper-cons!" He shouted as he bounced around the room, collecting the booty in his chubby little fists. "Why do they leave chocolate?" His eyes were wide with wonder-this ranked up there with Santa and the Easter Bunny.

"So you won't take their real gold," I snatched a coin before he saw me. Chocolate is good for Moms too, you know.

"So they share chocolate 'stead?" He looked at his fistful of coins carefully. "Nice leper-cons!"

Jake talked about leprechauns for weeks. He asked about them for months later. The next year, despite his interest, I completely forgot to buy coins. He was not impressed.

"Where'd they go? Did they leave real coins?" He scoured the house, visably disappointed. Mommy guilt took over and I ran out that afternoon and bought coins, scattering them all over when he wasn't looking.

"Maybe they were just late this year," I offered. I don't think he believed me. He didn't want to share, either.

So every year since, chocolate coins have become a tradition in our house for St. Patrick's Day. I've tried dying the milk green (which completely turned Jake off) or leaving a box of Lucky Charms cereal (which he refused to eat). The coins were here to stay. Yesterday, 9 years after our first leprechaun encounter, Jake came home from a friend's house to find coins all over his room.

"COOL! Leprechauns left me chocolate again! Thanks Mom! Want some?" he dropped a few in my hand.

"Yah, some of those little pests ran through the house with muddy shoes and I grabbed one and squeezed until he gave up the goods. I was hoping for the real gold, but it didn't happen." I smiled back at him. He laughed and gave me a hug before he ran off to do what pre-teens do.

Maybe Martha-land isn't so bad after all. In moderation, of course.

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