I spent my weekend building a leprechaun
trap crap. I can’t really call it a trap because nothing on it was functional except the unintentional RIVER OF TEARS that could drown even a giant leprechaun.
This is how the process went.
The 6 year old demands help with the trap, saying she has no idea how to do it.
A calm, somewhat rational adult offers suggestions.
The 6 year old screams at the adult to stop bossing her around.
The adult stops helping.
The 6 year old cries that nobody is helping her with her leprechaun trap.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
The completed project we turned in on Monday (and yes, I mean WE because not only did I have to endure the small tyrant of a director, but I also had to help her carry the thing inside) was so horrible that I didn’t even want to put her name on it. And yes, I do mean that I was the one putting her name on it because if you haven’t figured out by now I was the one doing 90% of the work while she was the one doing 90% of the yelling. To be fair, I actually did a lot of yelling too. The end result was a semi-smashed carboard box with the lower level covered in blue pastel (mistaken for a crayon) that smudged every time you touched it. The “trap” element was twofold. First, there was a bridge that refused to stay taped to the pastel surface, so it really was a phantom bridge most of the time. Supposedly the bridge was sticky and the leprechaun could get trapped there. I believe the leprechaun is in greater danger of sliding off the bridge each time it detaches from the box. Next, there was a piece of gold (which was a CHUNK OF A PURSE she took scissors to) on top of a straw. Next to it sat half of a plastic easter egg attached to a toilet paper tube. Somehow, if the leprechaun climbed up to reach the piece of gold formerly known as a functional purse, the easter egg toilet paper trap would fall on it. Simple, right?
Until the 6 year old bursts into tears because she thinks she will be marked down if she doesn’t actually catch a leprechaun.
So today I took solace when I heard another mother complaining about the dreaded leprechaun trap assignment. She confessed that tears were shed at her house as well. (She also mentioned a hot glue gun, however, so I’m not quite sure we were experiencing the same level of failure.) Her daughter wanted to know, in all seriousness, if she should leave the trapped leprechaun at school or bring it home. Then the mom says to me: “I heard that by 3rd grade they have to add a mechanical element to it.”
Are you kidding me?! We can’t even figure out what is a crayon at my house.
Around 4:00 this afternoon an exhausted looking 9 year old saunters into the library and tells me “I need all the books you have on building leprechaun traps.”
“Trust me,” I tell her with full confidence, “we don’t have those books.” “If we did, I would have them all checked out right now.”
I try to offer her some suggestions, after all I am now extremely experienced in the trap department.
“Have you thought about using a slip knot? Something really sticky? A mechanical element?”
She tells me she has thought of all of it, and what she really wants me to do is Google “What kind of leprechaun traps are the most successful at catching leprechauns.”
I hand her a package of blue wall tacky and tell her to try that instead.
After all this trap drama, these are the only kind of leprechauns I still like.
I feel like I may be jinxing myself, but we have yet to hit the stage where homework involves anything outside of a pencil and paper. Some flash cards. I think we cut out triangles one night. They do a lot of building of objects/art projects/weird things at school, but none of it has leaked into the realm of homework yet. Think I can hold onto this streak through the High School years?
With both of the boys safely out of childhood, I feel so incredibly lucky that I somehow escaped without ever being required to “help” construct a leprechaun trap! You’re a good mom!
We have had many child,parent collaboration homeworks over the years including building a sarcophagus, several castles, undersea worlds and my favourite a gingerbread house( which still survives 10 years later though a bit battered from being played with). All bring back memories, mostly of tears and yelling but also some enjoyment from working together and once you get to your fourth child you do tend to be more relaxed about the whole thing. It is difficult not to be drawn into competition with other parents after all you don’t want your child to feel inferior.
I did fall into the trap with the sarcophagus,our original attempt had been made from paper which my daughter had coloured in, the day before they were due in a classmates parents turned up with a life size wooden sarcophagus(the child had apparently made with some help from dad).In side was a mummy which they had made by wrapping the child in modroc.Now I am a firm believer that its the child’s efforts and the collaboration that are important but its hard not to feel deflated at your own efforts on these occasions. The initial amazement on the faces of the other children and parents quickly turned into dissapointment in their own creations which they had previously been excited about. On our way home from school my daughter said she didn’t want to take hers in. Well I wasn’t going to let her feel inferior and her self confidence is already quite low. So I suggested we use the original as a prototype and make another one, this lifted her spirits and we set to work. We found a sheet of gold mirror card and a bag of plastic gemstones among our stash of craft supplies.We used her original design and next day she proudly carried her golden, jewel encrusted creation into school handing it to the teacher with a huge smile and brimming with self esteem.
I am not proud that I allowed myself to compete in this way but when you are trying so hard to build your seven year olds self-esteem you have to do what is neccesary.
Later in the week when I went into help in class I admired and praised every single sarcophagus, you can always find something to praise in a childs work.
Sorry if I rambled to much but when I started the memories flooded back and one of my pet hates are parents who take over the project and under value their childs input by doing it all for them from design to finished object. I can see that though you did 90% of the work your daughter had a huge input in the managerial and design department and I am sure she was proud of it and when it comes back home you can look at it and be proud that you worked together.
Good luck with your next project.