As a mother, one of my most important jobs is to teach my children empathy. What better way to do this than to put them in Mommy and Daddy’s shoes for a day? This St. Patrick’s Day, take a page from Mama Tries Blog and devote the day to exacting revenge on your wee ones by giving them a hefty dose of their own medicine – all served with a spoonful of sugar, of course.
Mess with their Mealtime
Between searching for the “right” spoon for your three-year-old or fulfilling drink orders for fickle children, peaceful mealtimes are a rarity for parents. Even when the utensils are in order and thirsts are quenched, there’s the matter of actually having your picky eater consume a healthy meal. Basically, I feel like I am getting pranked every time my family sits down to eat, so St. Patrick’s Day allows me the opportunity to turn the tables and mess with my kids’ mealtime for a change. No, this does not mean I am going to serve my children a full Irish breakfast. I’m trying to mess with them, not send them to blood sausage-induced therapy. Instead, I put a drop of green food coloring in their bowls before I fill it with their cereal and milk. This will ensure that breakfast looks typical upon being served, but will magically transform into an emerald sea right before their very eyes. Sit back and enjoy your Lucky Charms while your children’s minds are blown and it’s their meal that’s disturbed for once.
Intrude on their Privacy
If you’re like me, you haven’t peed in private since the days before stretch marks. My children see their mother entering the bathroom as an appropriate time to express their love for me, demand a snack, or tattle on a sibling. Whatever the case may be, I’ve come to accept having company in the restroom. St. Patrick’s Day is my children’s turn to see what it’s like to have a wee little one intrude on their bathroom time. The trick with this one is to put green food coloring in the tank of your toilet. That way, the water is clear when your child goes in, but turns green as they wash their hands after they’ve flushed. See how they like discovering that a mischievous little leprechaun snuck into the bathroom while they were in there! Plus, they’re usually so freaked out, they steer clear of the bathroom as much as possible for the remainder of the day, which means Mommy gets to
read gossip blogs pee in private for once.
Take them on a Wild
Goose Leprechaun Chase
Last Tuesday morning, when I should have been well on my way to work, I spent fifteen minutes searching for a My Little Pony hat for Crazy Hat Day at school. I never found it. I probably spend an average of 40 minutes a day scouring my home for items that my children absolutely cannot live without – like a certain stuffed bear they haven’t even looked at in eight months. Well, this St. Patrick’s Day, it’s going to be them searching. From morning until night, Mommy and Daddy will not only be leaving the aforementioned signs of a leprechaun, we will randomly shout, “There he goes!” whenever we would like a little time for ourselves. We will watch the girls scamper around the house, seeking out a cagey mythical creature that we know they will never find. Sure, we will spend part of the day reveling in their childhood innocence and wonder, but we are also going to feel a great satisfaction that it is them unsuccessfully hunting for some elusive entity for a change.
Rain on their Parade
Parenthood means making all sorts of commitments that you ultimately regret. “Sure, I’d love to supply 25 healthy, Halloween-themed snacks for the pre-school party!” I say on October 1st. By the 30th, when I’m drawing jack-o-lantern faces on clementines at 10pm, I’m a little less enthusiastic about undertaking. Well, St. Patrick’s Day just happens to be an opportune time for my girls to learn about honoring commitments. My girls are Irish dancers, so they get to march in our city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade every year. They spend weeks imagining themselves waving at cheering crowds and dancing in the streets with their friends. Then last year they woke up to a cold March rain, and that parade didn’t sound so enticing anymore. Guess who made them march anyway? When you make a commitment, you stick with it, kids. Just like Mommy’s going to keep spreading herself too thin, my kids are going to step, two, three down a parade route. Because St. Patrick’s Day means learning that anyone can rain on our parade, but we are still going be there dancing in it.
Impart Life Lessons
Children are a gift. Sure they ruin dinner time, destroy all semblance of privacy, and exhaust us until we are mere shells of ourselves, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why St. Patrick’s Day ends in our house with a little token from Luigi the Leprechaun (named to honor both our Italian and Irish heritage and to appease Mommy’s lifelong love of alliteration). Last year, Luigi left a book inscribed with the following Irish blessing:
May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing go wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!
Because yes, it’s fun for Mommy and Daddy to exact their revenge by playing silly pranks for a day, but St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that celebrates our Irish culture. It’s a day I get to teach my children about the most important things in this world – happiness, optimism, love, and dreams. Well, that and that leprechaun pee is green.