There is no end to the number of things that will tickle my kids fancy. Take Kaylee for example. During the spring and the fall, for a very short period of time in the mornings the sunlight will come through one of our windows at just the right angle to refract off one of the surfaces on my entertainment center and create a small rainbow on the floor.
Kaylee discovered this back when Cameron was just starting pre-school. We’d come home from dropping him off and she’d run over to the entertainment center and sit in front of her rainbow for as long as it lasted. Back then she couldn’t understand that once it went away mommy couldn’t bring it back no matter how much she cried about it. She was obsessed with that thing for a very long time.
This past fall Kaylee finally seemed to have outgrown her rainbow. I’d see it on the floor from time to time, but never with Kaylee hovered excitedly over the top of it. I figured the phase had ended and didn’t think much more of it. Well, now that spring has arrived so to has the rainbow on our floor. One day out of the blue Kaylee just happened to be walking by the spot where the rainbow appears at the exact time that it was on the floor. It was like the previous fall had never happened, she fell in love with her rainbow all over again. For days we’d find her perched in the spot just watching her rainbow.
And she’s not the only one of my kids obsessed with something small. Take what happened with Cameron a few weeks ago.
It was the week before the kids spring break started which would start right around St. Patricks Day. All I can assume is that Cameron’s class must have been talking about St. Patricks Day and leprechauns at school, because he came home that afternoon and told me he wanted to make a leprechaun trap. Now, he tells me this as I’m in the middle of trying to get dinner cooked and on the table and so I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t giving him 100% of my attention, but I nodded along and told him that we’d make one during break whenever we had time.
That week we were extremely busy. Matt was out of town and I was trying to manage the three kids by myself. Cameron kept asking to make his leprechaun trap, but he’d always wait until I was hip deep in other activities and couldn’t spare the time or energy to do it at that point. Finally on Wednesday night (5 minutes after he was supposed to be in bed) he asked for the 4th or 5th time to make the trap. Knowing that I would get no peace until it was done I told him that we could do it Thursday right after school.
When the time came I looked to Cameron and asked what went into making a leprechaun trap. He told me we’d need a cube and a cylinder to start with. I found an almost empty box that used to hold sandwich bags that had a flap on the top I thought would look just right on a trap. Then we got an empty soda can out of the recycle bin to use as well. I thought that this would be an all morning project and that he’d want to get out the construction paper, glue, scissors, etc to make this trap. But as it turned out, his plans were much simpler than that.
He stuck the can inside the box, then asked if he could use a smaller box that was currently holding cold medicine. I emptied the medicine into a sandwich bag and gave him the box. With that he said the trap was complete. I could not believe it. Here I was expecting this to be a huge ordeal and it took all of 45 seconds. If I had realized that we could have probably done it way sooner than we did. But at least it was now done to Cameron’s satisfaction. All that was left now was to set the trap.
He wanted to set it up in the middle of the living room floor, but I knew that it would just become a trip hazard and talked him into “hiding” it behind our couch. That way it would be out of my way but still accessible for Cameron should he want to play with it. He put it behind the couch and then came running out of his room with a wrapper from a chocolate coin. He stuck the wrapper into the little box and said it was the bait for the leprechaun.
Making a leprechaun trap was one of those things that I never thought I would do and I figured by putting it mostly out of sight it would be one of those things that Cameron would forget about after a few days and I could put the boxes and can back into the recycle bin. But Cameron did not lose interest and every single morning he’d go and check on his trap.
Well at this point I was at a loss. This wasn’t something like putting out milk and cookies for Santa where I knew what was expected and how to make it look like the big guy had been there. I felt completely helpless and unsure how to proceed. It was Matt who figured out how to fix the situation, and what he said and did was a pure stroke of genius that, even if I were presented with the same scenario 100 times, I would never have come up with.
Cameron’s loose tooth finally fell out on the Friday at the end of spring break. He was very excited to get to put the tooth into his Tooth Fairy pillow and see what the Tooth Fairy would bring. The next morning he came bursting into our room extremely upset because the Tooth Fairy hadn’t left him anything. Matt and I were both positive we’d made the delivery the night before so Matt went with Cameron to look around and see if what she’d left had fallen out of the pillow into his bed. On the way by Matt palmed another golden dollar from where we stash them just in case the original one couldn’t be found. He’d drop it on the floor and tell Cameron he’d “found” it.
Turns out all of Matt’s stealth was completely unnecessary. When Cameron had picked up the pillow he turned it upside down and the golden dollar had fallen to the floor. Now that he knew the Tooth Fairy hadn’t forgotten him Cameron was happy as a clam. With his new dollar clutched in his fist he sprinted to the house to his leprechaun trap to see if he’d caught anything yet.
This was Matt’s first experience seeing Cameron check his trap and he asked Cameron how it worked. Cameron explained that the leprechaun would be lured to the trap by the golden wrapper (a.k.a. the bait) and that he’d get lost in the box and the can and in his hurry to get back out of the trap he’d drop his gold for Cameron. As Matt and I listened to this conversation our eyes met and we both thought of the golden dollar still hidden in Matt’s hand.
We waited until Cameron left the room to go play and Matt quickly plunked the spare dollar into the trap. Neither of us could hardly wait until the next time Cameron checked his trap. We were rewarded the very next morning. Cameron raced into the living room to check the trap and upon seeing the golden dollar in there became suspicious.
He came to me and asked if I’d seen the money the Tooth Fairy left him because he’d found a dollar in his leprechaun trap and wanted to make sure I hadn’t dropped his Tooth Fairy money in there on accident. I told him I hadn’t and showed him where his coin was up on the mantle. He looked confused for another few seconds before finally realizing he’d caught a leprechaun. He was so excited to have finally gotten a piece of gold from the leprechaun.
As he ran through the house showing his findings to his brother and sister I looked at Matt and made sure he understood that the leprechaun trap was a one time payout. I could just see him wanting to deposit something in there every single night just to see the pure joy that was on Cameron’s face after realizing he’d made his catch. Fun though it was, being the leprechaun could get very pricy very fast.