Mar 8, 2015: Leapin’ Leprechauns

Well, this will be a short and sweet post because I’m cranky! Why am I cranky, you ask? Two words: leprechaun trap.

Apparently this is now a common project for kids around first grade or thereabouts: The kids have to build a leprechaun trap. Sounds cute, right? I’m sure it is…but it’s one of those things that ends up being more work for parents, and I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of those projects.

The last such project was a valentine box for Valentine’s Day. The kids were supposed to decorate a box in which to collect their valentines. So I found Theo an old shoebox and gave him some stickers to put on it. Cute, right?

Um…no. I saw the pictures from the class party, and Theo’s was pretty much the crappiest valentine box. Everyone else had gone nuts and created these amazing valentine boxes—one was even made in the form of a two-story castle with a tower! No, I’m not kidding—clearly many parents have more time on their hands than I do. Theo didn’t seem to mind in the least, but I was thinking, “Oh dear. What I thought was a very simple craft for his class was apparently something much more elaborate.” So, on the heels of that mommy fail comes the damn leprechaun trap. Sigh…

The kids’ writing assignment this week was to describe how they envisioned their leprechaun trap to be, and I did get a good chuckle out of Theo’s: “There will be chains inside. The leprechaun will not be able to move. The leprechaun will never get out.” Evidently he was envisioning some leprechaun chamber of horrors! 😉

So anyway, having recently dragged Theo to the craft store on multiple occasions to buy supplies for his Odyssey of the Mind project, I was quite sure what would happen if I took him to the craft store: He’d spend the entire time oohing and aahing over fun craft ideas that had nothing to do with the darn leprechaun trap. So, I decided we’d make do with whatever crap we could find.

And thus I give you the leprechaun trap. It’s a lovely old shoebox with shiny green mesh from his Odyssey project glued on. The tinfoil floor is sort of Theo’s brainchild: He wanted a “slippery” floor so that when the leprechaun runs in to try to get the gold (that small cylindrical piece of wood standing up in the middle of the box), he would slip and slide right into the arm and leg shackles. Frankly, I think the little cylinder in the middle looks more like a leprechaun pole-dancing fixture, but Theo seems happy with it, so we’re going to go with it.

Please, be impressed by how incredibly amazing this trap is.
Please, be impressed by how incredibly amazing this trap is.

Please feel free to nominate me for the Craftiest Mom of the Year award. 😉

Oh, I was also cranky because I went to see a house that just came on the market in our neighborhood, and the realtor was rather rude to me once he realized that I would not be making an offer by 4:30pm today. (They’ve already got offers on it the first weekend it’s on the market. We actually are interested in it, but we wouldn’t be able to pull together an offer in a matter of 30 minutes, so he had no interest in speaking to me—and made that pretty clear.)

In case you’re wondering why we were looking at a house, it’s because our rent is going up to an amount that makes me feel slightly like vomiting, so we’ve decided to see whether we can afford to buy instead of continuing to throw more money into rent. We have great landlords who kept our rent at the same rate for 3 ½ years, so they are certainly well within their rights to raise it…but we’re just not sure we want to pay the new amount. So we’ll see. Our budget is pathetically low for this area, and houses get multiple offers within the first days on the market, so it’s probably a long shot. But we’ll see. We keep hoping some dump will come on the market that we can afford and then fix up slowly as our budget permits.

It was actually a pretty quiet week for us, which was a nice change. One amusing part of it was getting a letter from our insurance informing us that Theo had been approved for speech therapy! If you’ve ever talked to Theo, you can see humor in this. Theo struggles in some areas, for sure, but speech is definitely not one of them—he actually has a pretty darn big vocabulary! So I laughed out loud when I got a notice that he had been approved for speech therapy, given that he could probably lead speech-therapy groups! It was a mistake, of course—they meant occupational therapy. But it gave me a chuckle. 🙂

Speaking of Theo, I managed to connect a bit more with some parents of kids with his particular chromosomal deletion this week…and wow, what a reminder of how lucky we are. I’ve talked to a couple of people who carry the same chromosome deletion but have no apparent effects—they only know they have it because their children are affected by it, so they’ve been tested. But when it comes to the children, they are all affected much more significantly than Theo. One man’s daughter passed away at 3 from it. Two other mothers I talked to have sons around age 2 who aren’t expected to live past about 3. And another mother has sons who are 8 and 10 and are doing well overall…but are definitely more affected than Theo seems to be. And so I said a silent thank you that Theo’s particular case of this seems to have manifested itself relatively mildly. Autism, sure…but not terribly profound by any means. Some learning issues? Yeah, I think probably—I suspect that’s why he has such difficulty with visual-spatial tasks and that particular type of learning. But again, it’s not a profound problem. So we are lucky, lucky, lucky…and just as I do with Sam, who has been blessed with good health, I say a silent thank you for our luck with the boys. Things could be so much more challenging…or even heartbreaking. Yet our boys are robust and happy…thank heavens. My heart hurts for people who haven’t been so lucky. I honestly just can’t even imagine. One of the mothers whose son isn’t expected to live much past three said, “I’ve always known it in my heart, but I just wasn’t ready to hear it from the neurologist.” Gave me a big lump in my throat for that poor mama and her sweet son….

I’m interested to see how Chris’s and my bloodwork comes back. In the people I’ve talked to, about half found the chromosomal deletion to be hereditary, and in about half it was just a fluke. It’s not that it really makes much difference to us, since we will not be having any more biological children (though certainly it will make a difference to Theo if he wants to have a family someday), but the nosy, curious side of me is just interested. I told Chris we should start a “who carries the weird gene?” betting pool. 😉

I suppose this discussion of heredity makes a mildly smooth segue into discussing this weekend, since we spent it with family! Theo had been missing Grandma Diane, who he hadn’t seen in a while, so we headed up to see her on Saturday. We also got to see Auntie Lynnie and cousin Stevie! And Theo got to invite them to his birthday shindig in a few weeks. He has decided that he wants to spend the night in a hotel. I told him that hotels and parties are expensive, so he needed to pick one or the other—we wouldn’t be able to do both. He picked a night in a hotel (and I silently cheered, as it means I don’t have to plan/host a party!), and he wants it to be in Sacramento so he can have pizza and ice cream with Grandma Diane and Auntie Lynnie and her family. We’ll probably go to the train museum the next morning, since he loves that and so does Sam. Should be fun—and so much easier than a party!

On Sunday, we visited the other side of the family—it was cousin Nik’s birthday party, so Chris and Theo went to that while Sam and I visited Grandma Kathy and Papa. It was a bowling party, and Sam is at an age where he wants to do everything the other kids are doing…but he’s too tiny to lift even the lightest of balls yet, so bowling wasn’t really an option. Instead of spending three hours watching him pinch his fingers under heavy balls and trying to keep him from running down the bowling lanes, I opted to just spend a nice, quiet couple of hours with Grandma and Papa. We put in a short appearance at the party when we went back by to pick up Chris and Theo, though—long enough to get a piece of cake! 🙂

And so went our week. Sorry for the fuzzy pictures this week. Sam’s preschool has a Facebook page and posts pictures of the kids each day, so I snag all of the school ones of Sam from there. Sometimes they’re clearer than other times, but they’re always cute. He is having so much fun there, and learning so much! I’m really, really pleased with it for him.

Hope you all have a wonderful week that is not filled with leprechaun traps!

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