As a first grade teacher, I loved St. Patrick’s Day!
I would arrive early to sprawl glitter and chocolate coins around the classroom. I would turn over chairs and open the cupboards. We would discover a tiny apology note (that would need to be enlarged so that we could read it) that the Leprechauns we’re sorry for their messy mischief.
I loved seeing the kids faces and I believed that it was great fun. I knew that it would be even more delightful to share this tradition with my own son.
As a toddler, he seemed to enjoy it. He walked around the house taking in all the evidence of the Leprechaun’s shenanigans.
Before long, the intellectual part of him conflicted with the “just for fun” kid part of him.
“Our alarm must need updating if they can do this and nothing goes off!”
“I’m uncomfortable with all this mess. You know that I like things a certain way.”
“Why wouldn’t you be creeped out by all this?!”
These logical arguments were not saved just for St Patrick’s Day. Santa, the Easter Bunny and even the Tooth Fairy had to be exposed far earlier than I wanted to ease his mind.
Instead of making a huge mess this year, we took green streamers and wove them through the stair railing and over to the dining room table. We left some candy treats, an inspirationaol magnet, a green Jones soda, and a card from us.
Even before we went downstairs, he wanted to know if we had made a big mess. He wanted to know if we had done anything startling in his bathroom.
When he saw the green and the treats, he smiled. He liked what he saw but he was quick to ask if we could take the streamers down (they’re inconvenient and could scare the dogs) and was surprised/annoyed to see his screen saver now said “Happy St Patrick’s Day!”
“What is this? You know that you should get authorization before touching my computer but…”
He tolerated our “top of the morning” talk and our bad accents; however, he just wasn’t willing to pretend that we were surprised by the streamers and gifts.
The instruction to wear green or get pinched was not taken well. So that bright green Under Armour shirt that we thought would be perfect, was traded for a long sleeve blue one.
“I don’t have to do what everyone else does.”
I have to admit that in the past, this would have annoyed me. I would have resented the extra effort that we made and his inability to play along. Not anymore. I shouldn’t be surprised. Why would this one day be any different?
Today seemed to be a balance of fun and respecting his comfort. I started to wonder while I watched him eat his dairy-free, gluten-free, veggie dyed frosting cupcake if all those kids in my previous classes liked the mess that I made in the room.
As a class teacher, I had made a lot of assumptions. Now, as the mama of a 2e, sensitive, introverted, intellectual, germaphobe kid…I wonder if any of my students hated the mess, were uncomfortable with the little painted footprints and wondered how the leprechauns could start my computer, open Word and type a teeny tiny apology without being seen.
No matter what your comfort level with all of this, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!