rituals · slice of life · sports

From Traps to Brackets

“Do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?” Ari asked me as he settled into the car after school.

“Not really,” I said.

“Why not?” he asked.

“I celebrated St. Patrick’s when I lived in New York City. My friends and I would go to a bar, watch the parade, or both.”

Why was I telling my six-year-old that I went to a bar?!

“But do WE celebrate it?” He asked.

“It’s not a Jewish holiday. And we’re not Irish. It’s fine if you want to enjoy St. Patty’s Day celebrations with your friends at school. It falls into the same category as Halloween and Valentine’s Day. We can enjoy and celebrate it, but it isn’t our holiday.”

This permission led to Ari talking a mile a minute about leprechauns, breakout boxes, and St. Patrick’s Day. I couldn’t follow much of what he was saying. However, as soon as he finished his snack, he set off around the house looking for items for his leprechaun trap.


Last week was the first I had ever heard of a leprechaun trap. Ari’s teacher sent home a letter asking for a shoe box and other items for the kids’ leprechaun traps. I sent in the requested items without giving them much more thought. But now, my kid with the Hebrew first name decided he needed to build a home-leprechaun trap.

Dutiful parents that we are, Marc and I googled leprechaun traps to arm ourselves with some knowledge so we could help Ari.

As we learned more, I asked Marc, “Does Ari think a leprechaun will visit our Jewish house between March 16th and 17th? Because I’ve gotta tell you, that’s a bit more than I’m willing to do.” Marc chuckled.

Alas, we continued to help Ari gather the items he needed to build a leprechaun trap.


Working on brackets with Ari.

I thought we’d be building a leprechaun trap after dinner UNTIL Marc mentioned we needed to work on our NCAA Brackets before tonight’s game. (Way to give me notice! I like to do a little research before filling out my bracket.) 

Ari overheard that Marc and I have a “betting” situation with the brackets. He got excited and wanted to complete a bracket of his own so that he could compete against Isabelle. After some discussion, the kids decided that if Ari had more points than Isabelle at the end of the NCAA Tournament, we’d go to Rice and Noodles as a family. If Isabelle has more points than Ari, we’ll dine at Green Eggs Cafe as a family. (Neither child likes the other person’s choice of restaurants.)

Next came the bracket creation. Neither Isabelle nor ARi has completed one before, so we helped them. Ari and I worked together while Marc assisted Isabelle. Many of Ari’s picks revolved around states he likes. (As you’ll see from Ari’s bracket, he’s a big fan of the State of Kansas. I have no idea why since he hasn’t been there.)

Once everyone finished their brackets, I photographed all of them. (Isabelle’s and Marc’s brackets are similar. Mine is probably the riskiest, but that’s how I roll.) I explained to Ari that he was not allowed to change his bracket, even though he wrote it in pencil, since what we wrote down tonight sticks.

Ari was so into March Madness that he started watching the Texas A&M-CC vs. Southeast Missouri State game. Ari began to yell at the TV when he saw Southeast Missouri State beating Texas A&M-CC, which he chose. Dear Lord!

That’s when I realized three things: 

(1) We created a monster. 

(2) It’s going to be a long month. 

(3) We should’ve made a leprechaun trap!

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