An elf, a leprechaun and now a troll…

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My 6 year old stepdaughter, Amy, has a vivid imagination (mind you, she’s not the only one). While I was reading in front of the fireplace the other night. She informed me that our house may have a leprechaun. Well, this was new.

I immediately thought, ”Oh no, here we go again”. I still wasn’t over the  “Elf on the Shelf” fiasco at xmas time.

I had picked Amy up at the bus stop after school one day in December. She sat in her seat and started rambling on and on about an elf. Oh kids have such vivid imaginations. She continued on and on about it, but I was too busy rocking out to Earth Wind and Fire’s “September” to really hear what she was saying.

After the song ended, Amy resumed with describing this “elf” with such detail I thought for sure she was nuts. She was telling me what he looked like, where in the house she had seen him, what mischief he’d been up to and I was getting creeped out. This elf was starting to sound real. We got back to the house and she started running from room to room frantically. After searching what must’ve been every room in the house, she came to me teary eyed while I was hanging up my coat, totally shaken up that the elf wasn’t at our house.

Amy: He’s not here.

Me: (I’d already forgotten about the elf because, well, it wasn’t about me) Who’s not here?

Amy: (crying now) The elf.

Me: Elf? What elf? (was she still going on about this??)

Amy: The elf in the red suit. He spilled sugar and walked through it on the counter and I saw his footprints at my mom’s house. There’s no spilled sugar here.

Me: Ohhhhh… (at this point I was completely bewildered)

Amy: He spilled milk on the floor, and before that he was in my room on the bookshelf and then I found him watching me from the sofa. And now I can’t find him here.

Me: (thinking… This is just creepy. It was “watching” her from the sofa? I didn’t like the sound of this. What the hell is she talking about? Has she eaten something bad and is hallucinating? Was she on some sort of trip from the pesticides that remained on her grapes from lunch? Like what the hell? Okay, I need to remain calm here.) Okay. I will help you find him. What does he look like?

Amy: He has a pointy hat, looks sideways, has an evil grin and is wearing red lipstick. Oh, and he makes messes.

Oh my goodness, this was getting really weird…. Red lipstick, pointy hat and makes messes… I was beginning to wonder if she had a fever because I honestly never heard of this elf nor had I seen him, and I to be quite frank, I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to see him.

Amy: We have to find him. (sobbing at this point)

And then it came to me, the “elf”… I suddenly remembered seeing him on a friend’s facebook photo. Indeed, many of my friend’s December’s facebook statuses were inundated with photo updates of this “elf” doing bad things and suddenly I recalled seeing one that morning from my friend Tara. It was a photo of said elf driving Barbie’s convertible with his arm around her. Ooooh…. If only Ken could see that evil elf. I grabbed my cell phone and brought up the picture.

elf and barbie

Me: “Is THIS the elf?”

Amy: That’s him!

Me: (I could win an Oscar for this performance) Well no wonder we can’t find him here, he’s all the way in Ontario at Scarlet’s house. Look at that, he’s riding in Barbie’s car! Oh that sneaky little elf!

Amy: (even more distraught) Ontario?!?!? Do you know how far that is Janet? How is he gonna get back here?

Me: (thinking logically) Well, he’ll probably borrow Barbie’s car and drive here.

Amy: (stating rather logically) It takes two days to drive here from Ontario. I want to see him nowwww.

Me: Nahhhh… it’s not a far drive for an elf. He could really make good time in that car, especially if he hits Quebec through the middle of the night, drives straight through, doesn’t stop anywhere off the highway and doesn’t get lost, because God help him if he has to ask someone for directions because it’s been my experience that the people in Quebec are …. (suddenly I had to stop myself because for starters, Amy was staring at me and secondly I was talking like this was really going to happen and I was way too concerned with the non-existent driving route of a doll in a non-motorized Barbie car.)

Luckily, that ended the fiasco with the elf on the shelf. She became too interested in other things and had forgotten about him, well that, and the fact that once we discovered this stupid “elf” was a whopping $30 at Chapters we informed her that elf had poked the cat in the eye one night and was no longer allowed at our house, so he’d only be seen at her mom’s house after that. Hey, it worked.

Sooo… this brings us back to the other night when she informed me of the possibility of a leprechaun living in our house.

Amy: Soooo… I think there’s a leprechaun who lives in our house.

Me: How would we know if there was a leprechaun living here?

Amy: Wellll, there would be signs of mischief around.

Me: Yah? Like what?

Amy: Liiiiiike, if you found messes around the house.

Uh huh. Then I’m guessing the leprechaun is named Amy and I’m guessing it likes to make crafts from construction paper and likes to eat candy and drink from mini juice boxes because I’ve seen plenty of messes left around from that. I know this because when I was growing up there was a leprechaun named “Janet” living in our house too… who used to rifle through my sisters’ purses looking for gum, would dress up the cat, and do other random acts of mischief that no one else enjoyed but me.

Me: And what kind of messes exactly?

Amy: Welllllllllllll, like if you found all your dresses on the floor in your closet.

Oh great. I’m having a feeling there’s an even BIGGER mound of clothes on my closet floor by this new “leprechaun”(hey, I never said that the leprechaun I had growing up ever left).

Me: Uh huh. And what else?

Amy: Welllllllll, maybe there will be stuff spilled on the floor.

I made a 90 degree turn in my chair and did a quick scan of the portion of the kitchen floor that I could see from my seat….half expecting to see a mountain of cereal, a small stream of milk, or something else that needed attention. There was nothing.

Amy: Sooooo… we should make him a house to live in.

Me: And what would it look like?

Amy: It could be a box, because leprechauns are small. We could put furniture in it and make windows out of scotch tape.

This is what Amy had in mind.

This is what Amy had in mind….

And this is what I had in mind.

… and this is what I had in mind… except a bigger lawn, perhaps a little brook meandering through it, and possibly the addition of a heated pool.

Me: Ahhh yes, windows are good.

Amy: It has to have windows, and we could cut holes in the box and put scotch tape over them so he can see through them. He needs the windows so he can watch our big screen tv.

Me: Oh… cuz they like to watch tv, do they?

Amy: Yes, when they aren’t being bad.

And then once again, I got wrapped up in the delusion… I pictured a slew of things I’d seen on Pinterest… we could make the leprechaun a lovely stone house from pebbles, make some furniture, I could make some curtains from small snippets of fabric, and on and on it went. Suddenly I envisioned a whole villa decorated perfectly for a leprechaun. Yes, a leprechaun. A fictitious creature that doesn’t exist.

I’ve since quelled my delusions about creating a living space for the leprechaun… after all, Amy says there may be a troll living under the basement stairs now.. and well… while he’s got a place to live – his wardrobe and appearance need some serious attention.

I'm thinking new hairdo, chemical peel, dental work, some hair removal and new wardrobe...

I’m thinking new hairdo, chemical peel, dental work, some hair removal and new wardrobe…


A homicide (of sorts) at our house.


I arrived home yesterday with the house all in a flurry. There was a police car out front (my better half’s vehicle, that is) and I was informed immediately upon coming into the kitchen that there’d been a homicide. My better half was fully engrossed in the investigation, going over the actual scene of the crime, piecing together what bits he could to determine how and why this grotesque crime was perpetrated, and ultimately, why a young life was snatched away. Sadly, it was true. Sylvia’s life had been taken alright… and way too soon. They say (whoever “they” are is yet to be determined) that a vast majority of victims of a homicide are known to their killer. And the scene unfolding at our house would prove that statement to be true. The main suspect was none other than “Nanna”.

Yes, Nanna. Loving grandmother by day, calculating villain by supper.

From what I gleaned from the police reports Nanna claims that she had gone outside to smoke one of her “cancer sticks”. Whilst walking to her spot to sit down, she accidentally knocked over one of Amy’s plastic garden buckets. She said that it was with her next step that she heard a “crunch” sound and discovered in horror that she’d crushed Sylvia the snail to death. Poor Sylvia never had a chance. Nanna claims that she lifted up her foot and saw that Sylvia was now stuck to the bottom of her slipper. She said she was overcome with fear, guilt and (understandably) dry heaves at the horrific sight and called police right away.

Mind you, the one who was completely distraught over this was Amy, my 6 year old step-daughter. She slowly, and gloomily emerged from the basement, toting a piece of paper on which she’d drawn a picture on each side. One side contained a picture of the victim and herself before the grisly murder, and on the other side a picture of her very sad self at the what-appeared-to-be burial site. It was very detailed and accurate, as there in the picture was Sylvia (albeit, smiling), in her burial plot.

I’ve never met Sylvia and truth be known, I’ve never even heard of her until her untimely death. I’m not even sure how Sylvia came to live/reside/die at our house. From the description I got of her, I’m guessing she looks like this…

This would pretty much be exactly what a forensic artist would draw up based on Amy’s description of Sylvia. (the blush, hat and pearl necklace were added upon request of the victim’s family.)

It was indeed a very sad evening at our house as we each sat around and reminisced about how great Sylvia’s life had been. (You have no idea how hard it is to do this based on a slimy creature you’ve never met. Had I met her, well then, I could have talked for hours. But I had nothing.)

Nanna being taken away for questioning… (2nd degree murder perhaps?)

I guess it could have been worse. Say for example, if Sylvia and her family ended up like this…

Appetizers anyone?

Just so you know, we’ve decided to drop the charges against Nanna (negligence causing death). And if anyone would like to attend, we will be holding a service for Sylvia this weekend. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Save the Snails Foundation whose sole purpose is in protecting snails from such horrific and violent crimes.

Rest in peace Sylvia, wish I had have tasted  KNOWN, you.

The North Pole, a stick, and some polar bears… according to Amy.

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It’s so interesting to hear a child reason out things. Amy (remember, she’s only 5) came to me this morning and asked me if I had a compass. Wondering what on earth she’s conjuring up this time, I advised her that sadly, I do not have a compass.

Amy: “Well, can you go buy one? I need to use one right away.”

Me: looking at her quizzically. “What do you need a compass for?”

Amy: “To find out which way is North. Like, the North Pole.”

Me: “Oh, I see.”

It was then she described to me an elaborate plan that involved a compass, a stick of some sort, and something about the North Pole. She said something about being able to find a stick that leads to the North Pole and you can take it home (not sure if she meant the stick or the actual north pole). I know. I didn’t get it either. But she was convinced this was a legitimate plot and assured me that it made sense. I made a confused face.

Amy: “It will work Janet.”

Me: “I have no doubt.” I replied, having no idea what exactly was going to work – the idea, the stick, or the compass, but who was I to judge? I could be sitting in the midst of a genius kid here. She has a great sense of imagination and creativity. She’s turned paper towel rolls into snorkels, cereal boxes into TVs, Smarties boxes into remote controls, and the list goes on. She’s turned empty pop bottles into water grenades (not sure why she went with weapons, but whatever), and I’m hoping and praying that she will find a way to upcycle my Toyota into a Mercedes convertible one of these days. Hey, a girl can dream.

Amy: “I think it would probably be better if we just flew in an airplane there.”

Me: “Now you are talking.” I replied, because now she was making sense and I could maybe understand this idea.

Amy: “Or we could drive there.”

Me: “Hmmm… I don’t think so, it would take an awful long time and what if we came across some polar bears?”

Amy: eyes wide, “Well, we’d just shave off their fur and turn them into meat for supper.”

Now my eyes were wide. Say what? Skin an animal and make it supper??? I don’t think so.

Me: “Uhhhh… I don’t think I could hurt an animal like that, could you?”

Amy: (thinking for a moment) “Well, Dad could wrestle the polar bears and then he could turn them into supper.”

Me: (envisioning that for a moment and liking the idea of her dad wrestling… perhaps shirtless, oil on his chest, muscles bulging… oh wait, getting off topic here) “Hmmmm… not sure about that. I don’t think I like this idea of killing the polar bears. Couldn’t we just eat Cheerios?”

Amy: rather loudly and seemingly quite frustrated at my lack of intelligence, “Well Janet, it could take us a hundred million days to drive to the North Pole and we’d have to eat SOMETHING with protein you know!!”

And there you have it. A feasible reason to eat a polar bear, at least according to Amy.

My thoughts exactly, little bear. My thoughts exactly.

Amy and her snail


I think God gives us kids so we remember to enjoy the simple things in life.

Pic courtesy of toprankblog.com

Amy is my 5 year old stepdaughter and she’s a real firecracker who is more so 5-going-on-25. She’s a bright little girl who likes the color pink, wearing sundresses and yet can be a real tomboy who isn’t afraid of any bug, monster, or getting dirty. She likes bugs. I do not. In fact, if I find a spider or other bug in the house, I get Amy to come and get it. She’ll pick it up, examine it closely and release it outside. Gotta love it! Just like last summer when we went for an ice cream and while she was sitting enjoying hers, a horrifying ugly flying bug landed on her arm. I was ready to jump up and down in hysterics and it wasn’t even my arm. Amy however, noticed the bug, brought her arm in closer to her face, stared at it intensely from every angle – perhaps committing it’s form to memory, and then flicked it off calmly… all while never missing one single lick of her ice cream!

On Friday after school she proudly brought home “Mrs. Slimy Panda”, the snail. In true 5 year old fashion, the name makes no sense. This snail wasn’t brought home on the end of her finger or in her pocket, but rather, in an actual mini-aquarium type thing. All the kids in her class got to bring home a snail and its own place to live. Why, I have no idea. Part of a class project I assume.

I was formally introduced to said snail Saturday morning when Amy came down the stairs to give me a closer look at her new friend while I was sipping my morning tea at the kitchen table. She looked somewhat sad and I thought Oh dear Lord, do not tell me this thing has died already.

“My snail needs to be spritzed with water, Janet.” she said. “He can’t dry out.”

She looked at me like this….

Yup… pretty darn cute…

I looked into the little aquarium… I didn’t see him. Anywhere. My eyes quickly scanned the items that WERE in there…I saw the rock, the leaf, the piece of chalk, the soil, the small piece of lettuce, the pop bottle top that serves as either a water dish or a pool – I’m not sure, but no snail.

“Uhhhhh….where’s the snail?” I asked, trying to conceal my panic and imagining she left it somewhere in the house… like the sofa, her bed, or *gasp*… my bed. She held the little cage up higher and said calmly and rather matter-of-factly, as if I should have known, “He’s on the roof.”

I got down to her level and peered up into the cage. Sure enough it was sitting upside down on the roof. I quickly grabbed a spray bottle and watched as she morphed into zookeeper mode. She removed the lid with precision placing it gently down on the table revealing the little snail going about its business, she lovingly tapped one finger on its shell in a petting motion, then directed the nozzle to the contents of the cage and gave everything a few doses of water as if she’d been doing this job for years.

The snail lives here…

“Snails can live for years you know.” she said as she put down the spray bottle and put her nose within an inch of the snail who was exploring the bright yellow roof of his cage.

“Is that so?” I said, watching carefully so that she didn’t get any ideas of letting him slide around on the table.

“Yup. And they hibernate as well.”

“Wow. I didn’t know that.” I tell her.

“Squirrels and badgers hibernate too, Janet.” she said, resting her chin on her hand and staring at the snail. “You have to be careful picking it up because if the shell breaks, it’ll die. There’s chalk in his cage because they like to eat it. But it can’t eat salt or it will die so don’t put any salt in here. And when they crawl they leave behind a trail of slime. It needs the slime so it can move along.”

This was more informative than watching a nature show. And if you think she’s smart, you should see her older sister.

“Ohhhhh” I said and looked in the little cage. A blue colored orb caught my eye. “What is that? Is that a blueberry in there?” I asked.

“Uh huh. They like blueberries so I put one in there for a snack.” she said confidently. I couldn’t help but smile. The blueberry was as big as the snail. A snack… hmmm… more like a lifetime supply.

The snail and its assortment of snacks…

I decided to take a seat in the room adjacent to the kitchen where I could still watch her adoration for this little creature and she could still delight me in her knowledge.

“I’ve studied snails for most my life.” she says.

I almost burst out laughing. “Oh yah?” I said.

“Yep. We’ve been studying them in class. I’m kinda an expert. If you need to know anything about snails, you can just ask me. And when I go to my moms house you can play with him while I am gone, I wont mind.”

At that moment, her father walks in toting a wrench or some other tool for the handiwork he was doing outside. “Oh Dad, if you need to know anything about snails you can just ask me, okay?”

He smiled and said, “Okay. Is his name Gary the Snail?”

“Noooo Daaaaad, Gary is the name of Spongebob’s snail.”

“Ohhhhh.” he responds.

“Do you have any other questions though?” she asks.

He was fiddling with something on the counter at this point and said, “Uhhh… what color pants does your snail wear?”

Amy slaps her hand on her forehead and says, “He doesn’t wear pants Daaaaaaad, he doesn’t have legs.”

“Oh.” he says smiling. “Does he have any shoes?”

She rolls her eyes. “Noooo, he doesn’t have shoes because he doesn’t have feet, Daaaaaaaad. Snails dont have legs or feet you know.”

He winks at me and says to Amy, “Then how can he dance?”

She sighs deeply and says, “They don’t dance either daaaaaaad.” She sounded like a teenager with her long drawn out “Daaaaaaaad” expression.

Kinda cute…

After a few seconds she picked up the snail and let him/her squirm around on her finger. The mere thought grossed me out and so I directed my attention to my cup of tea. My concentration was broken only by her giggles as she announced happily, “The snail won’t come off my finger!”  Gross. Like, ewwwwwwww. But she was in bug owner heaven. How sweet.

She thought for a moment and then discovered that the snail would likely willingly come off her finger if she got its favorite rock and enticed it with that. It worked like a charm.

Within minutes Mrs. Slimy Panda was back in its cage and Amy was all smiles.

Like I said, I think God gives us children so we appreciate the little things. Who’d have thought that a sticky snail could bring so much delight?