April Fool’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. This was not the case growing up, where my brother was known to pull pranks not just on the first of April, but all year long. (I cannot count the number of times I was serenaded with “birthday” songs and candle-lit treats at restaurants where the unsuspecting servers were roped into believing that it was actually my big day, and I had to feign polite surprise or risk looking like one of those people who is always pooh-poohing her birthday. Or the time when he was about twelve and convinced me he’d been arrested. Orrr the time we were riding a chairlift with another passenger – a teenage boy [who I’d taken it upon my teenage girl self to, if not impress, at least not repel ] – and Taylor wedged his snow-suited elbow underneath my snow-suited elbow and began making my arm jerk wildly up and down, as though I suffered some kind of frenetic tic. When – mortified – I attempted to laugh off this odd behavior to the teenage stranger and explain that my meddling brother was the culprit, Taylor leaned in sympathetically and told said stranger that I hadn’t taken my medication yet, but not to worry, I was really quite harmless. Fantastic.)
SO ANYWAY. Having been subjected to endless pranks and jokes at my expense, April Fool’s Day wasn’t really on my radar as something to be eagerly anticipated, but rather something to be feared.
Until I had kids.
Suddenly, as is written in the Parenting Manifesto, teasing and goofing around and finding new ways to pester my offspring became some of my favorite pastimes, with delightfully evil satisfaction being achieved with each giggling “Gotcha!” (Perhaps it’s in my genes, given that my mom’s father wore an impish smile for a great many of his activities, either having recently “gotten” someone or actively plotting to do someone in. I also still recall – with equal parts annoyance and amusement – when I was about eight years old and my own father bet me a quarter that I could not stop talking and just stay quiet while we ate dinner. This may not seem like such a huge deal, but people… Not. Talking. It was torture. About ten minutes into the bet, just as I was getting into my silent groove, the phone rang, and after my father answered it, he called me over, saying, “Em – it’s for you!” The moment I held the phone to my ear and hopefully uttered, “Hello?”, my dad pointed a triumphant finger at me and cackled, “AH HA! You lose!” [Unbeknownst to me, he had snuck out of the room and called a friend with one bizarre request: “Call back and just hang up, please.”] He eventually felt so bad about tricking me, he gave me an entire dollar. Who’s the winner now, dad?)
This is the reason one has children, is it not? To bug them? Well, that and always having an explanation as to why there are stains on your pants. “Omg, the girls spilled something on the chair; I didn’t even see it…”
There is the usual, everyday silliness, of course, as well as the purposeful tomfoolery, but when it dawned on me that the girls were old enough to be properly bamboozled on April Fool’s Day, all bets were off.
A year later – still damn funny.
I hadn’t been sure about this one – where you paint clear nail polish over a bar of soap and then, supposedly, it won’t lather – even though Google had shown it to me at least a dozen times. But the girls’ soap was down to just a scrap anyway, so I decided to go for it. They needed to shower tonight, so I reminded them (rather forcefully) to make sure and really suds up to get extra clean… and then I waited with baited breath.
At last: victory.
“Hey, Annie. There’s something weird about this soap.”
“What is it?”
“What do you mean it’s dry?”
“Here – try it!”
“Huh… Oh wow, it really is dry. That’s so strange.”
Perhaps you need another bar of soap?
“Oh, thanks Mom. That’d be great.”
“I wonder how it got that way…”
… Maaaybe someone decided to coat it with clear nail polish as an April Fool’s Day joke? Just an idea…
“Wow. Mom really had a lot of tricks ready for us!”
“I know, right?”
At the end of the night (after climbing into their beds ever-so-gingerly, wondering if I’d short-sheeted them – I hadn’t; I mean, come on, that is so last year [literally, which is why I didn’t repeat it this time around] ), Ella proclaimed this “the best April Fool’s Day ever!”, which is a bit of a dubious distinction – like declaring a piece of fruit to be your favorite dessert – but I’ll take it.
Annie wandered into my bedroom shortly before tuck-in, asking me how I’d “learned about so many tricks and treats.” I told her that some of it was my own brilliance, but a lot came from online.
“Gosh. The internet is a crazy and wonderful place.”
Yes it is, sweetie. Yes it is.