So, aside from cackling with glee as Annie and Ella encountered the various pranks I’d set for them, I thought that the best part of yesterday was going to be the chocolate-covered strawberries that the girls made me for dessert. Or maybe learning that a fantastic project I’ve been doing with my seventh grade students has finally been completed, to my utter delight. Or perhaps realizing that I had not heard “Let It Go” in twenty-four entire hours.

Upon further reflection, the lack of “Let It Go” was definitely the highlight of my yesterday. Or so I thought, until Nick came home from a brief trip to Minnesota and gave me something even more amazing.

Stop it right now; I don’t mean it like that.

This past fall, both girls were unexpectedly diagnosed with eczema. (Between that and the cold urticaria, they sure the got the best of Nick’s and my genes, skin-wise. At least we make super cute offspring.) In addition to suggesting that we use the extra rinse cycle on the washing machine, forego dryer sheets (static cling, you vixen), and liberally apply (unscented, un-dyed, totally boring hypoallergenic) lotion after each bath or shower, our pediatrician also strongly recommended that we switch the girls to a bar of soap without fragrance or dyes. Enter unscented Dove, which they have been using for the past six months or so.

I have kept Nick and me awash (pun intended) in Irish Spring or Zest, mostly because I like their commercial jingles, plus Dove is a bit more expensive. Also, I know where our soap has been, unlike the bar that the girls scrub themselves and the shower with every time they’re in there. (Okay, so I know where their soap has been, too, which is why I don’t want it spread all over my body.)

Yes, this relates to Nick coming home yesterday and totally making my night. Patience.

Even though my green bar of soap was nestled beside theirs, I knew – because they hate applying the lotion and understand that using soap other than theirs might result in drier skin – that the girls wouldn’t use anything other than the Dove, which meant that my nail-polish-on-the-soap-bar prank had a decent shot at succeeding. I also knew that I wouldn’t have the soap trick backfire on me (unlike, say, the blue-dyed water faucets, which I doused myself with not once but twice before remembering that I was pranking the girls, not me), because I’m afraid of using their bar. Win-win.

The only bummer was that Nick was going to be out of town all day, so he couldn’t participate in any of the shenanigans, nor could I prank him in any way. A bummer, but hardly the end of the world. There’s always next year.

Upon his return at nearly midnight, I couldn’t help but recount the tales of the day, chuckling with each remembrance of the girls’ reactions. He was beyond bushed, having awakened at 4-something in the morning to catch his flight to the Twin Cities (after having returned home after midnight – yowza! – following his final hockey game of the season), but still I pressed on, ending with the final prank of the day – the lacquered soap – and told him how Ella had been thoroughly bewildered by its lack of suds-ability.

At this, his sleep-heavy eyes popped open as he cocked his head slightly to the side and half-asked, half-reasoned, “So that’s why it wouldn’t work this morning!”

Turns out, Nick has been using the girls’ Dove for months now, and – in his punch-drunken, 4 a.m. exhaustion  – had been quite confused when it didn’t perform as usual.

“It felt, I don’t know… Oily or scaly or something. Definitely not right.
And that was because you’d coated it in nail polish??”

Yes. Yes, it was, because I had no idea that he was commandeering our daughters’ special hypoallergenic soap for his own purposes, so I saw no reason to warn him of said prank before he attempted to lather up. Wife of the year, that’s me.

Then again, even if I had known that he was co-opting the soap, I probably wouldn’t have warned him. Nay, especially if I’d known that he was co-opting the soap, I wouldn’t have warned him… because while it’s one thing to pull a fast one over on your seven and nine year-olds, it’s quite another to successfully pull one over on your nearly forty year-old husband who senses your high jinks from a mile away and cannot be fooled no matter how hard you try.

Having done so by accident, and then imagining him wondering what the hell was going on as he tried in vain to wash up with soap that mysteriously “wasn’t working”?

Oh, it’s no contest; that was absolutely the best part of my day.
(xoxo, babe)

april fools dinner3
Our 2009 April Fool’s Day dinner, where Nick was undoubtedly more cheerful than he’d been yesterday morning.


Just foolin’ around…

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.

Pink milk on their cereal was met with astonishment…april fools pink milk
Annie, age two, totally rocking her Dora utensils, enormous bangs, and her Carol Brady mullet.

… and convincing Daddy to eat mysteriously blue eggs was cause for extreme fits of the giggles.
4.1. tricking daddy   april fools2
No, really, they’re delicious!

The girls still talk about the year we ate lunch on the table instead of at the table.
april fools lunchIs Annie wearing pants? I honestly have no idea.

A fried egg or some hardened bakers chocolate? Only a bite will tell…
april fools day snack
Hint: I am all about dessert for breakfast.

4.1 april fools day

We have seen frozen breakfasts.
april fools1a
But it looks normal, does it not?

april fools3april fools2
 I… can’t… eat… mine…. Well, would you look at THAT.

A year later – still damn funny.

The peanut-butter-and-jelly-rolls-turned-sushi were cute, but a pain in the neck to make.april fools4

april fools6
You’re saying this is supposed to be fish?

And the “baked potatoes” were messier but yummy.april fools day lunch
There’s just no un-messy way to roll potato-shaped ice cream in cocoa powder, am I right?

4.01 april fools lunch
Wait… we can really have ice cream with lunch? Fo’ realz?

Just a minute… Is there something in the toilet?
Hi, there.

Speaking of “Hi, there”…
They had their eyes on us.


This year, I went for an old favorite…
“Look, my milk is purple!”

… and some new tricks as well, courtesy of my buddy, Google.IMG_6832
They didn’t mind that the Reese’s were missing…

… because oodles of chocolates replaced their peaches.

“Mom! How’d you get the water to be blue?”
I’ll be keeping that information to myself, thanks.

You know your kid’s a sound sleeper when you can paint “April Fool 🙂 “ on her nails and she doesn’t so much as move.

She got a huge kick out of her manicure when I pointed it out this morning.
“I am a really amazing sleeper!”
Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

Turns out, no one really likes Jell-o… but it was wickedly fun to see their eyes light up with recognition when they understood that their “cranberry juice” wasn’t actually potable.

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?”
“It’s… dry.”
“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.