Spring is fast approaching. I know this not because I can sense it in the air, or see it in the foliage, or even because the stores are stocked with shorts, tank tops and sandals. Rather, I know Spring is coming because once again it is time to pull out my bag of practical jokes for April Fool’s Day!
Having grown up under the tutelage of the King of all things foolish – my father – I now have the tremendous urge to be the fooler, rather than the foolee. My apprenticeship consisted of being annually fooled into thinking there were ten feet of snow on the ground, a squirrel just flew by our window, Donny Osmond was coming to dinner, we were moving to Pakistan, etc. My father could always keep a straight face no matter what load of hogwash he was selling to me. His obvious delight, in the early years, was sweet. He laughed, I laughed. As I grew older, the sweetness turned sour and I would simply shake my head, thinking, “One of these days… One of these days…”
Face it, kids are pretty easy to fool, especially when the one pulling the wool over their eyes, is also the one who paid for the sweater! You see, children implicitly trust their parents more than anyone else in their tiny worlds. We are there from Day One, feeding, caring, fixing boo boos with a kiss, even performing “magic.” I mean it must be pretty magical to a two year old to see Mom put cold milk in the box on the counter, make it beep a couple times, and VOILA, out comes hot chocolate!
And what about the whole “always tell the truth” business? What parent hasn’t vocalized that one since their child was able to understand? We encourage trust, honesty, truth. What paragons of virtue we must be, right? To paraphrase the Big Bad Wolf, “All the better to fool you with my dear!” I mean what better audience for a good April Fool than those least likely to suspect you are full of #$%#@?
I admit that since having children, I too have delighted in tricking them into thinking we won the lottery, production on Barbie was being banned, and that the Backstreet Boys were really my brothers. (Boy, was I a cool Mom for about 20 minutes till my oldest daughter called my Mother who ratted me out.)
I have also learned though that those under the age of five are not equipped with “Reality Radar” and should not be fooled.
Case in point, my three year old was talking to me as I took a bath. Finished, I pulled the plug and as the water began to go down, I acted like I too was being pulled down the drain. Out she ran to get her Daddy to help me before I got sucked away. In the few seconds she was gone, I jumped out of the tub and hid behind the closet door. When she came running back with my husband, she immediately became hysterical! Tears streamed down her face as she screamed and screamed that Mommy had gotten washed down the drain! Emerging from my hiding spot, I held her close, assuring her that I was OK. Believe me, I felt like the biggest FOOL on the planet.
But, back to my father. After enduring thirty years of his chicanery, this year I have decided to finally turn my attention to “getting” him. A challenge of immense proportions, mind you. I will have to be tricky, look for weak spots, sneak in under his radar. Just what would make him temporarily lose his mind? Ten feet of snow won’t do it. Forget flying squirrels.
I’ve got it!
All I need is a little “donation” from a pregnant friend and the cooperation of my mother, who incidentally has been his victim far more times than I. I think he’ll be quite surprised when Mom emerges from the bathroom on April 1st holding a little pregnancy test with a bright red plus sign, don’t you? But how long to wait until I call and say, “April Fools!”?
Decisions, decisions…look out Dad, the crown has been passed to a new generation!!