April's fool

. August 13, 2012.

We have the pleasure of hosting a young student from China. She is a joyful addition to our crew of crazies. I ponder daily how this serene, peaceful woman of quiet strength and intelligence survives in our house of mayhem. I have tried to educate her on the American experience. She finally understands that a fat man dressed in red brings gifts to well behaved children, a bunny (not a chicken) delivers Easter eggs and candy, and an oversized rodent can predict how much longer winter will last. I am clueless though on how to prepare her for the first day of April.

My children have pulled a few pranks that have left me feeling a tad foolish and secretly appreciative of their creativity. They are pros at the classics especially the old “put a rubber band around the kitchen sprayer so whoever turns on the sink will get doused” trick. It was wonderfully executed but unfortunately, they got the wrong target. I believe it is Murphy’s Law that pretty much guaranteed the most anal-retentive member of the family would turn on the water. One of their finest moments of foolery was at my expense. The girls went online, found a photo of a sumo wrestler, cropped it so only his face appeared and printed the realistic life-sized sumo head image. My children then figured out where their creation would be eye level for their above average height mother (great math skills and team work I must say) and taped it to my mirror. The morning of the first of April, I woke up, headed to the bathroom and found the large headed sumo man staring back at me instead of my own reflection. I’m
so proud.

Bouncing back

My gang certainly did not learn these skills from me. Every time, and I do mean EVERY TIME, I try to pull a prank, I end up bamboozled. I once took a small clip earring I borrowed from my Mom and put it in my nose. I proceeded downstairs to have breakfast with the girls' conservative man-of-science-and-decorum father. He didn’t notice at first, but once I pointed out my new acquisition, it made an impact. I told him that as an artistic, creative woman, I had a need to express myself. Yep, that’s how it began. Now I have a daughter with a little stud in her nose.

You would think I would have learned my lesson but I am either a very slow learner or an eternal optimist. Once again I tried to my hand at a little joke. I told the girls' Dad while vacationing in Florida that a lizard had come in through the door of the condo. He loathed all reptilian creatures, so he spent the day searching for the supposed loose beast. He placed towels under the doors, searched every crevice and was a basket of nerves until I finally couldn’t see him suffer and said, “April Fools!” The next morning I was leaning up against the condo wall chatting with a neighbor when my hand felt something that didn’t feel like concrete. I turned to the wall to see the very thing I had told my family was running free in our abode the day before. We were looking at one another eye to eye, and to this day I am convinced that little lizard experienced the same fear and surprise as I did (minus the screaming and incontinence). It took off and headed directly through the door I left ajar and went into the condo. I couldn’t get anyone to believe me until the little green guy made a pilgrimage from under the fridge to a new spot under the stove. 

Creature comforts

I thought about giving up the foolish endeavors especially after telling the girls' Dad (I know there’s a pattern here. High degree of seriousness and an easy target) who coveted his privacy and creature comforts that my family was going to descend upon us while on holiday and we would have to sleep on the floor. It didn’t even take 24 hours before I got the call that once again my made-up tale would turn into a reality. I think my final April Fool’s joke caused me to permanently swear off the foolish behavior. After a day of motherhood, experiencing projectile vomiting, teething, diaper rash and a full blown temper tantrum (OK I was the one who had the tantrum), I announced that I was pregnant. HA HA HA! I really had them going. Maria was born in January of the following year. Do the math.

I think I’ll bypass celebrating April Fool’s Day with our beloved exchange student, for truly it does defy explanation. I’ll stick to clarifying dancing leprechauns, putting candles in gourds while handing out treats to freaky little goblins, and my neighbor’s version of the holy trinity, Frosty the Snowman, Mrs. Claus and a camel.