Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our April Fools

Those who know me, know that typically I stink at April Fools jokes.  I cringe at the arrival of the date because I feel  giddy with excitement about trying to trick people, but am terrible at doing it right.

For example, in about our first or second year of marriage, I called my husband at work on April Fools Day to tell him our home had burned down.  It had not.  But this was a terrible joke, as you probably already realize, because not only did he have to rush home from work worrying the whole way, but his house had burned down for real when he was a teenager, so it brought back all kinds of emotions with which I was unprepared to help him deal.

These are the horribly wayward "fools" for which I've gained some notoriety and from which I have desperately looked to my husband's accountability before I needlessly devastate, say, our children.  I run all my crazy ideas past him now on April 1 and he gives me the thumbs up or down.

I remember he once tried to explain to me what kinds of jokes are appropriate ones for the holiday, but I don't ever remember all the rules, so it's easier just to rely on his censorship of my really bad ideas.

Anyway, this year, I had wanted to fool our teenager and tell her that she would not be allowed to go to the prom.  This joke was given a thumbs down because she'd been extremely excited all week for April 1 -- prom night -- to arrive and how cruel would I be to just squash her dreams in the name of a holiday?  Even if it was just for pretend and all in good fun.

I know most of you are just shaking your head at me now having heard two terrible joke-ideas of mine.  In retrospect, it does make sense to me how these could be disastrous, but in a moment of creative trick-planning, my weird mind thinks these kinds of things are splendid.  Perhaps I'm just naturally cruel and compassionless.  I don't know.  I can't really explain it.

Okay, so in the meantime, and for years, we've struggled with our boys getting up too early and then waking each other up.  This was worst while the boys all shared a room, but now they are in three separate spaces and they still go to each room bother each other until a brother or two is chasing them through the hallways.  There's screaming and hurting and then the rest of the household is up too early and grumpy.

About a week ago, I mentioned to the oldest two boys that if they couldn't leave each other alone, we'd just put them back in one room and they could keep their morning attacks contained instead of in the hallways and by our bedroom door.  It was one of those totally mom-threats like: "If you do... one more time... then..."

And I desperately do my best to never make empty threats.  If I say I'm going to do it, I follow through.  Even though sometimes I make outlandish promises in light of too little sleep or not enough brain power, I like to do what I say I'm going to do because otherwise, where's my integrity?  Occasionally, though, reason or laziness overcomes me and I have to think quick about how to backtrack and get out of whatever was promised.

So on this April 1, I pulled a long-con.  The boys were back to messing around first thing in the morning (and though I was already awake and plotting the first terrible idea against S), it annoyed me that they were back to same-old, same-old.  I walked out into the hallway and told them I'd had it and we'd be moving them into one room that very day!

I walked back to our bedroom where my husband was sitting at his desk looking bewildered at the prospect of combining the boys' rooms into one space and I whispered, "April Fools"?!  He smiled.  He liked it.  He said, "Yeah, and they even earned this one."

A few minutes later, while our oldest son sat grumbling in his room, C went in with a measuring tape, measured a wall and then called out to me, "Yeah, it'll fit fine," to which I responded, "Good!"

Then I went to H's room and let him know we needed him to clear out a space for his brother's bed and stuff and he hollered back at me, "I know!!"

C and I, chuckling in whispers in our room about the whole thing heard a quiet knock on the door.  It was H, who wanted to know how much space he should clear.  By this point, he was starting to tear up in frustration about the whole situation.  I invited him in to "talk about it" with us and though reluctant, he eventually came in.

We asked him what was upsetting him so much about the situation and he went on with all the reasons sharing a room with someone would be a problem and by the end of his speech he was actually crying.  So before I started crying in sympathy, I said, "Good thing this is just an April Fools joke."

H was so mad!!  He stomped off and told his brother, who came to my room just to say, "That wasn't very funny at all."

Now, some of you might think that maybe this falls under the category of bad jokes, but seriously, not only had they earned what I'd threatened a few days before, but by playing this joke, I was actually able to back out of that threat (unless I choose to bring it up again) and save us all a lot of effort because we know that combining the boys back into one space would be detrimental for all of us.

It seems to me that it was worth a few tears and them hating me (again) to preserve my integrity.  I think anyway.  I hope.   All I know is that April 2 rolled around, and all the boys stayed put in their rooms.


  1. Oh my...okay I totally didn't remember this aspect of you. I don't remember the house fire story. Yeah, I'm pretty much not in favor of jokes that will involve great disappointment--whether it's that the disappointment is a joke, or the good news is a joke. I think fun jokes are just like little tricks where everyone has fun and laughs and knows it's a joke. But I'm sometimes overly worried about feelings.

  2. Sounds like the best possible joke to me! :)