Good morning, listeners on the high plains. We are still talking about April Fool’s Day pranks this week. My teacher-friends aren’t the only ones who have pranked me. Over the years, my own children, dear as they are, have played a few tricks on me in honor of April Fool’s Day.
When they were younger, the mischief was fairly innocent. For example, one time, Millie and Dashiell switched out the bags in the cereal boxes so that when I poured what I thought was my healthy, multigrain, sugar-free granola into the bowl, what I got was Lucky Charms. I actually really enjoyed that magically delicious joke.
Another time, Millie used a rubber band to depress the lever on the spray nozzle of the hose on the kitchen sink. She planned that I would turn on the water and be sprayed right in the face. Unfortunately for Millie, Joel was the one to turn on the faucet first. Is anyone surprised? He’s the dish doer at our house. Anyway, I think we all know that Joel deserves whatever he gets when it comes to practical jokes, but he didn’t see it that way. He felt strongly that Millie needed to be squirted back, and what resulted caused permanent damage to the wood floors in the kitchen.
The kids have also been guilty of hiding fake spiders and snakes about the house. They are especially fond of those dumb cans of nuts that spring open to eject fake snakes. But even they’ve never been as heartless as my brother, who curled a rather large, real bull snake into an empty cheeseball canister and handed it to our beleaguered mother. My own kids may have done something like that if they weren’t scared of spiders and snakes themselves and if they didn’t actually want to continue living.
I do have to hand it to my middle child, Dashiell. He perpetrated the most effective practical joke played by a child on his mother when he was only nine years old. A few summers ago, I asked Dashiell if he wanted to ride along to our local grocery store, just a few blocks from home. I promised him an Icee if he came along. His typical summer state is barefoot and wearing only swim trunks, so though he considered engaging in the arduous task of finding shoes and a shirt, he decided not to tag along rather than undergo such a trial by fire.
I drove the few blocks, parked, and went in to grab the few items I needed. No need to lock the vehicle doors; we live in a small town and everyone knows what everyone else drives. If anybody messed around in our twelve-year-old, rather beat-up van, the whole town would know within minutes. A short time later, I came out of the store, hands full of grocery bags. I opened the sliding door, plopped the bags on the floor, and got in. I put the vehicle in reverse and glanced in the rearview mirror. The face of a blond kid with freckles and blue eyes looked back at me.
“Hello, Mother,” he said in a sinister voice. Or at least that’s what he later told me he said.
I have no memory of the first few minutes after that, as I was slumped in the seat, eyes rolled back in my head.
Apparently, Dashiell had spontaneously decided to run the few blocks to the store, climb in the van while I was shopping, and ambush me when I returned.
When I regained consciousness, I said, “You can just walk home!”
He couldn’t do that though, because, of course, he was barefoot. He hadn’t noticed the hot sidewalk on the way down, because the adrenaline that was coursing through his veins in anticipation of scaring the living daylights out of his mother numbed his feet. I threatened to give him a jolt of adrenaline that would enable him to walk on hot coals, but he was so stinking proud of himself about the trick, I didn’t have the heart to carry out any real punishment. Now, I drew the line though, when it came to buying him a large Icee.