Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Falling For It

My kids never learn.

This morning, I did it again: I raced upstairs to their rooms, yelling at them to get up and come downstairs to clean up the cat's regurgitated rodent breakfast. I stood there, ignoring their pitiful pleas to just go away and let them sleep; mercilessly I whipped open the doors to their bedrooms and roared at each one individually.

And I managed to sound very convincing.

"I've done it the last three times!" whimpered my youngest quite truthfully. "Make her do it this time!"

The eldest groaned and pulled her pillow over her head. "We're on Easter break! Can't you do it this time?"

I folded my arms over my chest and glared at her. "I do it plenty as it is and so does your sister. Now get out of bed and do it."

"Ohwrrrr!" she bellowed. "I hate that cat! Why can't she just leave them alone?"

"It's a cat's nature to catch mice," I said primly. "And before we got the cat, you promised you would do your fair share of the clean up. Remember? I believe I have it in writing."

This is true, by the way. I wasn't like this to begin with, but my kids are pretty good at weaseling out of their promises; over the years I've learned it pays to get things like this in writing, and it's saved me a lot of hassles.

She let out a long, exasperated sigh and threw her pillow across the room.

"Okay. I'll do it this time, but next time, she has to do it."

I held up a hand. "Excuse me, your sister has done it the last three times, so you're actually on for two more times."

Another roar. "I hate that cat!" She doesn't even sleep on my bed! She sleeps on your bed!"

"That doesn't make a bit of difference. It's still your turn and you know it."

Flinging the quilt aside, she did it: she got up.

And that was all I'd been waiting for: "APRIL FOOLS!!"

This is the fourth time they've fallen for it, and it just gets better and better.



laura said...

Just remember who's going to pick out your nursing home!

Carole said...

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Ah, what satisfaction in hoaxing your own kids! I think you should learn a gloating dance to perform especially for them.

The Anti-Wife said...

I'm impressed! Good job you!

Mary Witzl said...

Laura -- Heh heh, I know, but I've got lots of compromising pictures of them: shots of them mid temper tantrum, and with leaky noses, rashes, etc. I reckon I've got a little bargaining power.

Carole -- Thank you, my dear. I know you've played similar tricks on your boys! Why go to all the trouble of having kids if you can't have a little innocent fun with them once in a while?

GB -- I don't need to learn that gloating dance, sir; I've perfected it over the years. The nice thing about this trick is that they're always good sports about it, they're so relieved they don't have to clean up cat sick.

Anti-wife -- Thank you! There is nothing as richly satisfying as a good April Fool's joke. Even a bad one is loads of fun, providing it's effective.

A Paperback Writer said...

The best April Fools day joke I played was 4 years ago with the math teacher who had the classroom next door to mine. I brought my grandmother's ring to school (my wedding rings have long been recycled into other jewelry for my mother), and he proposed in front of a whole room full of 8th graders who sucked it up. It was the talk of the school for a whole day.
Very funny stuff.
He's done the joke again by posting his current "engagement" on his blog today. I, obviously, did not fall for it, as the trick 4 years ago was my idea to begin with. (You can go to ladunata.blogspot.com to see his trick for this year.)

But bravo for you for fooling your kids. It's so nice when they fall for it. :)

by the way, I'll be in Scotland this summer for a month. I can't wait! (a week up in Orkney because I've never been there before, then the rest of the time taking a creative writing course in Edinburgh during the festival.)
Lots of friends to see. Lots of cool weather to love while Salt Lake swelters with over 100 degrees. yipee!

Kara said...

you're nicer than my mom. she does stuff like put cello tape on the faucets and vaseline on the door handles. she also likes to bake cotton balls into cookies and whatnot. pure evil runs in my family apparently.

Kim Ayres said...

I did get my son with a great one a couple of years ago when I told him the school had phoned to say that because they were so far behind in the timetable, they'd cancelled the Easter holidays so pupils would have time to catch up on their work

Sarah said...

This is great!
We must be boring.
We did nothing yesterday. These nordic countries start affecting the way we think....

A Paperback Writer said...

That one sounds great. Bravo!

Mary Witzl said...

APW -- You and your math-teaching colleague are obviously real masters of April Fool's jokes, and I take my hat off to you! The math teachers at our high school were a dry, deadly boring bunch and I'm sure I would have tried extra hard to understand theoroms and simultaneous equations for people like that, so good for you.

You're coming to Scotland this summer? Get in touch with me and I will, at the very least, be able to show you around this town! The only problem is that we've had a long, irritatingly snow-free, but frigidly cold, winter, and we're all hoping for warm weather. Still, even the warm weather here is cool compared to 100 degrees...

Kara -- Good for your mother! Vaseline on the door handles sounds like fun, but I'm definitely a person who goes for word tricks. All mothers have to have a little bit of the devil in them. It keeps us sane.

Kim -- That's a great one, and very effective! We did something similar about five years ago and they fell for that too. Apparently, our kids don't check the calendar, silly things.

Sarah -- You didn't play any April Fool's jokes? What a waste! Next year, I advise planning ahead. Your joke doesn't have to be anything special, and you can often recycle a good one -- or even a so-so one like mine. The trick is in the performance -- and having a couple of credulous suckers to practice on.

Linda D. (sbk) said...

I totally forgot to plan something and I was way too tired to come up with something in the morning, so I didn't do anything.

The kids were paranoid all morning, though, so maybe the joke was on them when nothing happened.

The one they remember most is the salty iced tea I served them a few years back.

debra said...

Kudos to you on the Great April Fool's Adventure! I completely forgot about it. I don't think April 2nd would work.....

A Paperback Writer said...

Sure! What town? I really don't know where you live except that it's in a small town not all that far from Edinburgh (what am I saying? This is Scotland, not Montana. nothing's all THAT far from Edinburgh), so presumably in the lowlands, but I could be wrong.

-eve- said...

Nice one! ;-)

Mary Witzl said...

Linda -- Salted iced tea? Oh, you cruel thing! Makes me feel better about the rock salt I put in my cookies a few years back. My youngest daughter put cayenne pepper in cupcakes, but she must have used it sparingly: none of us could even tell.

Debra -- I've let a few April the firsts pass me by without properly observing them. But now that my kids are teenagers, fat chance that's going to happen again!

APW -- I will be in touch! It will be fun to compare our YA/MG writing experiences.

Eve -- Thank you. I enjoy the simple things in life, and a good April Fool's Day joke is way up near the top of the list.

Katie Alender said...

I don't know that I've ever pulled off a good April Fool's joke. I feel like I'm hyper-aware of the date and don't believe anything that anyone tells me, just because I figure it's all a joke.

You are cruel! I'm sure your daughters will get you back at some point...!

Angela said...

Haha--hilarious! Thanks for sharing that.

A Paperback Writer said...

I'll contact you a little closer to July, as there's really no point in doing so just yet.

Ello said...

Ah Mary! You are a girl after my own heart!

Mary Witzl said...

Katie -- They get me back just about every other day of the year, believe me! Right now I am staring at a great teetering pile of their laundry on the sofa. I've been given numerous assurances it will be picked up and taken to their rooms, but noooo. I think they've gotten off easy with that one little joke! I wonder if I'll be able to get them on it next year? How sad it will be when they no longer fall for it. Ah well: I have a whole year to think up an alternative.

Angela -- Thank you. There's plenty more where that came from!

APW -- Okay!

Ello -- I knew YOU'd get this! I can picture you doing something very similar, what with your ume-boshi stick trick. Wish you'd tried that in this house: my kids would have had your reaction to them, but my husband and I would have had to fake our disgust.

Danette Haworth said...


A Paperback Writer said...

This is rather late, but I found this in the Salt Lake Tribune online today and thought it fit in:

Man warns City Council of possible zombie attack
Notebook nuggets from local government and campaigns
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:
It started as insightful and articulate, especially compared to most public-comment hokum.
Georgia transplant Wesley Wyndham-Price calmly stood before the City Council, cautioning members about downtown's derelict emergency-preparedness plan. City elders are "insouciantly" unaware of risks to City Creek Center, he warned.
Wyndham-Price even paused to joke that Georgia's saltwater taffy is better than Utah's. "I hope that is not an ad hominem," he shrugged.
Then he got specific and all reason helicoptered into the ether.
City Creek needs an emergency-preparedness plan, he demanded, against zombies.
"Zombies are fierce," he said as a crammed council chamber laughed nervously. "They are going to catch us in there."
Wyndham-Price admitted he never has seen a zombie attack but is sure one is coming. And shoppers could be sitting ducks in a sky bridge.
No word on whether monster man is related to campy horror-flick comedian Vincent Price. Actually, it appears the April 1 speech was a well-delivered April Fools' joke. After all, Wesley Wyndham-Price is a fictional character created for the TV series' "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel."
After the performance, the Avenues resident briefly plopped in the front row next to City Creek-LDS Church straight-man Dale Bills, then bolted.
Playing along, Councilman Luke Garrott declared that he would forward the zombie recommendation to the appropriate emergency committee posthaste.
But given the surge of Mormon minions anticipated at City Creek and the church's downtown BYU campus, Wyndham-Price clearly was off target.
He probably meant zoobies, not zombies.

ChristineEldin said...

Sorry I'm late for this one. I hope you're still reading.
But damn!!!!! That is soooooo goood!!!!
You are DA MASTA, I bow to your prowess!

Mary Witzl said...

Danette -- Thank you!

APW -- I come from a long line of very religious people, not all of whom were gifted with a sense of humor, so this is heartening. Nothing pleases me quite so much as finding people who can play the kind of believable pranks and practical jokes that make April Fool's Day the joy that it is.

Christine -- Aw, shucks -- the kids fall for the same old joke every single time, so it's hardly like I'm a master. Still, I get a kick out of it every year, and they oblige me by swallowing it hook, line and sinker.