April Fool’s gone awry


March SOLC–Day 31
A huge thank you to Stacey, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Tara, Deb, and Kathleen for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.  Also congratulations to everyone who participated in this month’s challenge and thank you for sharing your stories and commenting on mine. It’s been a wonderful month!

images-2.jpgI’ve never considered myself a sadist, but back when my kids were little, I used to read Family Fun magazine, or as I commonly referred to it “How-to-Make-Yourself-Feel-Inadequate-As-a-Parent Magazine.” Every so often I got really motivated (or delusional) and attempted one of their more benign projects. As a matter of fact, I think we still have a pink soda bottle piggy bank that my daughter and I made together. But one year, I decided to go all out. I was hooked by their idea–A fun April Fool’s joke that would also feed the kids. Who could ask for anything better? This idea didn’t call for mad crafting skills, obscure glues, protective gear, aligned planets, or a home equity loan for supplies. I could do this!

The basic premise: Announce to the kids you’re going to have a backward dinner as a sort of April Fool’s joke. You’ll start with dessert and then move to dinner. But here’s the trick. The “dessert” is cupcakes–actually meatloaf baked in foil cupcake liners with dyed mashed potato frosting. “Dinner” is grilled cheese–Sara Lee pound cake sliced and toasted then filled with orange frosting. Fun, right? That’s what I thought.

So, I plotted and planned, secretly cooked and frosted, and in general built up the anticipation with my three children. Finally, we all sat down for dinner and with great fanfare I brought in the plates with cupcakes.
“Tada!” I announced, “Tonight in honor of April Fool’s Day we’ll begin with dessert!” My kids were grinning, ear to ear.
“Yay!” they cheered.
My youngest daughter was the most excited of all of them. She danced in her seat impatiently. As soon as the plate touched the table, she eagerly scooped up her cupcake, peeled the liner back, and took a giant bite…And that’s when it all went south. Those masquerading mashed potatoes hit her sweet little lips and a puzzled look flashed across her face. Then as her taste buds revolted, her face fell and she looked at me–oh that look! It was a look of such horror and accusation. Her full bottom lip quivered and then she scowled ferociously. How could I have betrayed her so? Spitting out her mouthful of psuedo-cupcake, she threw the rest of it at her plate, pushed back her chair and stormed from the table, sobbing. We sat momentarily stunned. After a moment, the rest of the family resumed eating, laughing about the silly dinner, thinking it was good-natured fun.

I quickly followed my daughter, trying to make amends. “Sweetie, I’m sorry. It was just an April Fool’s joke,” I apologized.
“We’re having grilled cheese made of cake later!”
No response.
Then I pleaded, “Please come back and eat with us.”
She turned her head away.
Finally, I resorted to bribery. “You can have the cake first!”
But she was having none of it. She felt utterly betrayed. It never even crossed my mind that this was a mean-spirited joke. I thought it was fun and so did my other two children. But my youngest did NOT see it this way. She refused to eat dinner or to come out of her room that night.  For years and years she would leave the room if we talked about this dinner and/or her reaction. To this day, I’m not sure how much she remembers, but I’m almost afraid to ask. I have never played a prank on April Fool’s since then and I never will.  For the record, I still feel a bit guilty, but I blame it all on Family Fun magazine!


12 thoughts on “April Fool’s gone awry

  1. What a memory, Molly! Just like you, I would have thought this would be harmless fun. I can see my older son reacting the same way your daughter did. I’m sure she’s forgiven you by now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate Schwarz says:

    SO FUNNY! I mean, I’m sorry that your dinner ended in tears and true sadness, but…you pulled off a good one. Those “cupcakes” look so much like cupcakes! And the grilled cheese, too! I am impressed. And I’m sending a pizza for your daughter as a prize for being tricked so well… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HYSTERICAL. I laughed out loud! Delicious looking cupcakes and grilled cheese sandwiches, and a wonderfully fun family memory to boot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dianeandlynne says:

    Poor kid. I, too, would have thought it harmless fun. Those darn magazines can really do a number on moms though.
    You describe the situation so vividly. I feel that I’m right there at the table with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amy says:

    Well, I had a good chuckle this morning. Then I was wondering if your daughter reads your blog. If so, oh no! I felt like I was at the dinner table with you as the drama unfolded. I love your word choice describing those delicious cupcakes. As always, I love reading your slices!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cindaroo42 says:

    What a great description of this moment, “and she looked at me- oh what a look” I feel like I was right at that table with you. I am really curious how she feels about it now, and I’m sure she remembers

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kimberley says:

    I hate April Fool’s Day for that exact reason, but I still might’ve tried that trick. It seems funny, but reality is different, huh? Wonderful story. Thank you for being on this journey with me this month. I have looked forward to each of your thoughtful comments and so appreciated you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Linda Baie says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m sure you felt terrible, & it does sound like fun, but for a little one, not ready for abstract yet. I love the part where you say “How-to-Make-Yourself-Feel-Inadequate-As-a-Parent Magazine.” It’s like a Martha Stewart for Mommies. We all have stories of April Fool jokes gone awry, but I used to love playing a few jokes on my middle schoolers, the “right age”. Happy to have read your wonderful posts this month, Molly, much fun, wise words, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Melanie Roy says:

    We never know how a joke will translate. I’m sorry your youngest felt so betrayed by it. You worked so hard to make it fun and must have felt terrible when you saw her reaction. I have truly enjoyed reading your slices, Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. artemis0249 says:

    hahhaaha! I thought that prank was super funny. I am planning my gags for my students…..I think them being second language learners is going to help me a lot in this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. danrothermel says:

    Never been a fan of April Fools Day. It’s sarcasm and negative joking that usually only has one person laughing. As Ellen DeGeneres said in reacting to a negative joke, “If it were funny, we’d both be laughing.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Dan, I’ve never liked April Fool’s Day or pranks either but this just seemed like creative fun! (Can you tell I still feel bad!?!) The Ellen DeGeneres quote is great. Often what passes as humor strikes me as mean-spirited.


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