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!
I’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!”
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!