Annie woke up on April Fool’s Day complaining of a tummy ache. She’d been a little off the day before, but she wasn’t hot and had no other symptoms. Then she asked for breakfast and ate it, so we went on about our days. About an hour and a half after I dropped her off at school, I got a call from her teacher: Annie had thrown up in a trash can at school. “April Fools?” I asked hopefully. Nope.

I picked Annie up from the office at her school, where she was indignant about needing to leave. “I AM SUPPOSED TO BE LINE LEADER TODAY!” That’s the breaks, kid! She insisted she felt fine all the way home, and then played happily with her toys for a few hours. After she kept down liquid and started asking for food, I decided to go ahead with my plan to give her a fake grilled cheese. Playing with fire, I know.

I got it all ready and called her over to eat it. She was worried it would be hot so I held it and had her take a bite:


She said, “That’s not girl cheese!” And then, inexplicably, “It tastes like chocolate!” I guess sweet things = chocolate in her mind. She thought it was so funny, but she didn’t want to eat any more of it. “Where’s my real girl cheese, Mama?” she asked. Double April Fool’s, Annie: We were out of bread. My bad.

Annie was so into the fake grilled cheese that she asked if we could make one for Mike later. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that he was in on the joke, so I made Mike a fake sandwich and he played like he was fooled. Annie laughed so hard, it was so cute. “I fooled you, Daddy! I fooled you!”

After dinner, I told Annie and Mike that I’d made a cake for dessert. Mike immediately knew this was another prank, because there was no way I was ever going to bake on a random Tuesday when Annie was home sick. Annie, however, was all in. Cake! Except, you know, it was a giant bath sponge covered in chocolate frosting. At first, all she did was scrape the chocolate frosting off the top. I finally had to say, “ANNIE. Take a bite!”


She was totally bewildered as to why her fork bounced off the cake, and I couldn’t keep a straight face and started laughing. “It’s a sponge! I frosted a sponge!” She started giggling. “Mommy, is this another Fool’s April joke?” When I told her it was, she said, “Mommy, you are hilarious…wait, does this mean there isn’t any cake?”

The rest of the night, Annie “played jokes” on her dolls, and pranked James by saying, “James! There’s no more green. APRIL FOOL’S.” James gave me a look like, “I don’t get it.” I don’t either, buddy.

Annie asked me several times yesterday when she would get to play jokes on people. I told her not until the next April Fool’s Day. I might have created a little pranking monster…my grandmother, the prank queen, would be so proud.