Tuesday, April 02, 2019

April Fools' Day

Weeks ago Miriam was collecting trash from the various garbage cans around the house and when she went to get the trash from our room, Andrew remotely dimmed our bedroom lights. He can do that because we have fancy lights that connect to our phones because Andrew is a self-proclaimed "early adopter" and because being able to turn the lights off while lying in bed is The Dream. I'm 75% sure the lights are spying on us but at least we're early adopters.

Anyway, it scared her so much that a seed of an idea was planted in my mind: wouldn't it make an awfully good April Fool's prank to switch her bedroom lights for our own?

At first it seemed mean, but then...guys...she has been so excited about celebrating April Fool's day to the max that it began to seem, well, less mean. It began to seem fair. She was hatching elaborate pranks to play on everyone in the family days (probably weeks) in advance. She's been searching the internet for prank ideas and gathering supplies in her room.

The other day she came up to me with the little sewing kit she got for Christmas and asked me to help select the colour of thread she should use for a trip wire.

Out loud I said, "No pranks that could actually hurt someone, okay, sweetie?"

Inside I said, "Oh, girl. You're going down."

She spent the day gleefully pranking everyone.

She mismatched every pair of socks in Benjamin's drawer. She took a screen-capture of my home screen, set it as the background for my home screen, and then moved all of my apps off the home screen—I legitimately thought my phone was broken (nothing would open when I tapped it)! She left toy lizards and soggy wads of brown paper "poop" lying around. She opened every single cupboard and drawer in the kitchen just to bother Grandpa.

Rachel wasn't entirely innocent in these pranks, but she was more of an accomplice. Miriam was the mastermind. Like, she'd really studied these pranks out in her mind, guys.

So, Andrew and I decided we'd get her a good one and planned to have him come home while the kids and I were at the pool because the kids are on spring break and he's not and...whatever. At least it meant that he could be home to change some lightbulbs.

While we were making dinner I played a gentle trick on Benjamin—one that my dad played on me years ago. I wasn't brave enough to do it with the carving knife and fork like my dad was, so we only used butterknives (because...have you met my son?*). Andrew was pretty freaked out by the trick as well, but once he saw how it went he helped me do it to Miriam and Rachel at the same time (he did it to Rachel and I did it to Miriam).

*SIDE STORY: Did I ever blog about the time we convinced Benjamin he was invisible? Okay, that wasn't a story. That was a question. That's as bad as when you ask if there are any questions and someone raises their hand and says, "It's really more of a comment..." Only in reverse!

I will have to look and see if I ever did because I know I've been a spotty writer the past several months. 

Long story short, instead of getting scared like we thought he might do, he went overweeningly insane with power. He ran—stomped—all around the house making faces at people and touching everything and anything. He jumped on the couch. He stole $20. He avoided being brought back to this dimension. It was...intense. So, yeah. I only gave him a butterknife—and you can see that he reaches out to try to stab me with it several times despite the very exact instructions I gave him (before the video began) to only stab on the count of three.

You have your victim sit with their legs straddled and then spill some water in front of them, hand them some (in our case) butter knives and tell them that you are so lightning fast that you will be able to clean up the water in front of them before they can stab your hand. Then on the count of three you...grab their ankles and pull them over the puddle of water so that they soak it up with their rear end.

Then we did the dishes, had the kids collect the garbage (it's garbage day tomorrow), held Family Night, read stories, practiced the piano/organ, put the kids to bed, did a billion other things, and gave the older girls permission to watch a show before bed.

Miriam played a few more tricks before heading to her room (she planted another brown paper "poop" wad on Andrew's pillow, for example) and then started bragging about how no one was ever going to get her back because April Fools' Day was almost over and she was the queen of April Fools' Day and...

That's when we started playing with Miriam's lights.

At first she thought someone was physically fiddling with her switch, but one look told her otherwise. She leapt out of her chair and started screaming for us to stop.

She's a bright kid and figured we could dim her lights like we could our own. But then we pointed out that she doesn't have dimmable lights—duh. We continued to—rather literally—gaslight her (even Grandpa got in on it), acting scared and confused ourselves.

When we would have switched them out? How were we controlling it? If you think Dad's doing it with his phone then explain why it's happening while you're holding his phone (answer: it works on my phone as well, but she didn't know that)? See how it gets dimmer when you're right underneath it?

She was still skeptical, though starting to feel worried about things, when she called Rachel in to check out her lights. To further gaslight her, we left them alone.

"Look at what my lights are doing!" she said, yanking Rachel into her bedroom.

"Uhhh...nice..." Rachel said. "They...exist. That's...neat."

"No, watch!" Miriam said, standing under her light, spreading her arms, and beginning to twirl around slowly. "Sometimes the lights dim when I do this."

"Suuuuuure," Rachel said when nothing out of the ordinary happened.

"No, really!" Miriam said.

"Okay, so...I'm going back up to my room now," Rachel said.

And then we started messing with her lights again and she went yelling all around the house again for people to see (and somehow all three little kids slept through this (and by "somehow" I mean I—mom hack—totally wore them out at the pool)).

Andrew eventually said he'd just turn her lights off completely so that there was no electricity running through the wires and we'd look into things in the morning (oh—it also helped that he had some sour dough bread in the oven and had spilled a bit of flour, which was starting to smell a bi, well, "smokey and a little bit flamey."

That placated her.

But instead of using the switch to turn off her lights, he just hit her light switch plate and I turned off her lights remotely. That way they were off, she thought they were off-off, but we could still control them.

So we waited until she had finished her show and had brushed her teeth and popped into bed and then started messing with her lights again.

There. Were. Tears.

We confessed to our whole scheme, let her use our phones to play with her lights, and Rachel is having a sleepover in her room (Miriam had been so freaked out she was going to go sleep in the basement by herself, which is saying something). Her tears turned to laughter and her fears to thoughts of revenge.

So I think she's going to be alright (though I am a little worried about next April Fools' Day (hopefully it will be a school day, which will at least make it so I don't have to worry about her pranking me the livelong day))!


  1. I love Miriam, but I am glad she is not my sister. Wait--I had Arlene--pretty similar...

    1. Or Benjamin for a brother! I forgot all about how he misunderstood "pranks" and kept punching people in the stomach all day and saying, "April Fools!" I told him so many times, "THAT IS NOT A JOKE!!!"

  2. Jason did the water trick to aylin and she chase him until she stabbed him three timed 😂

    1. 😂 I hope she was only armed with a butter knife!! 🔪