Some dad bloggers I know coordinated efforts to trick their children on April Fool’s Day by tee-peeing their kids’ rooms, other parents are adding food coloring to milk, or putting salt on their kids’ toothbrushes. Writers devise clever satirical blog posts to trick their audience. Me? I turned my 4 year-old daughter’s desk upside down a few minutes before I went to pick her up from school. Then she made me put it back.
She understands the concept of April Fool’s fine. A year ago, we were going up to bed, and she insisted on playing a trick on me by telling me exactly what the trick was:
“I’ll tell you I already brushed.”
“But you haven’t already brushed. I can see you. Also, that’s why we’re both in the bathroom together – for the purpose of me making sure that you’ve brushed.”
“No, no. I know that,” she says with much exasperation. I’m clearly not getting it. “I’m playing a trick. Then I’ll walk to the bed. Then you say, ‘Aren’t you forgetting something?’ ” And her face inflates with imminent laughter before the routine even begins.
So, we did that exact same choreographed routine twelve times and she burst out laughing every single time. A year later, my upside down desk is not cutting the mustard. Next year, her bed is ending up in the Hudson, teepeed, with a glass of blue milk on the side table.
She decides she can do better than that. She goes to the fridge, grabs three strawberries for her two cousins, who are visiting us – they’re staying at a hotel a short walk from our apartment. “I’ll tell them these are apples,” she says. And with that, she is about to jam them into her coat pocket, before I frantically fling a small ziplock bag in her face.
We get to their hotel room and Kavya immediately takes out the ziplock bag with the three strawberries, showing them to my brother-in-law when he answers the door, but making it clear these aren’t for him. Then she hands them to her cousins, Gubaloo and Bubaloo (those aren’t their real names). “I brought you apples.” She waits for a moment. Bubaloo, the boy, doesn’t care and has already started devouring the strawberry. Gubaloo, the girl, is five. Confused, she says, “These aren’t apples. These are strawberries.” Kavya looks at me, turns to her cousin, says, “April Fool!” They both laugh, while Bubaloo tosses the rest of the strawberry on the floor. Then they make hilarious April Fools jokes like, “Hey, where did my shoes go?” or “do you like my orange shoes?” Yet my awesome upside down desk idea is the one that’s lame. FOOLS!
We meet them for dinner at the Newport mall. Shaiyar Singh has his first mall outing, and then promptly falls asleep. The mall has a pretty generic food court, except for two totally kickass and cheap places: Thali and Taste of India. We enticed my brother-in-law with the words, “Cheap Dosa as big as your head.” I opted for the Bhatura bigger than my head.
We went back to their hotel, which is a short walk to the mall. I picked up one of those divided necklace thingies from a local shop, where each gets one half. Turns out it’s a keychain. They didn’t have ones that said, “best friends,” or “sisters,” so I got one that said, “I Love You,” which I thought was a good idea. Apparently, I didn’t look it at closely because one half had a girl and the other half had a boy without any hair. The concept of love was lost as they both folded their arms and had a strop until I told them I’d get them another set and then wrestled the daylights out of them.
We were getting ready to leave, when Kavya says to my sister that she wants to have a sleepover. It’s definitely unscheduled; there’s no overnight bag or even an extra toothbrush.
“But you’ll miss your Mama and your Papa,” my sister says.
“No I won’t,” Kavya says.
We all exchange glances. Me and Sona shrug our shoulders and it’s decided. My brother-in-law, unfortunately, was on a sofa-bed, so wasn’t part of the glance exchange and by the time he added his two cents about the possible negative of her getting homesick at 3 in the morning, things had been decided. Through glances and shoulder shrugs. That’s how us Dhillons make major life decisions. By the time my sister and my brother-in-law attempt to get out of the sleepover and try to make us take our child back to our home, it was too late. Shoulders had been shrugged.
Since Kavya doesn’t have a toothbrush, she has to brush old school – using her finger. It’s totally useless, but at least it makes it seem like we know what we’re doing. While we’re waiting for Gubaloo, Kavya tells me earnestly that she’s allowed to stay for the sleepover because “I’m going to do everything bhuee (my sister) says and am going to go straight to sleep, without any talking.” A second later when my sister puts Crest toothpaste on Kavya’s finger, she says, “I don’t like this toothpaste.” Because she can’t eat it. We’re off to a marvelous start.
Sona is bundled up with Shaiyar in the sling. I am holding one small bag and feel uncomfortably light. It’s strange not holding Kavya’s hand as we leave to walk back to our place. We tell my sister to call or text if they need us to pick her up, but we know she’s an independent girl. We exit the hotel room and stand outside for a minute, listening to hear what’s happening behind the closed doors. She’s yapping, the girls are making jokes, my sister tells them a story that gets derailed every two seconds. The usual. Then we walk back home. A fine April Fool’s Day this turned out to be.