Have you ever had someone play a prank on you?
Up to this point, my sons have cared very little about April Fools Day. April 1st has come and gone for 11 years without ever a mention. But this year, it was different. My oldest decided that he wanted to play a prank on his brother and convince him that Saturday wasn’t Saturday but a school day and asked my husband and I if we would play along. He gave us instructions: “Don’t mention it’s Friday when it’s Friday.” “Dad, since you get up early on the weekends, wake us up at the normal time and have us get ready.” I’m not sure how far he thought his brother would believe it was really a school day, but he was committed to trying. His plan started to come apart when his brother on Friday, March 31st started singing on the way to school “It’s Friday. It’s Friday. It’s Friday.” My husband and I just looked at each other. None of us had said anything about what day it was, but of course he knew it was Friday. This was going to be harder to pull off than my oldest expected.
I have to admit I’m not a big fan of being pranked or tricked, or being made to look like an April Fool, but I can remember that I was curious as a kid — was April Fools fun for everyone and I was missing out on it? Should I try to play a trick on someone? Remembering that I am a terrible liar helped me make my decision. No pranks for me, thank you very much.
I can appreciate my son’s curiosity. So much of life is about trying new things, testing boundaries, finding out what is enjoyable and what isn’t. I don’t know what would have happened if his brother had taken the bait and believed it really was a Friday. I’m guessing he would have thought it was funny for a while, and then probably regretted it once his brother let him know he didn’t enjoy the trick. Thankfully the prank didn’t go very far and my husband built in a trip to the doughnut store for my son being a good sport about the whole thing. Allowing your child to explore new things — particularly ones you aren’t crazy about — isn’t easy. No foolin’.
How do you help your child navigate the unfamiliar? How do you help them try new things and test boundaries?