It’s already March 19th and I don’t have any ideas for April Fool’s Day for my kids. I am desperate and need help. In previous years I have put gummy worms in their sandwiches, short-sheeted their beds, convinced them school was cancelled, given them mashed potatoes that looked like ice cream sundaes, and offered cookies with (fluoride-free, of course) toothpaste as the filling. Last year I tried to pretend I had broken my arm. While my adult friends believed me, my kids just rolled their eyes. So, as you can see, my ideas are not working anymore and I need something grand and convincing.
Humor has always been an important part of our family. When my children were younger, we used humor to convince them to do things they didn’t want to do. For instance, in order to get them to clean their rooms we would put shoes on our heads, walk to their rooms, and dump them in the closet. My older daughter’s favorite game was to dress up as Cinderella (in rags, of course) and have me shout orders at her — I was not allowed to say “please” because I was, obviously, the evil stepmother. It’s amazing how clean the playroom could become those days.
When my husband had a brain tumor, I used humor to temporarily destress an incredibly difficult time period. Those days it was not uncommon to see us eating jello through a straw, dessert before dinner, or ice cream without a spoon. One desperate day we all dressed up in our rain gear, with umbrellas, and took a shower together while singing, “I’m singing in the Rain.”
Last year my daughter had 2 friends spend the night before presenting a history project in a county contest. They had worked incredibly hard on this project while continuing their other demanding curriculum, and they were exhausted, nervous, and stressed. So I went to the store and bought shaving cream and whip cream. After dinner I sent them outside in old clothes and let them spray each other. They ran around for over an hour in the dark, laughing and playing. To this day they still talk about it.
Humor and laughter are an important part of our lives. They relieve tension, reduce stress, and provide us with a temporary distraction from unpleasant thoughts or lives. They allow people to forget about anxiety and pain, even if it’s momentary. Scientific studies that have even shown that humor improves overall health and, more specifically, the ability to fight off infections, decrease the risk of developing a heart attack, and improve blood sugar control . Psychologically, it has been related to decreased loneliness and depression, and improved self esteem and feelings of hopefulness . Laughter clubs and therapy have been developed and exist in and out of hospitals throughout the United States.
So, now you understand why it is so important for me to find some new, more exciting April Fool’s Day gimmicks for my family – ones that will really make them laugh! I am willing to share my “Vanilla” Sundae recipe with you, which has been used by many extended family members and friends.
April Fool’s Day Ice Cream Sundaes
1. Instant mashed potatoes
2. Chocolate sauce
3. Whip cream
4. Maraschino cherry
5. Vanilla ice cream
Make the mashed potatoes according to directions and let them cool. Use an ice cream scoop to put 2 scoops in a bowl. Top with chocolate sauce, whip cream and, of course, a cherry. Serve. Have real vanilla ice cream available to serve so the victim can actually enjoy dessert in the end.