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I am proud to report the evil prank my mother played on me when I was five (oh yes, wait ‘til you hear about it; it was purely evil!)  has now moved on to a new generation of tricksters.

The initial crime, er prank, was committed one morning when innocent little Gina London work up one morning and prepared to get dressed to go to what she thought was a regular day of kindergarten.  My loving mother, however, had removed every pair of shoes from my closet.

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I had no idea, of course, that it was April First and that the day had any extra significance for making Fools.

I remember my mother siting me on a stool in the kitchen and very seriously explaining to me that Daddy had accidentally thrown away all my shoes.  “We can buy some new shoes after school, but for now Mommy will just wrap up your feet in newspapers and you can go to school like that.”

I cried.

My mom, then as I recall, loudly cackled out, “APRILFOOLS!” I seem to also recall her face being green and a witch’s pointy hat was perched on her head. Seriously, I still shake my head whenever I think that my mom actually pulled this off on me.  I mean, I was five, for Lawd’s sake.  In spite of this, I swear to you, my mother and I have a very close relationship.  And I never did find out if Dad was in on it or not.

Okay. So fast forward to yesterday afternoon.  Lulu and I are sitting on a bench in the Tuscan sunshine at Parco Prato and she tells me her teacher has told all the kids that tomorrow is April Fool’s day. Actually, she says “pesce d’aprile” because that’s what they call it here in Italy.  Happy April Fish Day.  But it’s still about playing tricks.

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Of course, I have told Lulu the twisted tale of her grandmother and my first April Fool’s Day many times. Lulu is convinced it will work on her daddy.

“I know, I know – we can take all of his shoes and tell him he has to go around with paper wrapped around his feet!!” Lulu excitedly exclaims.

I think this is an awesome idea – and with a much better intended victim than that an unsuspecting five-year-old thank you very much.

So- in effort to make sure that Scotty plays along properly – last night I fill him in on the scheme after  Lulu is asleep.

I hide all of Scotty’s shoes in the laundry box in our bathroom under some clothes and in put one pair inside Lulu’s school backpack precisely has she outlined yesterday.

This morning, our plan goes off like clockwork. Literally.

RING RING  RRRING!

Lulu’s Peppa Pig clock always goes off at 6:30AM.  It rings at its usual time and Lulu immediately yells, “MAMA!”

I holler back, “Yes, Dear?” (Truthfully, I never do this. Normally, I just moan and drag my sleepy botto out of bed.  But this is part of the plan.)

My calling out to her allows Lulu to holler her special Kick-off-April-Fool’s-Day-Trick-2014-line to me which is:  “Mama, the little hand is on the NINE!”

This, as you may have already guessed, is designed to prompt me to say, “Whoa!!  IT’S NINE O’CLOCK?! YOU’RE LATE FOR SCHOOL!!!”

Next, I add (out loud for everyone’s benefit) “Scotty, I’m sorry, but because you can get ready faster than me, can you get up and take Lulu to school this morning??”

Scotty, right on cue – hops out of bed and zips down the stairs.  He throws his coat over his pajamas and looks around – pauses dramatically just long enough and then:  “HEY, WHERE ARE ALL MY SHOES?!!”

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Lulu immediately triumphantly looks at me with a “Yey! We got him!” face.  Then she grabs a stack of Post-it Notes and suggests to Daddy to “Wrap your feet in these papers.”

Those little slips of paper weren’t part of the plan, and actually, we hadn’t properly prepared a stack of newspapers in advance. But Scotty was absorbed in his role and improvised beautifully.  Yanking open a kitchen drawer he pulled out the roll of aluminum foil and tore off two large squares.

“I’ll just wrap my feet up in these – and Lulu, you can just go to school in your jammies this morning, no problem!”

Lulu happily and proudly knows how to put a stop to all this and belts out, “April Fool’s!”

Whew!  Lulu doesn’t have to wear jammies to school. Shoes are recovered from their hiding places and Scotty goes back to bed.  And I take Lulu to school like always.

Hmmm. Success. But as I think about it, I think I’m still the fool.

Happy April Fool’s Day Everyone!!

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In Italy, or wherever you are, I hope you have a fun-filled day!

Baci, Gina

Copyright Gina London 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

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