Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Fools, and memories from deployment

Romyn's April Fool's Face

            This week was April Fool’s Day, and Romyn has been looking forward to it for ages now. He’s loudly been planning bad pranks to play on the family, and we’ve had a lot of talks about the differences between fun pranks and those that are destructive or mean. Now, Romyn has a really amazing memory…. if not slightly selective. He may have trouble “remembering” not to talk with food in his mouth, but he can recount details of days from years ago. As April 1st approached he’d been recalling past pranks, like the time Daddy stuffed his shoes full of paper, and sneaking fake spiders into my bed.  I realized that between all his memories, he was leaving out last April Fool’s.
“Romyn….what about last year? Do you remember the April Fool’s prank I played on you while Daddy was away?”
Now that it’s April, Eric has officially been home from his last deployment a year, the whole year before that he served in Afghanistan. As a family we just refer to this period as “the time Daddy was away.”
“Uhhh, no. I don’t know, wasn’t that when Daddy put paper in my shoes?”
“No, if Daddy was still away he could not have put paper in your shoes.”
“OH! It was when Daddy jumped out of the box.” (This was how he surprised the boys when he returned from deployment.)
“No, that was….Oh, that was the end of March last year. I guess Daddy was here for April Fools, but he probably had to spend the day in processing. (I realize he has been home a year now, and soooo much on his honey-do-list is still unfinished, I mentally remind myself to nag.) Ok, so Daddy got home, he jumped out of the box and surprised you, and then it was April Fools, and I played a big prank on you while Daddy was at work. Do you remember?”
“You guys had dirt cake for breakfast!”
“Oh… yes, now I sort of remember.”
Hrm. I actually thought the dirt for breakfast prank would have been more traumatizing for the boys. At the time, you would have thought neither of them could have survived such a thing. It still breaks my heart to remember Baelin so pitifully telling me “But Momma! This isn’t food!” Today, they barely even recall it! Of course, realizing that Eric had indeed been home-ish for that April Fool’s meant that the shoe and paper prank he had played on Romyn had been a year earlier. I can’t remember what pranks were played the year Eric was away! I am positive I pranked, I always do…and I find it really interesting my little memory wiz doesn’t either. (Oh gosh…maybe I didn’t!)  A year post deployment and it is strange to see how different Romyn’s memories are of “the time Daddy was away” and the years on either side of it. It is true that year was rough, all deployments are, but I still have a lot of happy memories of my boys from that time. They were still little, it was the end of Baelin’s babyhood, and the last year before Romyn started school, so I tried very hard to embrace that time, and stay busy. Today I was a little shocked to find, while flipping back through my journal, that I wrote very little during the deployment, next to nothing in fact! I could also find no record of the missing April Fool’s Day. Maybe subconsciously the boys and I would rather just forget the whole year without Daddy ever happened. Maybe it was a much harder time than I chose to remember.
I asked Eric if he recalled me telling him over the phone what I might have done that April 1st he was deployed. He couldn’t, but he did remember the boys telling him about the dirt cake for breakfast after that first day of in processing. I mentioned all Romyn remembered was him popping out of the box, and maybe that exciting incident had outshined any other which happened following it. I then remembered how the boys woke up so excited the morning following Eric’s return and how disappointed they were to find he was at work. They waited the whole day by the window. Yah… I guess dirt cake could not compare to Daddy’s homecoming.
And now…. Happier Memories from this Year’s April Pranking-
As I mentioned, Romyn had been planning his pranks for over a week, and most everything that he suggested was destructive or mean. (I’m going to knock everything over on its side! I’m going to pinch my brother’s butt! I’m going to pull your mouse out of your computer so it doesn’t work! I am going to pretend I’ve gone deaf so I can’t hear anything you say!) I eventually put my foot down and told him all pranks had to be done in cahoots with a grownup, and by grownup I meant Daddy, because I was already tired of prank planning.
The morning of the first as I get out of  bed I hear the pitter patter of little feet in the hallway and  realize I was not awaken early on my sleep-in-day but any squealing boys, so I wonder if all the balloons I taped over the boy’s bedroom doors had been a flop. A swooshing sound notifies me that the child sneaking in the hallway has slipped something under my door, I groggily scoop it up to see it is a brightly colored rainbow… sad face. Romyn can be a bit dramatic, so perhaps he did not enjoy the balloons blocking his door after all. Opening the door I find he’s still crouched there in the hall ready to jump up and shriek “APRIL FOOOOOOOOOLS!” (I need some coffee.)
“Good morning Romyn.”
“Good April Fools.”
“Did I miss the prank?”
“You have it in your hand…. see, you think I am sad. But I am not, I am happy because it is April Fools, APRRRRRRIIIIILLLL FOOOOOOOOOOLS!”
“I get it now.”
“Come downstairs! Now! Daddy and I made you breakfast!”
Walking down the stairs I realize the first prank of April, and obviously the first Romyn has devised on his own, felt a little like hate mail.  Rainbow hate mail. Well, at least he didn’t smash my computer. (I think.) Romyn drags me into the kitchen, where I see two very, very, soggy bowls of cereal. Really soggy, like, I might gag, soggy.
“Daddy and I made you breakfast, and you get to pick which cereal you want, alphabets or rice crispies!”
“Is that what that is? They both look the same.”
I glance at Eric, and shake my head to say I might not even be able to pretend this, but get no help, so I just pick crispies.
“I’ll take it to the table for you mom. GO!”
I join Baelin at the table, thinking I should’ve turned on my coffee pot, and getting my game face ready. Should I be horrified? Shocked? Or just play dumb?  
“Hi B. Romyn made me some cereal too…… ooooohhhh nooooo, what’s happened to my cereal!?” (I went with dumb, because I was too tired to win any Oscars.)
(Cue manical laughter from Romyn, and a look of pity from Baelin. Turns out he doesn’t take kindly to people messing with his breakfast. I can sympathize with that.)
“It’s FROZEN! Daddy tricked Baelin and me and I saved it for you!”
(Yum, reused pranks.)
“Well I guess since I can’t eat cereal I’ll just get us all some juice… does that sound good Baelin?”
“Yah!” (Cue Mommy’s prank, the classic Jell-O “Juice” Glass.  Much fun and laughs are had by all. Baelin doesn’t care for people messing with his juice either, and spent the longest trying to get the Jell-O up his straw, but forgives me when he realized he gets Jell-O. Honestly, Baelin is sort of confused by the whole Fool’s Day business.)
Romyn also had a great time watching me peal tape off the bottom of my computer mouse, and again getting to shriek “APRIL FOOLS!” at me. (And again, and again, and for anything the whole dang day…APRIL FOOLS!) We also brought extra “juice cups” to Grammie and Gramp’s house. Baelin thought the joke was much funnier the second time around.  In the end the best prank award had to go to Grandpa, who pulled the old “rattle snake egg” trick on the boys.  He told the boy’s he had gotten them some Star Wars trading cards, and threw them into envelopes for safe keeping. Romyn was very surprised by the homemade buzzer hidden inside instead. Baelin, again, was just confused.  (Find out how to make your own here!)
This year April 1st was a great day and I really hope the boys remember these times growing up. As a bonus they also got to watch The Empire Strikes Back for the first time ever and after played at the Bounce House. I do worry about their selective memories, but if looking back on this last deployment has taught me anything it is that my boys seem to remember more of the good than the bad. Which is excellent, because maybe then they can both forget about Romyn’s infamous second solo prank. Just because you yell “April Fool’s” after you spank your brother inside a giant Superman inflatable it does not excuse you from a timeout. Poor Baelin, next year he gets extra Jell-O.
Till next time- Kendra

No comments:

Post a Comment