Dealing with Death

I recently contributed to the Modern Dads Podcast in an episode about loss and death.

The episode, entitled On Loss, has 5 dads (myself included) talking about the loss of a parent and how they explained it to their children.

It’s a very moving episode about a hard topic, so be prepared with a couple of tissues when you listen to it. (My part comes about 6 minutes in, but listen to the whole thing.  It’s only 18 minutes long, and it’s wonderful.)  Other contributors include Lance Somerfeld (founder of CityDads) Whit Honea, Jason Greene, and Josh Kross, who originated the idea.

I’ve included the text of what I contributed below the podcast embed if you are interested in reading it.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Dealing with Death by Adam Gertsacov

Me and my dad

My parents never knew my son.  My dad died when I was 22 in a car accident, and my mom died  22 years later, about 10 days after we found out we were pregnant (But before we told anyone) 

My son does have both (or rather all three) of his grandparents on my wife’s side, and up until he was about 4, his great grandparents on my wife’s side were also intact.  So he knows about grandparents,

My mom Karel Gertsacov

I wanted him to know about my parents, so from the time he was small, I’ve been telling him stories about my dad and about my mom.  When we’ve visited Rhode Island, we’ve gone to their gravesites and laid stones on their graves (as is the Jewish custom).

 When he was four and a half, his great grandfather (Great Hank) passed away at the age of 98.  My son knew him, in the way that you know all your elderly relatives when you are a kid.  You say hello, you were polite, you hoped for a dollar.  

 We traveled from NY to the funeral, and although we weren’t sure, we decided to bring him to the funeral (and to the interment) with us.

My wife and I talked about it, and we decided we wouldn’t sugar coat death or make up weird stories about how Great Hank was on an extended vacation. We decided to talk to him about it, maybe not with all the gory details, but to answer any questions that he had, to let him participate in the process. We felt that not talking about it, or talking down to him about it, would do everybody involved, including him and the deceased person, a dis-service.

At the cemetery my son was sad but very matter of fact about it, and it didn’t seem to phase him too much.  Great Hank was here, and now he’s not.  He’s in the box in the ground.  Dad, you are sad.  Mom is crying. Can I give you a hug? Can I go  play now?

Great Hank

I thought that maybe he didn’t understand the permanence of death, but about 6 months later, we were in the car driving home from kindergarten, and he started asking me questions about my mom’s funeral, and if she was in a box too, like Great Hank.  And if one day I would be in a box, if he would be in a box.

I answered him straightforwardly, forthrightly, yes, everybody dies, I’m going to die, you are going to die, mom is going to die,  but it’s a long way away, and you can’t worry about it now.

He thought about it for a minute and then said, “Dad, when you are in a box I will come and visit you.” 

I nearly swerved off the road.

Joey The Cat

About 6 months after that our cat Joey died.  He didn’t go into a box, but he got made into ashes that we spread across the farm he was born on in Indiana.

There were tears and there was sadness but my son, now age five and a half, knew the score.

And still now, two years later, we talk about my mom, and about Great Hank, and about Joey the cat with the fondest of memories.

#ThanksBaby- Or how my son made me a dad.

15 years ago, I wasn’t dad material.

Oh sure, I was capable of being a father (and had some close calls regarding same) .

I knew lots of great dad jokes (still my reigning champion– “What’s brown and sticky?  A Stick.”)

I was great with kids (Hey, I am a professional clown)

But despite all that, somehow, someway I didn’t feature being a dad.  I didn’t think it would happen for me, and I wasn’t particularly sad about it. And if you talked to my friends and family, they probably would have had a hard time believing that I would be a dad too.

The chairman of the board likes to wear his food.

Part of it was that I hadn’t met the right woman, part of it was that I was focused on the hardscrabble life of being a self-supporting artist.  I was travelling all the time, and honestly, I didn’t see how I could afford to have a kid either timewise of financially.  I was really into living in the now, in the moment, and there never seemed to be a now when saddling myself with extra responsibilities seemed to be something that didn’t seem wise.

About 12 years ago, I met my wife, and we immediately were hooked to one another.  We ended up moving in together after about a year and a half of long distance dating.  We bought a house together. She was on the fence about kids, and I was perfectly okay with that.

About a year or so after we moved in together, her biological clock started ticking.  At first, I was a little resistant, but I loved my wife, and thought, “Well, let’s try and see. If it’s meant to be, it will be.”  (and other rhyming thoughts)

Also, the thought of breaking up with her over the kids issue was pretty scary to me.

Our family at the Mouse House.

She got pregnant almost right away (my boys can swim!) , and I was in the nervous/excited/elated/freaked out stage.

Sadly, that turned out to be a miscarriage, which brought a whole different level of freaked out/nervous feelings.  (And to be completely honest, a little relieved as well)

We started trying again, and about 3 months later– another pregnancy.  Back on the nervous/excited/bandwagon.

About 10 days after we discovered we were pregnant, my mom passed away, which changed my whole perspective on time, kids, and family.  I felt like it couldn’t come soon enough.

That nine months of waiting for the baby to come was excruciating.  For the first few months I was in denial,  (we also planned our wedding and honeymoon,  got featured in the NY Times for the same, and oversaw several home projects at the same time, including moving my office.  You know, the little stuff)

Once I got out of denial I was in the full panic mode.

 I felt woefully unprepared.  I started reading all kinds of books, which is the way I prepare for things, and then I felt even MORE unprepared. Go figure.

I had a lot of fears that I wouldn’t love the baby, that I would resent him for ending my career as a touring clown,  I was afraid I would be grossed out by having to change him all the time.  (As it turns out, it wasn’t so bad.  Because, you know, shit happens.  And also, thanks to products produced by the sponsor of this post Pampers, it wasn’t as terrible or as smelly as my fears made it out to be. Thank you Pampers! Your products work!)

Here’s our world famous song, my contribution to the world of songs about children going to the bathroom!


As soon as my son was born, I’m happy to say that all my fears WERE UNREALIZED.   I loved the little guy to pieces, and have loved watching him grow, and progress, and learn, and become a person. Yes,  I do sometimes miss my former life as a responsible to no one performing artist,  but I wouldn’t trade positions.  I love my life as a dad, in a way that I didn’t know that I would.

My son and I making faces.  I am teaching him how,
and he’s teaching me!

In fact, if you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be happier having a baby, having more responsibility, having less “freedom”, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.  Counter-intuitively, I added responsibility and I have never been happier.

I don’t think that it was as simple as him being born that changed me into being Dad material.  It was the process.   It was changing all those stinky diapers and staying up with him when he was sick and watching him sleep and bringing him to his first playdate and holding him when he has a temperature.  It was that process– that slow laborious process– that has turned me into a dad.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


DISCLOSURE: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion. All the thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories remain truly mine.

When a baby is born, a dad is born. This Father’s Day, Pampers is encouraging dads to give thanks to their kids for making them feel special, and to recognize how babies (and children) help the dad to grow along the journey of fatherhood.

 Please join them by tweeting or instagramming how your baby changed your life with the hashtag #ThanksBaby.

Pampers has also released a new #ThanksBaby video that captures the  relationship between dad and child that starts at birth and when the journey of fatherhood begins.

The More things Change, the More they Remain the Same.

In 2010, my son was a little under 2.  I found this on my Timehop from 6 years ago today.


He’s rocked to sleep.  

I put dishes away on tiptoes.  

Let sleeping bears lie.

I do much the same thing now, but it’s usually after 8 pm that I am putting the dishes away on tiptoes.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

(That’s French for “The more things change, the more it’s the same thing.”)

or the slightly more prosaic:

Same Shit.  Different Day.

The point being that there are always dishes to be put away, fish to feed, laundry to be folded, milk to buy, teeth to brush, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

I could win the lottery tonight (yes, I bought a ticket, even though it’s basically throwing a dollar into a deep hole from which I will never find it)  But even if lighting struck me 3 times, I’d still have a bunch of stuff to do that I’d be avoiding doing.

Occasionally all of the chores of living are overwhelming, but I need to take a deep breath and realize there is nothing I can do about it, and accept it.  Get a little Zen about it.

And let the sleeping bear lie.

The Family Business

Publicity shot from the flea circus.

I’m performing my show The Acme Flea Circus 5 times this summer as part of the Chicago Park District Night Out In The Parks Program. (see here for all the details. )
The shows are all free, so it would be great if you came out! I’ve got 4 more!

My first show was today. (Not open to the public– it was part of a camp program.)

POP QUIZ

 My son came along because of the following:

A) my wife was working, and had an appointment, so I couldn’t leave him with her.
B) we’re trying to save money, so he’s not going to camp every day.
C) I wanted him to see what I do.
D) ALL OF THE ABOVE

If you guessed D) ALL OF THE ABOVE you would be correct.

On the drive to the show, I realized that this is the first time that he was going to be helping me do a show. Yes, he’s seen my show multiple times but he hasn’t been in the business (backstage, setting up, striking, etc.)

Shows in the Chicago parks this summer.

He’s never really expressed an interest in performing, other than glibly. He loves acrobatics, and he loves to do tricks, just not in front of people. If we were waiting in line, and I said, “Let’s do a trick for these people in line.” he would demur.

 I’ve never wanted to push him into performing if that’s not what he wants to do.  I have a friend who is also a performer, has a son born around the same time as AA, and that kid was born wanting to perform. (he has been on a soap opera, in an opera at BAM, just booked a national commercial, and is currently in an HBO series with James Franco!)

I think he’d be good, as he loves to pretend, he’s very cute and photogenic, and he can be quite funny.  But he has to want it.

Anyway, he agreed to help out today.  His big job was to be the house manager.  He had to go open the door to the room, kick down the doorstop and say “Ladies and Gentleman, the house is now open.”  He confided to me that he was a little nervous about it. We went over the ground rules (watch the show quietly, he has to do what is expected of him, he can’t ruin the show for other kids by saying what comes next, etc.)

Trying on the hat for size.  It could work!

He did well, opening the door perfectly, sitting quietly.  I explained to him that one of the hardest things a performer has to do is wait.  We arrived at 8:45am for an 11 am show.  (an hour to set up typically, and an hour to troubleshoot anything that might go wrong.) He was a little restless but mostly held it together.  He also asked me a bunch of questions about training the fleas. I told him that I don’t tell anybody how I train them, but if he ended up wanting to perform the show after I retired, I would teach him.  He seemed pretty excited about that.

 Before I had my son, I was performing on a pretty regular basis, making an okay and occasionally decent living from it.  I was touring a lot, going to festivals a lot, driving a lot. But that all changed after the baby was born. It made sense for me to be the stay at home parent, and my wife to become the bread winner. I still perform occasionally, but not as often. And that is an itch I would like to scratch.

I have a weird fantasy of us putting together a show and going on tour together. Maybe do the Summer Fringe Festival Circuit? We’d make a good team I think; I’m so big, he’s so little, he can be very bossy.   (I am not sure what my wife would do in this summer touring fantasy.  Run the box office?)

Anyway, that probably won’t happen, but today was a nice start. And who knows? If I can teach him to run the sound system and do all the sound cues it could still work out!

The Year in Review: Downs and Ups

So I thought I’d take a little minute of self-reflection of the blog and of the year.

This has been a good year, but a hard year.  There have been more downs than ups.

I do a lot of things in the year.  I am the main caregiver to my son, I write this blog and two others, I do the finances for my wife’s business and our home, and I am still trying to work as a performer when I can.  I didn’t attain all of my goals this year, but I did get some of them.

DOWNS

HERR DRUMPF

While I’ve mostly kept politics off of my blog, I’ve made no secret on social media of my disdain for Herr Drumpf, and my sorrow/depression/anger over his election.  I won’t get into it here, but suffice to say that he is unqualified, unprepared, and unctuous, and my personal feeling about the direction of our country under his “leadership” is dark.  Perhaps this is how the other side felt about Obama’s election 8 years ago, but of course my angst is worth more!  At least then we had a guy with some experience and some political savvy and not a guy who is clearly dishonest and intent on raiding the US for his own personal gain.  Not to mention the uncomfortably close comparisons that one can make to Hitler.  This has colored ALL  of the last 6 months or so for me and my family, and I really have felt depressed.  But I digress.


DEATH IN THE AIR

In addition to the celebrity deaths of some of my artistic heroes (David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, to name a few) I had some personal friends and relatives die.  My Aunt Irma, who lived a long good life, and my friends Pat Cashin and David Greene, who basically died suddenly and quickly and far far too soon.  In particular, Pat, who was a blogger, a father, and a clown.  There but for the grace of God go I.

This has made me feel my mortality in ways that I have been working up to.  I’m 52.  My son is 8.  I’ve got another 25 years if I’m statistically average, but I’m overweight, I have high blood pressure and both of my parents died  young.  (Although I did have one grandmother who lived until 103, and a grandfather who lived to 88.  And my mother died of cancer from Hepatitis that she had gotten 25 years ago from a blood transfusion. And my father was killed in a car crash.  So there is hope for a long life.

HEALTH

I’ve had some health issues, including gum surgery, skin cancer on my nose that required surgery, my first ever colonoscopy the day before the election, and other assorted issues.  Just adds to my feelings of mortality.

UPS

HEALTH

Despite my weight and the aforementioned issues, I’m still alive!  I’ve maintained/lost a little weight, and I’ve accomplished several challenges on a fitness level, including using my recumbent bicycle everyday for a month, biking over 300 miles on the recumbent bike in an 8 week period, and doing a pushup challenge and getting up to 50 pushups a day.  (Of course, I then injured myself, and have lost most of that strength)  Still I feel good about it, and hope to continue that into the New Year.

PERFORMANCES

I did a few very well-received performances of my flea circus, and took a clown workshop that made me remember how much I like attending workshops. Hope to do more performing during the upcoming year.  I have an idea for a new show, and I’d like to get that out the door, if I can.

BLOGGING
I’ve written over 70 posts this year on my blog, and looking back, most of them have been reviews of theatre and music. (And I didn’t even write about every play or show I saw!) I’ve really upped my game on critical writing, and would like to continue to do that while writing more posts about parenting.  Most of my draft posts this year were about parenting issues and conundrums, and I never finished those posts.  My work this year is to finish these posts and continue my work as a critic and reviewer.

My social media has also expanded– I’ve gained something like 500 twitter followers in the last year.  I hope to keep expanding that as well.

Wishing all of my readers a Happy and Healthy New Year!

The Amazing Garden started by Brenae Brown at Dad 2.0

I usually write a roundup post at the end of Dad 2.0, but I had an insight today that couldn’t wait.

Four years ago, Brenae Brown came to Dad 2.0 and talked about vulnerability and shame.  (For those that weren’t there, or haven’t encountered Brenae Brown, I encourage you to watch this video.  I’ll wait.

This isn’t exactly everything she said, but she said substantially the same thing.

At the time, Dad 2.0 was very focused on brand relationships, and lots of the workshops were about working with brands.  Not a bad thing, and I appreciated that and the knowledge that I garnished. 

But this year, there’s a whole different level.

Yesterday and today, there have been a number of speakers that spoke about depression and hard times in one form or another.

  • Mike Cruse @papapreaches talked about how he felt broken, and his depression and how his drugs weren’t walking and how it affected his family, 
  • Tony Buchsbaum  @tbuchsbaum spoke about realizing he was gay and how that journey to find himself affected his family.
  • Doyin Richards @daddydoinwork spoke about his depression and about how people put him in a weird box of being a black dad.
  • Matt Parker @theexodusroad spoke about his work defeating child slavery in Thailand and Southeast Asia
  • Glen/Beleaf @beleafme talked about his suicide and hard life, including his mom telling him she should have aborted him.
  • Buzz Bishop @DadCAMP talked about a friend of his whose baby was born needing a blood transfusion and nearly died.
  • Tobin Walsh @thegoodbaddad talked about how he feels he’s failing to raise his adopted son as a good black man 

And there were other phenomenal speakers as well.  But after all this talk of depression and hard times, I made kind of a joke that apparently I needed to be more depressed to be a better dad blogger. 

 But as I thought more about it, I remembered that incredibly moving talk that Brenae Brown gave and realized that the seeds of vulnerability that Brenae Brown planted are blooming.

And it’s a pretty amazing garden.

Keeping electronics out of restaurant meals.

If you are a parent that has taken your kid out to dinner more than once, then I am guessing that you have heard this before.  “Can I have your phone?”

This used to happen to us all the time.  Waiting for dinner is boring, and the phone (and the games you load especially for your kids) are an easy way to keep your kid occupied while you chat with friends, wait for dinner, or casually sip your espresso after a delicious meal.

My wife and I both wanted to stop this “additional” screen time for my son, but it’s hard, because the whining potential (and persistence of whining)

My son eating his favorite dessert last year.

for children is strong. We’ve come up with a few solutions that might work for you also.

Here are my suggestions for your behavior, plus a number of non-electronic ALTERNATIVE games that we bring to entertain our child, so that the electronics don’t have to.

Hope that helps, and if you’ve got your own favorite suggestions, please add them in the comments!

BE STRONG
As I mentioned, the whining ability (and the ability to ruin an otherwise fine meal) is very powerful with kids.  You need to be equally strong and say no.  The answer to “My friend does it” or even “my friend is doing it” is “Good for him/her. But that’s not the right thing for you.”

MODEL WELL
You can’t be a hypocrite.  Get off the phone yourself. Don’t bring it out at dinner or even after dinner. Practice what you preach.  It will be good for you.

DELAY GRATIFICATION
My son is only allowed “fun screen time” on Fun Fridays, and weekend mornings.  He does get about 2.5 hours on Friday and maybe 2 hours each day on Saturday/Sunday.

OFFER ALTERNATIVES
Your child needs to get engaged in something else that is not electronic.

Here are a few alternatives that we use, and often carry with us if we know that we are going to a restaurant.  Please note that these are affiliate links, so if you do click and buy something from Amazon, I will get a little something-something from them.  No pressure of course, just being transparent.

MADLIBS  
We carry a set of madlibs in the car.  If we can remember to bring them in to the restaurant, we can work our way through about 4 before the food comes.
It is also a good way to wile away a long road trip.  BUY ON AMAZON







UNO THE CARD GAME:
This is a great and handy thing to have in your pocketbook or pocket at nearly all times.  It’s easy to play, you can play with up to 6 people (more, and I recommend just using 2 decks) and it’s very fast paced.  The new decks come with customizable rule cards, but we don’t use them, preferring the simple game. BUY ON AMAZON.


COLORING BOOKS AND MARKERS

This is a classic, and can keep kids busy for hours.  You can also add in either some origami instructions or airplane instructions, and have them build a project.  If there are multiple kids, create a project for them to do with a small reward for the winner-  An extra scoop of ice cream, or a quarter for the gumball machine.
You obviously don’t have to have a kit like this one and can build your own, but having a bag full of the supplies ready to go in the car is much better than trying to assemble a kit each time. BUY ON AMAZON


DOTS OR HANGMAN

There are a number of simple games you can play with a pen and paper.  We bought a couple of game pads that are sheets of paper already set up for the game of dots or hangman.  

 There’s also the product on the left, which adds Tic Tac Toe, and a couple of other pencil games to the list.

  BUY ON AMAZON

60 years of the Cat In the Hat


Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  This month is also the 60th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s seminal classic The Cat In the Hat. 

Although it is now a classic, when it came out, it was considered too silly to be a good book for learning how to read, and was teaching bad behavior to children. After all, the cat is a trouble maker.

The Cat In the Hat was written in response to the Dick and Jane books, which were de riguer in educational circles but were considered to be boring.  In fact, in the Dick and Jane books, Sally is the younger sister, but in The Cat In the Hat, Sally is the main character!

Fascinating book about the evolution
of The Cat In The Hat

Educationally, Dick and Jane books were using a “look say” philosophy to teach reading.  You see a picture, you see a word with that picture, and through repetition, you associate that picture with the word.  This had been the dominant method of learning in the US, but it turned out that American children were reading at levels below their counterparts in Europe.  Educators argued that children weren’t learning to recognize the patterns in words, and wanted children to use a new fangled method called phonics, where kids learned how to pronounce words that rhyme and follow a similar pattern.

Suess was asked to write a reading primer that used the common 225 words that children would be interested in reading.  The first two words on the list that rhymed were Cat and Hat. The book ended up using 236 common words.  He thought it would take a couple of weeks, but it took him over a year.  He originally wanted to write a book about a King Cat and a Queen cat, but it turned out queen was not part of the common word list.  Seuss once described the process of writing the Cat In The Hat as “being lost with a witch in a tunnel of love.”

The book was not popular initially with educators, but the book was VERY popular with parents.  By the early 70’s when I was learning to read, the Phonics method was just becoming popular.  My reading class experimented with it, and that’s how I learned to read.

There’s a fascinating book called The Annotated Cat that has some of the original drafts that Seuss wrote, along with a line by line annotation that shows the struggles that Dr. Suess had in making this such an amazing book.

There are also two great articles that go over this history well:

http://www.newsweek.com/books-cat-hat-explained-last-95461

http://www.northjersey.com/story/entertainment/books/2017/03/01/game-changers-cat-hat/98272938/


On a side note, I also want to point out Dr. Seuss’s hilarious and non-phonic book The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs The Dough, in which 4 words that end with ough  are pronounced 4 different ways.  The book features the early (and mostly adult-oriented) drawings and cartoons of Dr. Seuss.  I highly recommend it.

So Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! And Happy 60 years of Cat in the Hat!

I will never be the father of a toddler again

I was in Trader Joe’s waiting in line when I had some deja vu, and a little bit of an epiphany.

I was by myself, having just dropped my son off at school.

The guy in front of me, was there with his 2 year son.  The kid was not yet in school, still learning to talk well and use his words, still learning to walk like an expert, a cutie dressed in a parka, looking around at the world.

As kids often are, the child was both interested and scared of me.  The dad was chatting with the clerk, and keeping half an eye on the kid, and the kid was looking at me, looking away, hiding behind his dad, coming back out.  I was making faces at the kid.  A familiar dance for the father of a toddler.

My son as a cute toddler.

The cashier was enchanted by the kid, and gave him extra stickers, and sent him on his way.  “Oh wow! Say Thank you!” said the Dad.  The kid mumbles a few words, the cashier smiled, the dad smiled, and then they were off.  The cashier turned to me, still smiling, and there was a weird transformational moment when she took off her “Isn’t that kid cute ” face, and it was immediately replaced by her more professional “Thank you for shopping at Trader Joe’s” face.

Watching this whole scene play out, I had a sense of deja vu, of already having played this scenario out.  But in that scenario, I was the dad of the child, the cute little toddler that everybody loves.  And the guy behind me in line, he was just some random guy making faces at my kid.  Probably thinking of his own kid, and the times that he had a toddler, and how he misses having a toddler.

The epiphany I had was this- I will never be that dad again.  I will never have a toddler again. My son is 8, going on 16, and he’s never going to be that cute little boy.  He’s going to be his own self now– cute is not the word, but handsome, or charming, or perhaps even infuriating.  He was that cute boy.  But now he’s someone else.

I loved being that Toddler dad, and I miss being that toddler dad, and sometimes I long to be that toddler dad.  I had it all figured out then.  I sometimes feel at a loss now.

 I understand that being a dad is a continuum, being a child is a continuum, being a person is a continuum, and it always changes (usually just when you are getting the hang of it.)

When you are a new parent, people tell you “It will go by so fast.”  And you don’t believe them, because it’s moving very slowly, and there are thousands of diapers and poopy bottoms and crying babies and non-sleeping nights.

But it goes by so fast….

My son at age 8.  Going on 16.

The April Fool’s Joke This Year: Logan

April Fools jokes are a little cruel.  They are designed that way.  In some sense, you are lying to a loved one in order to fool them.  On another sense, it is all in good fun, and as long as no one gets hurt physically or emotionally, I can justify it.

For me, some of my favorite moments growing up were little practical jokes that we played on each other– especially hiding when somebody comes in, and then jumping out and scaring them.  My dad used to love to do that, and he would laugh uproariously when you got fooled, or when he got fooled.  Sharing a joke together is to me an important part of being a parent.

They are now some of my favorite memories of my now-deceased father.

I guess I’m hoping that likewise, these moments, even if they can be a little frustrating in the short-term, will turn into some of my son’s favorite memories of me.

An April Fool’s Pranks from 1857- there is
no Washing the Lions Ceremony.

Each year, I’ve played some pretty good practical jokes on my son– one year, I brought him to school even though school was closed for the day (which meant he had to wake up super early!)  I made up for that by letting him have donuts for breakfast.

Another year, I convinced him it was snowing and he put on his snow boots and all of his other stuff to go to school and went outside only to find out that it was a beautiful day. (Here’s that video below)

He’s tried to get me too, (when he was two he told me (pretty unconvincingly) that he had pooed in his bed.  It’s all in the delivery.

You can read about (and see some video) of some of my best April Fool’s pranks here

This year,  no video.  I decided to try a different tack.  It’s a Saturday, so school was out. I knew he knew it was April Fool’s Day (we had discussed planning to play a trick on my wife, but it didn’t really pan out).  I didn’t try to surprise him with something crazy.  Instead, after breakfast and he was busy reading, we had this conversation, very casually.

Here’s our conversation (with my thought process)


ME: “Okay, Mom and I’ve discussed it, and we’ve decided to take you to see the movie Logan. I think you are able to handle it. We’ll go to the matinee today.”
HIM: “No, I don’t want to see that, I want to see King Kong.” 


MY THOUGHTS: What? He wanted to see King Kong? I thought he wants to see Logan. I’m sure he told me he wants to see Logan.” King Kong might have worked. OH well, too late now. 

ME: “No, I’ve already bought the tickets, we have to go.”
HIM: Starts to cry and whimper
MY THOUGHTS: I can’t believe he’s crying about this. He must have figured it out. What? He’s really crying? I better go tell him. I walk over to him on the couch. Those are real tears! He’s really upset!! I pick him up in my arms like a baby and say:
ME: Guess what, little bear. “April Fool’s! “
HIM: More crying, and then finally laughing that he really got got.

I had no idea he was going to take it that way.  I really thought he’d be excited about Logan. I’m glad we got through it, and I was able to make him laugh at the end, and of course to REALLY get him, but felt bad after I made him cry about going to the movies.  Not that he should cry over something so ridiculous. And I have lots of experience making kids cry. I am a professional clown after all! Anyway, it’s making me re-think practical joking.  I am sure I will still do it, but I don’t want to make the kid CRY.
What do you think? And what was your prank for April Fools?