by Michael Litrel, MD, FACOG, FPMRS
Sunrise on the big day found me crawling like a Ninja across the floor of my eldest son Tyler’s bedroom. With barely a sound, I rolled on to my back and shifted my body directly beneath his bed. I took a deep breath, and then, using all my strength, began shaking the entire bed frame.
Ann’s timing was perfect. She burst into the bedroom. “Tyler!” she shouted. “Get up! It’s an earthquake – it’s an earthquake! Go downstairs – HURRY!”
Tyler hardly moved. “It’s okay, Mom,” he mumbled, still half asleep. “It’s just Dad under my bed.”
I was demoralized, with only bruised knees and a scraped back from my efforts. But it was not going to be for nothing. Nursing my wounded pride, I hushed Ann and went to the next room. “Let’s try it on Joseph.”
But by the time I had crawled under Joseph’s bed, Ann reported that Joseph was smiling, his eyes closed, pretending to sleep.
Luckily, I had prepared a backup trick the night before. I’d slid a rubber band around the kitchen sink nozzle so it would spray as soon as the water came on. It pointed up to the exact spot for dousing whichever of my beloved offspring washed his hands first.
Tyler came downstairs still half asleep.
“Would you please wash your hands before you eat,” I reminded him. It was hard to hide the eagerness in my voice. I watched Tyler as he came to the sink and reached for the soap. He stopped, looked at the faucet, and yawned.
“You know, Dad,” he said with a trace of patronization, “if you use scotch tape, it won’t show as much.”
I wasn’t in the mood for advice. “Just be quiet, and let’s wait for Joseph,” I replied testily.
“AAUGHH!” screeched Ann. Oops. While I was distracted, Annie had turned on the water. Her pajamas were soaked. I apologized profusely, but Ann was not amused.
Well, at least I’d gotten someone.
But my real quarry was Tyler. He was just too cocky for his own good. I spent the day mulling it over, playing a few jokes to pass the day. Pregnant patients made the easiest targets.
“Gosh, I hope you have two girls’ names picked out.”
Or, “Wow, we haven’t had triplets in the practice in four or five years.”
Back at home that evening, Tyler wouldn’t fall for anything. I found myself growing amateurish in my desperation.
“There’s a spider on your shoulder!”
“Your teacher just called. You’re in trouble!”
Tyler just rolled his eyes. April Fools was obviously beneath him. Indeed, he hadn’t played a single joke on me all day. I finally gave up and trudged upstairs to bed. Just as Ann and I climbed between the sheets, we were met with an impediment.
Tyler had short-sheeted our bed.
Ann was dead tired. She began to complain and laugh simultaneously as she stripped the bedcovers to remake the bed. I tried to shush her so Tyler wouldn’t have the satisfaction of knowing his trick had succeeded.
My mind was unsettled. Although I was tired, I lay awake in bed for a while, unable to sleep. Finally, after some honest introspection, I came to a resolution which allowed me to drift off at last.
Just wait ‘til next year.
Excerpted from Dr. Litrel and his wife Ann’s book of “he-said, she-said” stories about love and family. A MisMatch Made In Heaven: Surviving True Love, Children, and Other Blessings In Disguise is available in the office, and online at www.createspace.com/4229812
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