April Fools’

We’re now a few days into the month of April. International Autism Awareness Day 2021 has come and gone. I didn’t miss it (how could I?). I just wasn’t feeling it much this year. I would venture to guess that I’m not the only mother of a child on the spectrum who was just not feeling like “Lighting it up Blue.”

We postponed April Fools’ Day this year in our house. Instead of engaging in tomfoolery and trickery on the 1st, we decided to celebrate April Fools’ on Easter Sunday. It’s complicated, don’t ask. In any event, my three, no four, boys have been talking about pranks for months. In many ways, April Fools’ has ranked up there with Halloween and Christmas. I kid you not.

Tommy has been riled up about pranks and pranking. He wanted teams this year. It was to be Dad and Tom against Mom, Will and James. First of all, I’m the master at pranks. This division of teams seemed lopsided and unfair. I opted to bow out. I wasn’t feeling April Fools’ Day, either. However, listening to the three boys and Eric trade quips about master schemes brought endless smiles. They all make me laugh.

A few days ago, I asked Tommy what a prank was. He looked at me with those deep big brown eyes and said, “I don’t know.” Hmmm. How would he play a prank if he didn’t know what it was? Tommy is way too literal for this kind of out of the box, nuanced sort of thinking. Let me give you a few examples.

A few weeks ago, Eric got up from his chair at the dining room table. We had been playing cards. As he walked out of the dining room, Tom Bomb was walking in. Eric told him to keep his seat warm. Tommy ran to the living room to retrieve a blanket from a basket in the corner and then back to put it on Eric’s chair. I asked what in the world he was doing. He said “Dad said to keep his chair warm.” Tommy was looking at me incredulously. Fair enough.

A few days after that, my mother told Tommy to give her a break (in a jocular way), he turned to me and whispered “I don’t want to hurt her!” You’re right Tommy, breaking her would absolutely hurt her.

I couldn’t imagine how Tom could possibly come up with a prank on his own. However, Saturday evening, the doorbell rang. Eric and I thought “who the hell is that?!?” Anyone who knows us knows we are on lockdown. When Eric opened the front door, it was Tommy standing on the front porch stimming, arms flapping and all. “April Fools’!” He managed to get us! Was it the prank of the century? Nope, it wasn’t. But it was a sign of growth and progress.

Maybe I wasn’t as anti-holiday this April as I thought I was. In fact, I did wear an autism “Choose Kindness and Acceptance” shirt to work on Thursday (no school on Friday, the 2nd) even though hardly anyone noticed it. I wore blue while golfing on Friday (in 31 degree weather). I’m aware all the time. I’m also grinning ear to ear thinking of how perfectly awesome Thomas Paul is and how lucky I am to be his Mom, no fooling.

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