Is it April Fool’s Day or Poisson d’Avril?

To make this post make some sense, I will remind readers that I was born and raised in Canada. My husband was born and raised in England (with some exceptions like France and Germany for shortish periods of time). My juniors, Miss M and Buddy, were born and (thus far) raised in Paris, France. Suffice it to say, there are moments when our cultural ‘norms’ clash big time.

Today is April 1st. For myself and my husband, we know this day as April Fool’s Day. For my children, this day is known as Poisson d’Avril (literal translation: April Fish). Both days revolve around jokey behaviour where someone is out to make a fool out of someone else. Not an entirely awesome premise for a ‘celebration’ but one all of us have inherited from our forepeople.  For my husband and I, the idea is to tell a believable joke and then expose the fools who believed it. For my children, the idea is to tape paper fish to other people’s backs. Say whaaaaaa…?? Yeah, I know, it was weird for me at first, too.

However, I thought I was doing well at bridging the gap between what my children understand and what I understand the 1st April to be about. I was wrong. Take this conversation this morning:

Me (to the juniors): I have something really important to tell you guys…I’m pregnant!!
Buddy: What???? That can’t be true! Is this for Fish Day?
Miss M: But it’s not a fish, right maman? You can’t be pregnant with a fish…!

And so the conversation went and my joke fell flat.

Quite clearly she is correct. I am not pregnant with a fish but I appreciate her need to clear that up for us. Let’s call this one a big fat cultural fail on my part.

It’s not easy raising kids in a cultural that is distinctly not your own but we do give it a valiant effort…even if that means having conversations about humans pregnant with fish.

In doing my research about our upcoming move to Switzerland I have learned the Swiss LOVE April Fool’s Day (will have to report back from the trenches what they call it in a year’s time). In fact, they love it so much they seem to still pride themselves a prank that dates back to 1957 involving trees and spaghetti. I will need to up my game, and clarify the rules a bit, before next year rolls around! Until then, enjoy April Fool’s Day wherever you are and make sure you check your back for some Poisson d’Avril 😉

Poisson d'Avril
Poisson d’Avril

Photo: DR

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