I learned that Poisson d’Avril is April Fool’s Day, and I learned it the hard way.
April 1st started as usual, with the flurry of bags, lunchboxes, drink bottles, coats, hats and gloves rushing out the door to catch the yellow school bus. There were a couple of hours of calm before the storm when three children arrived home from school, with an extra child who had misplaced his house keys.
On arrival, my daughter casually commented that she had a note from her teacher in her agenda, and that I should read it. Diligently I opened her agenda to find in red, gliding cursive the following text:
Je ne suis vraiment pas contente avec [ton fille]. Elle n’a pas du tout en une belle journée !!
I will admit it took me some time to translate it, the angry emoji next to the teacher’s signature was the give away that something was amiss. Turning to my daughter I asked, “What’s this? Your teacher is unhappy with you and you had a bad day?” Her response was to produce her best cheeky grin and declare, “Poisson d’Avril !”
Further questioning revealed she had asked her teacher to write the note, and her teacher obediently complied…just wait until the next parent-teacher interview!!
Several hours later, after we had entertained the extra addition to our household, and I had driven him home when his family had returned with a key, my two boys eagerly interrogated me in the kitchen as I was beginning to prepare dinner. The interrogation when something like this:
Boys: “Mum, what is Poisson d’Avril?”
Me: “It’s french for April fools.”
Boys: “What does Poisson mean?”
Me (feeling clever now!): “Poisson means fish!”
Boys: “Yes! So what do people do on poisson d’Avril?”
Me (oops, not so clever now): “Er, I don’t know.”
Boys: “They stick fish on people’s backs.”
Me: “Oh, why do they do that?”
Boys: “It’s just what they do…and so did [your daughter] today!”
…long pause, with the boys grinning…
Me, reaching to pull a large paper fish off my back: “Oh no, how long has this fish been on me?!”
My daughter, wearing the same cheeky grin as earlier declared: “For hours!! Since you read my teacher’s note…Poisson d’Avril encore, Maman !”
Ok, so I won’t be forgetting “Poisson d’Avril” anytime soon. There is an upside to my humiliation, I have a full year to plan for the next “Poisson d’Avril”.