An hour or so later, the commotion began. The egg had hatched! The chick had escaped! It was loose in the house!
Celeste and Jordan raced wildly from room to room, searching for their bird, while I sat there wishing I'd saved a few feathers to give to the cat.
They finally came to me for help. While Celeste was explaining what had happened, something in my expression gave me away. She smiled. Shook her head. Turned to Jordan and said, "There's no chick. We've been had."
Another time, a few years later, Celeste was complaining about being the shortest in her class.
"Actually," I said, "You're not short at all. If you were in the class you're supposed to be in, you'd be one of the tallest."
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
I paused, pretending to be thinking it over, and then let out a sigh.
"This probably isn't the best way to tell you, but you're actually 8, not 10. It's just that you were so smart and tested so well that I decided to put you in early."
My ex gamely jumped in. "Since it's illegal to do that, your mom had to make you believe you were older."
He turned to me and said in a low, scolding voice (one she could hear), and "I can't believe you just blurted that out! This isn't how we agreed to tell her."
She listened as we mock-fought about hiding her age, but after a bit, she began clapping. Slowly and sarcastically.
"I hope you're saving up for all the therapy I'm going to need someday," she said.
I miss the days when I could pull the wool over her eyes. She's almost 16 now, and these days she messes with my mind far better and more often than I do with hers.
But I still try.
Not long ago, I tried convincing her there were once prehistoric earthworms as large as dinosaurs and they were responsible for all the caves in the world.
I wish I'd thought of that one a few years ago, when she had a little gullible left.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.