Have you ever been caught in a lie? Of course you have, that’s a dumb question. We’ve all been caught in a lie. More specifically, have you ever been caught in a lie that you told your kid?
Here you are, trying to teach your kids to be good and honest people. Then, the little half- pint asks you some complicated and annoying-to-answer question and before you can stop it, a mini- lie slips out all wrapped up in pretty paper with a bow. That is, until the little crumb-grabber tries to debunk it. So, rather than let your kid find out what a horrible and hypocritical human you are, you keep the lie alive. Before you know it, you have woven a web of lies and you can’t get out!
For example, the other day my friend Abby emailed me this:
I made up some dumb fact and Bella called me out on it so I lied that I had looked it up online. She had the nerve to ask me which site. I told her Wikipedia and she was horrified. “Mom! Wikipedia isn’t even a reliable source! Anyone can just write whatever they want on there!” Okay, how the hell does an 8 year old know this shit? I couldn’t believe it! She told me they are learning how to find “reliable sources” for their research projects at school….
By the way, what’s up with an 8 year old knowing about “reliable sources” for research? I almost just went into a big spiel about who when I was a kid, we had to use the card catalog and understand the Dewey Decimal System. We didn’t have any of this internet nonsense to reference! We had it tough- we had to walk to school uphill both ways and we couldn’t just put our earbuds in and stream music… we had to BURN OUR OWN MIX CD’S!! But that would make me look old and dated so let’s stick to the topic at hand: lying. Or rather, bad lies that our too-smart kids can poke holes in, thus making our lives harder.
Here’s a good one for you. A few months ago, my sister planned a trip to come visit me for a few days. Of course, when my four-year old niece caught wind of this, she pitched a fit. “Mommy, why can’t I come with you to California? I want to come visit Auntie, too!!” she pled.
“Well sweetheart, I would take you with me, but I can’t. You can’t fly on an airplane until you’re five. It’s a rule. So, I’ll take you to California for your birthday in September!” I want you to pause for a moment. Maybe go back and read that last line again. These simple words strung together, this little harmless lie…this my friends, is what I like to call The Lie That Wouldn’t Die.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, long after my sister Mandy had forgotten about the little fib she had told back then with all that “fly when you’re five” business. My parents and extended family started unexpectedly planning a summer trip to Southern California. My sister was happy to bump the trip up, as she’d have help from my parents this way. As we were discussing the trip, Kailee’s eyes got wide. “But MOM! I can’t go to California in the summer! I won’t be five yet!” she unknowingly threw my sister’s lie back in her face. See, the thing about kids is….they NEVER. FORGET.
So the other day, I’m talking to my niece on the phone and I said, “Hey, K! How was your day?”
“Not. Good.” She replied in her grumpiest, poutiest, “It’s SO hard to be a toddler” voice.
“Not good?! Well what happened?” I asked.
“Emerson was telling me lies today.” She told me. Emerson is a little girl she goes to daycare with.
“She’s telling you lies?” I laughed. “What kind of lies is she telling you?”
Kailee took a deep breath and began, “She told me she was going on an airplane to Disney World with her family! And I know that she’s NOT going on an airplane because she’s only THREE and you have to be FIVE before you can fly!!” She was nearly shouting now. “And I got, really, really mad at her because I don’t like people who lie!!”
“Well then you must really not like your mommy because she is the biggest fattest liar of them all,” I managed NOT to say.
“Why do you think she would lie to you?” I asked, continuing my line of lie questioning because I thought it was funny to make my sister, who was next to her, feel as guilty as possible about the lie.
“I don’t know, Auntie. Maybe to make me jealous?” She suggested.
And so the day that my little four year old niece got into a nursery school knife fight because of “The Lie that Wouldn’t Die,” was the day that my sister vowed never to lie to her kid again. **
**Except this one last time when she told Kailee the pilot changed the rules and she can come to California this summer before her birthday. But she swears, it’s the last one!!
What about you? Have you ever told a lie that wouldn’t die?
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