Would I Lie To You, Baby?

Would I Lie To You, Baby?

So, true confession: I lie to my kids.

Some days I lie to them a lot, some days not at all. Some lies are big ones, others are inconsequential. Some lies come easily, while others take a bit of thought. Regardless, they’re lies. As a person who values honesty in every other facet of my life, I can realize how hypocritical my fibbing is. And yet, I can also realize how many times it’s been a necessary part of parenting.

Some lies are a matter of convenience for me, like when our local ice cream guy rolls into our neighborhood at a ridiculous time, like 5:32 when I’m seconds away from putting dinner on the table, or 7:53, when I’m seconds away from getting my kids tucked into bed after a long day. “Sorry guys, when the ice cream man plays that song it means he’s plumb out of ice cream and he’s going back home to refuel! Let’s try to catch him tomorrow!” Or, if the kids are acting up in the market, I’ll point to a random employee stocking shelves and tell them that they are Mr./Mrs. Giant, and they own this joint, and if they don’t straighten out, I’ll march right over and report their shenanigans immediately.

Other lies come from a deep, dark place of sheer desperation, the kind of desperation one sinks into somewhere between bedtime and an hour and a half later, when their restless five-year-old is still awake – despite the fact that lack of sleep will surely turn them into an absolute monster in the morning. During these bleak moments, lies fly through my lips like there is a little Pinocchio in my mouth, pushing them out. Yes, this ring does protect you from bad dreams! And yes, this Dr. Pepper flavored LipSmackers is a magic sleepy potion, so get puckering! And no, there are no spiders anywhere in the house, including the basement. And the yard, too. Nope, nowhere on the block. Yes, I am sure.

Lies also make good cautionary tales, and this is where I really shine. These are lies that take on a life of their own, morphing into becoming something akin to Aesop’s Fables – if Aesop had been well versed in pop culture and had a penchant for the dramatic. This is an inherited trait – my Mom and Grandma were experts at this stuff. Until I was a teenager, I was convinced that my Grandmother had been America’s only child spy during WWII, and that a Mr. T air freshener hung over my bed could scare away the monsters I believed lived under it.

Take tonight at dinner, for example. We went to Applebees and were seated at a hightop in the bar area. We shuffled both kids into the bench part of the table, taking the super high swivel chairs for ourselves. Sunny started to whine almost immediately because she REALLY WANTED TO SIT THERE, PLEASE? And despite the fact that she WON’T SWIVEL IN CIRCLES OR LEAN BACK, PROMISE! We were pretty sure that she would, indeed, do all of the above. And when she was told no, that she could get hurt because the chair was too big for a little ‘un like herself, she just wanted to know WHY? WHY? BUT, WHY?

And so, she had to hear a story. A very serious story. About a girl named Sarah. Even Jeremy had heard this story and could confirm that she was just slightly taller than Sunny, around six years old, and had fallen from a chair just like that one. Poor Sarah had been very injured, and needed to go to a doctor – no, the hospital – to get better.

“How was she hurt?” Sunny asked.

“She broke…things. Many parts of her…face.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, you know. Face parts.”

“Like what?”

At this point I was starting to get nervous. Too many questions, little one. You were just supposed to accept that super high places are dangerous to little kids, and then we move on, and now you’re asking WHAT face parts?

“Well, the…nose. The eyes. You know, the face.”

“I want to see her picture.”

Her picture? Are you calling my bluff, tiny person?

So I did something that I’m not sure if I’m ashamed of, slightly proud of, or some mixture of both. I took out my phone and Googled a picture of Michael Jackson circa 2008-ish, and I showed it to her. Her eyes got huge, and she shook her head in empathy and said “Awww. Her poor nose.”

Related Posts

The Time My Son Taught Other Kids About Female Anatomy

I guess at a certain age it occurred to the boys that Ima was built differently from them. Now, I have always been modest in front of the boys. They have no need to see me prancing around naked or in underwear; I always cover up. Maybe not as much as I would in front of non-related people, but enough so that we are all comfortable. I also firmly believe in answering the children’s questions at their level, and not offering extra information that they were not asking for. One day -- a few years ago -- one of them said to me: "Ima, I am so sad for you."   Read more >

5 Things I Learned Coaching Our First Soccer Game

My husband went over to the head coach to find out which field our kids would be playing on, and was asked to coach our team's game. Which was fine, except he knows nothing about soccer. He's never played, never watched it, and was not really very interested to be honest. He is only interested because our kids want to play, and that's as far as it goes. I played soccer for seven years growing up, so I know a bit more. We both do pretty well with a group of small children though, in any situation. I figured between the two of us, we could get our team of four- and five-year-olds through one 30 minute game. We did, but it got pretty interesting.   Read more >

National Adoption Month: 10 Common Misconceptions about Adoption

November is National Adoption Month in the United States, and although the main purpose of the month is to encourage adoption of children in foster care, all things adoption seem to make the Internet rounds each November. This seems as good a time as any to clear up some of the most common misconceptions people outside of adoption tend to have about it. Here are the ten that came instantly to mind, based on my own experience of talking to people about adoption.   Read more >


In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.