I have never been one to lie or, at least, be good at lying. Ask my mom. She used to get me to rat out my older brother and sister all the time. She could always tell when I was holding something in, especially if it had to do with my siblings. My nose might not have grown to give me away, but my eyes would get big and round. “Yes, mama. I’ll tell you everything! I had my ear pressed against the door anyway so I know exactly what brother and his friends were talking about!” I guess I didn’t have the best poker face.
I remember as a child having a conversation with my grandmother about lying. I posed the following scenario:
“Grandma, what if someone asks me if I like their dress and it’s hideous? Do I lie and say they look great?”
“No, you compliment them on something else. Tell them it’s a lovely color.”
“What if it’s a gross shade of green or brown? I’d be lying if I told them the color was nice.”
“Then… tell them their hair looks great, just change the subject and move on.”
Now that I’m a mom, I feel like I lie more than I’d like to. It’s like diarrhea; it just keeps flowing out, sometimes offering relief, other times causing a big mess. It’s often in good humor, but most of the time I just need my kids to moooooove on and stop whining, so I lie and change the subject (kind of like what my grandmother was telling me to do? Okay, not really). That being said, here are some of my favorite and most overused lies I’ve told my kids:
If you keep whining, the birthday fairy will come and change you back to ______ (whatever age they were previously).
The music on the ice cream truck means they’re out. They’re just letting everyone know.
You can only go to Chuck E. Cheese when someone is having a birthday party. (This one has backfired — My oldest wants her sixth birthday party there. Please pray for me. I’m hoping she changes her mind/forgets by that time.)
If you don’t brush your teeth, they might turn black and fall out while you’re sleeping (see previous post).
Cucumbers are just green watermelons.
The purple lettuce leaves were made just for you; the salad people know purple is your favorite color. Wasn’t that nice of them?
Every meat they eat is chicken: chicken turkey, chicken fish, chicken sausage. It’s always going to be chicken.
The TV has run out of batteries for the day. Only daddy know how to charge it, so we have to wait until tonight.
If you don’t go to sleep soon, you won’t grow tonight. You might even wake up shorter.
Obviously, lying to your kids isn’t the best idea. We tell *them* not to lie, and then turn around and do it to them all the time. (Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, anyone?) Sometimes, it’s the easy way out and it’s a lazy parenting-peanut butter sandwiches for dinner-skipping baths kind of day. We get frustrated and overwhelmed. Our kids won’t back off, so we lie and cross our fingers that they quickly move on to the next thing because we simply can’t handle another, “But why???”
“Why can’t we go to Chuck E. Cheese? Because it’s not anyone’s birthday and I’m not in the mood for all of you to catch a new strain of influenza. Please. stop. asking. me. We can go to a different play place that’s way more fun and has a lot of…no, you don’t earn tickets, but it also doesn’t smell like feet.”
I’m really, really, trying to be more patient with my kids and fib to them a little bit less, although they’re starting to catch on:
“Mom, (yes, my five-year-old calls me “Mom” and has since she was two because she’s trying to break my heart and grow-up too fast.) you’re totally joking. There is no birthday fairy, right?”
“Erm, um…no? I mean, hey look, sister is walking!”
“Mom, she’s been walking for a while.”
I can only change the subject so many times, though. It used to work when I’d say, “You asked and I said no. I gave you an answer. Asked and answered.” Now, not so much. The older my five-year-old gets, the more I’m dreading the teenage years and the endless questions that I’m very much not prepared to be honest about. “How are babies made? Because Jesus loves you.”