My three-year-old lies. A lot. Perhaps this is not a revelation to any of you; however, for us this development is big news. Where we once had an adorable chubby munchkin whose very face was the embodiment of perfection, we now have a miniature sociopath who lies with as straight a face as I've ever seen. When presented with her colorful adaptation of a previously boringly black-and-white novel of mine, our sweet little girl says stoically, "The baby did it." Oh, you darling angel. Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.
The first time it was cute ("The dolly opened the door, Mommy. I tried to stop her!"), but lately, when I find the pages ripped out of a favorite storybook or black crayon scribbles on her bed, I am not finding the fibs all that adorable any more. Of course, I can't let her know the truth that I'd like to go all Samuel L Jackson on her for ruining my book or making me clean up crayon scribbles, AGAIN. Instead, I hide my true feelings and calmly explain the concept of honesty, the irony of my deceit oozing from each sentence. The reality is that not only does everyone lie, but parents also take it to new heights. We lie with exclamation points.
There are the lies we tell others...
"Am I calling at a bad time?" No!
"Don't you just love this play group?" Yes!
"Mommy, do you want to play with me?" I can't wait!
And let's not forget the lies we tell ourselves...
Childbirth wasn't that hard! I can do it again!
I am going to be the cool mom!
Who needs to have their hair washed anyway? Not me!
The real issue at hand isn't the crayon mess. That's what magic erasers are for. My daughter's lies tell me we're navigating into difficult territory, an invisible mess full of complicated explanations, moral ambiguity, and an exhausting number of whys. While all that parenting responsibility can weigh heavily on my shoulders at times, there are a few things my daughter says that can lift the heaviness and remind me that some positive parenting tips do stick with her, like "May I be excused?" Those four little words are music to my weary ears.