Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
No, this post is not about the Republican debate last night. Although, had I bothered to watch, my guess is the title would be pretty appropriate for that, too.
This post is about the hellacious night I had with Declan 2 Tuesdays ago, while Bryan was out building the beginnings of his punk rock robot; the one were I hid behind You Tube kitty humor rather than face the truth that my kid can be a little shithead sometimes.
It started out with a series of lies. Bald-faced lies. Lies where he thinks I am too stupid to figure them out because his perspective on the world is so narrow… that he can’t fathom there is stuff outside his realm of understanding. Therefore, if he doesn’t know it, *I* don’t know it either.
WRONG, KID. Your mom is no genius, but she does know some stuff.
So. We sit down and talk about the difference between lies and imagination. Serious talk. Because the last thing I want to do is squash his imagination. But I also want him to stop lying about trivial things like what he had for lunch, because, HELLO, I can look that up online and I know they are not serving you SALAD WITH CHICKEN, BEEF, BEANS AND FISH! This IS a school lunch we are talking about! On a school budget! And if they ARE serving you that, I want to talk to them about how my tax dollars are being spent because that’s just NASTY.
So, Declan proceeds to paint with water colors while I fix dinner. I walk back into the living room, and he is STANDING on his art table, wiping at the wall.
I don’t know about your house, but this does not happen in my house. My kid doesn’t even get on the couch with his shoes on. “What exactly are you doing, sir?”
And then I notice there is water all over the wall, all over my framed artwork on said wall, dribbling down the wall and that Declan is looking really scared.
I try to stay calm. I ask what happened. Thinking maybe he dropped something heavy in his water cup and it flew up on the wall. He gives me several conflicting and equally lame excuses. Finally he admits that he flung the water up on the wall himself. Why? He has no idea.
Now, I know the line about “kids being kids”… and in retrospect, the whole thing is pretty funny – but at the time I started wondering if I could bundle him off to a work camp in eastern Russia. Sometimes, when you have a kid who rarely acts up, it’s worse when they do.
So, he had a long time-out and we talked some more about how doing things you know are wrong will get you in trouble – but lying about it means DOUBLE TROUBLE.
And when I say trouble, I mean TROUBLE. As in I made him call his father at the office and tell him what he had done. That was, let’s just say, difficult for him and Bryan mostly got a lot of sobbing on his end of the conversation.
Then we had peace for about 5 seconds. Then 3 more lies in quick succession. My favorite being, “Mama, look at this bruise I got on my leg today! It bled a ton at school today.”
By then I LOST IT. Plain and simple. Lost. It. My voice was raised, I was pissed, and I was ready to teach this kid a few things about life. “DECLAN! What’s are you doing?! BRUISES DO NOT BLEED! Why did you just lie about that??!!?”
“I don’t know.”
After I calmed down I tried to explain AGAIN what I meant about lies and imagination. We don’t lie. I don’t care what other kids do. That’s them. This is us. Our family does NOT lie to each other or anyone else. Imagination is for stories, drawings, songs, playtime. Telling the truth is for when we are talking about our day, having conversations, or anything that really happened. Got it? Good. Love you, good night.
And I ran out of the room before he could tell another lie.
But as Bryan and I talked about it later, we realized something. Both of us, but Bryan especially, are complete and utter smart asses.
You remember in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, how the Dad was alway making up crazy shit to fuck with Calvin? Replace Dad with Bryan, and Calvin with Declan.
It was like a lightbulb went off.
So, over the Thanksgiving weekend, we had more chats with Declan, and talked about how Dada likes to tease and how that might be confusing him, and how we understand this lying thing might be an extension of that. Bryan promised to try to make it more apparent to Declan – by winking – when he is teasing and help him understand when and where it is appropriate to make fun, and when we need to tell the truth.
Bryan’s eye has been a little sore this week from all the winking – but it is definitely helping. Declan is getting it. He is asking things like – “are you teasing?” And starting conversations with, “this is just a made-up story.” Sarcasm, teasing and made-up stuff is such a hard concept to teach, one we didn’t even think we would have the actually “teach.”
Now, if we could just convince the Republicans to wink more, maybe the whole country would be in a much better place.
P.S. 30 Days of Thanks
I am very thankful nights like this are rare.
Winking Republicans! I love it!
You add a wink wink, Mr. Winkity Wink.
If that mini van thing is true do it, and have a Rage inside.
Housewife, LOL! I keep waffling between turning Word Verification on and off and getting intermittent spam. I am gonna delete that comment, b/c I am sure it’s spam… but I hate to turn Word Verification back on – I HATE IT SO MUCH!!!
Oh my… this brings back SO many memories! What fun you have ahead of you… *wink*
Good way to explain lies vs. imagination. Wish someone would explain that to Bush.
Bundle him off to East Russia – I feel that way sometimes too! ha ha!
Sorry, I meant to write Denver, not Phoenix!
This makes me feel so much better! I remember going through similar things when our kids were younger. I started to think that hubby and I both must have carried some recessive gene for lying. But now you’ve put it all in perspective because we have a pretty serious case of smart aleck syndrome around here, too. Whew!
Oh goodness. We went through bald faced lies with my oldest. She taught the younger ones to NEVER lie to mommy about what you did because it was so much worse than whatever you were lying about. She may still try to pull a fast one here and there, but she’ll ‘fess right up if she’s caught.
Now we call it the Martha Stewart punishment – because she went to jail for lying about doing something wrong. Of course, it ended up benefiting her career, but we skip that part of the story.
Ooie! This is a fabulous example of good parenting that I’m filing away in my mommybrain file;)
I keep having this discussion with my daughter, too. They never stop trying to get away with stuff. Lying is my number 1 no-no and she knows it and there’s always a big scene when she does it, yet every once in a while she still does it. And she says she doesn’t know why since she ALWAYS gets caught.
Daisy, you may want to skip the yelling part. 😉
If I had a nickel for every bar of soap my lying liar had to eat, well, you know the rest.
Good luck, sister.
Except for the C&H influence, your post reminded me of a book I had as a child…Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine.
Dad is trying very hard to get his daughter, Sam, to know the difference between lies and imagination, and it takes a near disaster to learn. Good book.
Wow – I have a feeling we will soon be approaching similar conversations. How old is Declan? Jaxon will be 4 the beginning of March. He is starting to use phrases like “I was just playing a trick” or “I’m teasing you” but he doesn’t quite completely grasp those concepts yet. No real lies yet but I can see them coming.
Amy, Declan turned 5 in September!
How do you explain the difference between “outright lying” and “creative reconstruction of something that was based on a story somewhat related to something else that was once similar to the truth, but is now a vehicle or tool used to make people laugh”?
They are so close.
My mom, while not the greatest, wouldn’t tolerate any teasing or sarcasm by adults in our house when we were growing up. Made for a very safe place and rarely did my brother and I act out but it did make college and subsequent adulthood tough. I didn’t know people could be. so. MEAN!!
So I’m walking a fine line between creating a little safe no-mean-zone in our house and having some teasing so they get the real world.
Sorry that night was so rough. It sounds like you weathered it. Hang in there mama.
Sadly, like Bryan, I have trouble turning off the sarcasm. No, the potatoes are not poisoned…but one of my nephews thought I’d tried to kill his Daddy. (I wrote a blog post about this a while ago on my blog. I’ll refrain from posting the link. You can type ‘poisoned potatoes’ into my searchy-thingy if you’re interested.) No amount of winking would get that little guy to stop crying. Ugh!
Now, I have to be really careful with what I say around Claire. Plus, that much winking will make my crow’s feet even worse. 😉
Wow – sounds like quite a night, but in the end I think you handled it very well!
About the bruise thing – maybe someone at school told him bruises are a bunch of blood under the skin gathering there and maybe it was more purply at school that day – hence the bleeding a lot. Just trying to give my sweetie pie the benefit of the doubt!
God the teasing.
We were having dinner the other night with one and Nico announceds that he had beef with guinea pig for dinner at Old Weird L’s house. We ask him why he thinks that. And he inists he’s telling the truth.
Then a light bulb goes off. L’s dad likes to mess with the boys (I think he takes it too far, but that is neither her nor there.) Told both of them there was guinea pig in the sandwich. Both of them believed it.
It also explains why when Nico came home he ate dinner again and why he refused a dinner invite last week.
Kids! We forget eh?
the lying thing is rough.
but I would LOVE to see a politician winking when they say something that is so obviously bullsh*t. that would be great
Chloe – Bryan said that defense too. LOL. 😉 We talked about it, and that’s not what he meant.
My son has always had a problem with lying. When he was a kid, it was really bad. He would deny doing something I WATCHED HIM DO!!! I punished him by assigning him a book to read and do a report. I always chose a book I had read, but sometimes he even lied about what the book was about. When he was in high school, I asked him why he told so many stupid, unnecessary lies. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know. Sometimes when I open my mouth to say something, a lie comes out instead.” At 25, he is a real charmer, but I know better than to believe some of his stories. It does get better, though.
Thanks everyone, for being so supportive, and telling your own stories and making me not feel so alone!
In our house, my husband does not give a straight answer, makes sarcastic comments and I make up stories myself— how will our daughter know the difference? Now, she tells us that “when you smile while talking, then you’re lying”. True sometimes but not always- a person may just be a happy person. Anyway, that was a 10-minute discussion that still ended by her believing that her best friend always lies because she always smiles when she’s talking.
Two things my husband and I know for sure – 1) any kid we have would have brown curly hair and 2) any kid we have would be a smart ass. We’re doomed.
The bit in your post about Declan throwing water at the wall kinda reminds me of a vignette from a Simpson’s episode. Bart is sitting on the floor with a bunch of ketchup packets and a hammer, and smashing the ketchup into the carpet while whistling “mary had a little lamb.” When Marge walks in, she screams, “Bart! What are you doing?!?” And Bart just answers, “I dunno.”
Kids do things sometimes without thinking of the consequences, and while Bart isn’t lying here (unlike the “I didn’t do it!” episode), is it refreshing, or are we still p.o.’d? It’s our job to teach them about consequences.
Who knew you’d have to give a smart-a$$ lesson? 🙂
Ha, no kidding!! Smart ass lessons! No one told me about that!!!
And Marysmom, the the “because you are smiling that means you are lying” brings up some deep seeded terrible memories from childhood. I CAN’T EVEN GO THERE!! LOL!!! 😉
Ahhh…memories of my two older boys telling each other jokes so they could spit their milk on the wall while sitting at the table eating their lunch. Funny now. Hilarious, in fact. Then? Uh…nope. And good luck with the whole winking Republican thing.
Congrats on finishing NaBloPoMo. I was a failure. Har!
i think we are on the cusp of this lying thing. sometimes they’re so smart they scare me!
Sarcasm is a very hard thing to learn!
My baby girl is the queen of the blatant lie. She’ll do a misdeed then blame it on one of her brothers. How do they start so young?
I read somewhere that kids start getting jokes around 4, but can’t *make* jokes until 5 or older. You guys are so smart to have figured out this is what was going on!
We have a smarta$$ household too, and it has rubbed off on dd (7).
You have so many comments, but I must add mine anyway.
I was always lying to my parents. I was a little older, but lie I did, all the time. (That Catholic School education down the drain.)
On the bright side, I always knew when my kids were lying and it really freaked them out. Still does.
My little ones are quite the storytellers. When they are done, I ask, “Is that true or a story.”
“Just a story, mom.”
My olders one don’t even bother anymore, since I know about every lie they’ve ever told. (I think…)
Thanks for commenting Alida, as they say.. every comment is a snowflake… 🙂
Lying really is a difficult concept to teach. Yay for you making progress with it!