Telling Lies: A Family Tradition

Telling Lies: A Family Tradition

Last week, my three-year-old asked me if she could have an orange. I told her no for two reasons. First, she had already had an orange a few hours before. If I don’t ration the fruit around here, a five pound box of clementines will be gone in a day. And second, it was nap time, and every day at nap time that girl is more hungry and thirsty than I’ve ever been in my life. It’s her go-to stalling tactic, and I’m not a total idiot. She cried, as she does anytime I interrupt her two favorite things, snacking and avoiding naps, and ran away.

I called her back to me, and hugged and kissed her, ready to send her upstairs. I stopped. Sniffed. “Did you eat that orange?” I asked. “No,” she replied. “I didn’t.” Hmm…she smelled like oranges, but she didn’t have time to eat one, and sometimes the smell rubs off on your hands by holding an intact orange. Besides, she had had one earlier. Maybe that was the smell. Satisfied, I sent her off to bed. I headed into the kitchen to stare at the pantry and decide what to make for dinner, when I saw it. A pile of fresh orange peels on the floor of the pantry, right next to the million pound bag of dog food. I picked up the peels to put in the garbage, cursing my lying, conniving three-year-old, and when I opened the garbage lid I saw the orange. A whole peeled orange, right there on top. I had to laugh. She must have peeled it before asking if she could have one, and when I said no, she hid the evidence.

I didn’t know what to do. Bring her back down to confront her? Worry about it after nap? I was afraid she wouldn’t remember the details as clearly later, since like me, she wakes up more dead than refreshed after napping. Besides, I wanted to see what she had to say.

“Hey, Lily!” I hollered. “What?” she asked. “Come down here. I have a question for you.” She came down the steps on her bottom, bumping down each step. Bump. Bump. Bump. She was curious. Any contact after the beginning of nap time was usually instigated by her, and this was uncharted territory.

“Do you know why there are orange peels in the pantry?” I began. Eyes wide, brows raised, she slowly shook her head. “No.” Damn. I hope I can always tell this easily that she’s bullshitting me. I gave her another chance to come clean, reminding her that I already know she’s lying. She fessed up about the peels, and when I asked her where the orange was, she came clean on that one, too. I let her know that I don’t like lying or wasting food, and how the situation could have been handled in the future.

Am I annoyed that she is starting to lie? Of course. I mean, I know it’s normal, and healthy even, but it’s still sad. It means she’s growing up. I understand that kids lie for lots of reasons, but that usually it’s to avoid getting in trouble. Actually, that’s the main reasons adults lie, too. But sometimes people lie for more sinister reasons. Like what I did when I was six.

My brother had pissed me off for some unknown reason, and I vowed to get revenge.  He was four-years-old, 20 months younger than I was, and had just learned to write his name. I saw an opportunity to do more than your basic sibling justice, like knocking him down or taking his toy, and I wrote his name on the bathroom wall with a marker. I used my left hand so it would suggest a sloppy preschooler penned it. After carefully (but not too carefully) writing the five letters of his name, I stood back to admire my cunning masterpiece, smiled smugly at myself in the bathroom mirror, stashed the marker, and yelled, “Mooommmmm!”

Diabolical, no?

Mom obviously blamed my little brother for the bathroom graffiti.  He denied to no avail, and I cowered in my room while he got a spanking for my handiwork. I can vividly remember him crying and pleading with my mom, telling her it wasn’t him. That he didn’t do it. She was probably extra pissed thinking he was repeatedly lying to her face. I felt horrible. I guess I didn’t really think the whole plan through. What did I think would happen? I wanted to fess up, but I couldn’t. If he got an ass whooping for writing on the wall, what would my punishment be for being such an evil bitch? A beheading? No dessert? I couldn’t chance it and find out.

I kept that dirty secret well into adulthood. What could they do to me then? My head, if not my honor, was safe.

Now that I think about it, stashing an orange isn’t that big of a deal.

14 thoughts on “Telling Lies: A Family Tradition

  1. Oh my gosh that photo KILLS me. So adorably heartbreaking. And get used to the lying stage. In our house it lasted a few years…or 7…"You'll always – ALWAYS – get in more trouble for lying than for whatever crime was committed" was (still is) heard around here OFTEN! 🙂

  2. YOUR DAUGHTER DOES THE BOTTOM LIP POUT BETTER THAN ANYONE I'VE EVER SEEN!!! Seriously, you could sell that photo on a stock photo site and become rich! It's totally perfect!!! :)I love that she threw a peeled orange away when you said no! That's amazing and sweet really.My oldest is a terrible liar. He's almost 13 and it is SO EASY to tell when he's telling a whopper. I hope it always is. My 9yo is much better. She always looks sincere. I've got to keep a close eye on that one!

  3. That is such a cute picture, and you'll both probably look back at it years from now and laugh. Girrllll- you are diabolical! For you to figure out that whole plan at such a young age…I'm thinking you could market those skills somehow, somewhere.

  4. Naughty-Naughty!!! Now I am doubting myself! When my kinders tag the furniture with their names (not too clever) I always feel confident as to who's to blame Not anymore!! Now, I am going to think, "Who has this kid pissed off lately?"

  5. Excellent picture! HA HA! That is classic!I have to ration fruit and vegetables at my house. Isn't that sad? I finally decided that I could not totally deprive my daughter and started buying celery every week. When she asks for more of the other stuff, I offer her celery. She hardly ever refuses. Isn't that funny? I hate celery, though. More for her!She is also, for the most part, brutally honest! The other day I heard a commotion in the kitchen and then the sound of something falling on to the floor, followed by the sound of running feet (my son's bedroom is right by the kitchen.) I came into the kitchen and found the bag of semisweet chocolate chips on the floor. Some had spilled out, and I knew for a fact that it wasn't nearly as full as it had been the day before. I called them in, and she came running in first, long before her brother."Have you guys been taking the chocolate chips?" I asked."No I didn't, but Ezra did!" she replied"Just Ezra?" I asked"Well he took them, I just ate them."Sound logic there. As long as he was doing the physical act of taking them, she was off the hook even though she was the one consuming them. Funny kids!

    1. I used to allow my kids to eat their weight in fruits and vegetables if they wanted, because I wasn't gonna say, "Put those grapes down! Have some Goldfish instead." If they wanted healthy snacks, they were going to get them. My husband (who grew up with four siblings) saw it differently. Kids can eat healthily without our entire budget going to fruit. I LOVE your celery tip. I'm soo doing that!Chocolate chip capers are most successful with two people, and when one of those two isn't a narc! So funny!

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