A couple of weeks ago while Tom and I were talking, Roman kept butting in with his new love for getting our attention. “My ankle hurts, mom.” If this were a rarity these days I might have shown concern, but since it’s been his knee, arm and ankle, I’m kinda over it. Not to mention that he has complained about these PHANTOM issues yet decides to not say much about his ear that ended up rupturing. Phantom pain he’ll mention; real pain not so much. mmmmmK, makes total sense.
Tom’s reaction was one of most typical fathers, “You’ll live, son.” When Roman kept on, Tom proceeded to give him ibuprofen in an attempt to get rid of him, to which I whispered, “You’re going to create a pill popper when he’s an adult! He does NOT need medicine for crying wolf.”
So what did I decide to do instead?
Lie. “Roman. Come here. Let me show you what Nana used to do for me as a kid when MY ankles would hurt.” Hmmmmmm…what to do, what to do? oh wait, I GOT IT! So I grabbed a napkin, dampened it a bit with water and wrapped it around his ankle. “Ok, Roman. The wetness from the napkin will help with the pain and as soon as it falls off that means your ankle is all better.” With a big smile on his face he ran off on his supposedly pained ankle and all was right with the world. Tom looked at me, smiled and said, “You’re so good with them.” “Why? Because I can lie to them with a straight face?”
As I thought about it, a lightbulb went off in my head. My mom used to always have Ace bandages around and I remember thinking how cool I was to have my wrist wrapped up (along with a makeshift sling from a bandana) and I remember Natalie had her ankle wrapped a few times. I’m sure Carrie had an “ailment” or two as well. I bet we were just being whiny babies and that was my moms way of getting us out of her vicinity.
Is this some trick we learn as parents? To become good fibbers? We all remember the ones as kids. “If you make that face too much, it might stay that way. ” “You can get cancer from sitting too close to the tv.” “If you swallow a watermelon seed, you’ll grow one in your stomach.” “If you swallow your gum, it stays in your body for 7 years.” etc., etc.
I make it through plenty of days parenting by saying teeny-weeny lies to get them to shut. it. down. “Go wash your hands before you eat.” “I did.” “Alright. Just so you know, if you didn’t wash them with soap you’ll probably get diarrhea.” Without a word, both go back in the bathroom and wash their hands WITH soap this time. Will they get diarrhea? Notice the word “probably”? They may OR may not. At least they can’t say I didn’t warn them when they’re stuck for days on the toilet, right?
Yesterday was another successful fib. Roman has been trying to avoid school for the past 2 weeks. Well, Tuesday was a good day to miss seeing as he had that ruptured ear drum and all. Did I mention what a major parent fail that was? Crappy mom moment at its finest. Anyway, yesterday he was back to feeling 100%, but just didn’t want to go. His reason. “I want to be home and keep you company, mom. That’s all.” How do you let your kid down easy when they say something sweetly manipulative like that?
Here we go again… “Roman. You know that if you miss too much preschool that you won’t be able to go to kindergarten, right?” “What!?!” “Ya. They’ll see that you’ve missed too much learning time and say you might not be ready for what the kindergarteners are learning.” “Oh, alright. But can I wear clothes that I pick out myself?” crap. “I guess so.” Luckily he picked out nice clothes or I had another white lie up my sleeve that I’ve used before. “You can’t wear that to school. They don’t allow that because there are *fill in the blank* on it. Sorry kid, it’s the rules.”
I understand that some of these are just my being a weak parent. Sue me. I am very strict with the kids and own most of my decisions, but in the mornings when I don’t want a battle that drags and drags I’ll come up with some pretty incredible stories that I’m even impressed with and I make a mental note of the success of it!
Carissa is no longer in the “tiny white lie” age bracket since she has an ounce of reason.
I have about 1 year to 18 months left to use my creative parenting techniques (lying with a straight face). Just enough time until he’s old enough where I can just simply reason with him and add, “Because I said so.” At 4 that may or may not work at the time and if I’m in a hurry I’m not willing to take the chance of it ending badly.
Here are a couple of others that I’ve found to be effective:
“Make sure and brush your teeth VERY well because those sugar bugs are real and will turn your teeth in to rotten pirate teeth. Want me to show you some pictures on the computer?” Thankfully he can’t spell yet because I type in “bottle rot”. “Ya see?”
“And turn off the cartoons before your brain turns to mashed potatoes.”
”If you put flaxseed in your oatmeal, your brain gets smarter.”
”Did you know that if you have soda this young, you can actually start shrinking?”
”We can’t get another cat because dad is allergic.” (Not true even though he tried to convince me of that for the first 8 years of our marriage. More like, “We can’t get another cat because the last cat was a wild beast who destroyed our furniture, chased after boney ankles and enjoyed coming up behind you and nipping at your earlobes.” “Allergic” shuts it down quick with this kid who enjoys trying to find answers for why a different cat won’t do that. )
So in the end, I’m proud to be a liar to my 4 year old.