Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lies I Tell My Children

"I had to pass a test before they allowed me to become a mommy," I told Julia as I put her to bed tonight. "I had to go to a big arena with a dirt floor, and do battle with whatever they chose." So began a tall tale that started with me fighting a bunny with fangs and ended with me hog tying a two year old to get a diaper on, all for the prize of getting to be Julia's mommy.

She listened to the story, giggled in all the right places and, in the end, said "You're just kidding, right? Right?"

It's a phrase she repeats a dozen times a day, because I am a big fat liar. I tease them constantly, partly because I like to think they enjoy it, and partly because I have such fond memories of being teased myself. I never actually thought my dad would hang me in the closet from my toenails, any more than my kids believe we're having monkey brains for dinner.

I tell them white lies to make my job easier. Certain stores have odd hours, Grandma works a LOT, the grocery store was out of sugared cereal. It's these lies that my husband strongly disagrees with. He's more 'be honest and help them learn disappointment', while I'm more 'lie and avoid crying.' Our willingness to lie, it seems, is directly proportionate to the amount of time we spend with the kids.

I lie to maintain the magic. I keep waiting for Katie to ask hard questions about certain special people. She's in 5th grade and I know at least half her classmates have lost their belief in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and even the super creepy Easter Bunny. But Katie is still all in. With so many things about her changing, I am desperate to hang on to this bit of little-kidness. To read the notes she leaves tucked under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy, the careful list she's made for Santa. I don't want her to lose that - I don't want to lose that, not yet.

The Husband is convinced she knows and is playing along for my benefit. 'Oh no!' I say, 'She couldn't possibly be...'

"Honey," he says, breaking it to me gently, as if I'm the child, "She's lying to you."



    I am so not looking forward to the loss of magic. I think my 2nd grader is already playing along for my benefit. *sob* Not fair.

  2. My parents did and still do Santa Claus for my brother and I. I honestly can't remember ever truly believing in Santa, but it was always magical anyway.

    I'm pretty brutally honest with the kids when there's a lesson they need to learn - but I'm totally all for teasing the crap out of them.

  3. Oh, it spun around to bite you! Oh, I was the complete opposite, but I am a scientist and that's just me.

  4. Marianne, I think eventually they do just play along for our benefit. It's kind of sweet.

    Erin, my dad delighted in teasing us as kids, a tradition I proudly carry on!

    Boston, science IS magic, as far as I'm concerned.

  5. That is wHy we wear tHose funny Hats and laBORatory coats and pens in pocket protectors, to appear to be magical. No, wait, tHat's just tHe required garb. We wear tHat to appear magnificent. I get tHose mag's mixed up sometimes. If you want to be botH at tHe same time, tHat would be magnificentickle.

  6. kelly, love this post. one of your best.