I’m no saint, but I never really considered myself a “liar”, per se. Oh sure, there have been the occasions of withholding information, or only telling a half truth, like when my friend’s skirt is way too tight, but I say she looks great. And yet now that I’m a parent, the phase that is the most critical test of my moral core, that I find myself not just skirting the truth, but tossing it aside completely.
When my son was younger, around three-years-old, he developed a habit of fidgeting with the car door handle and lock. Of course the child safety latch was set, but the fiddling still bothered me. So I would hit the door lock button from the captain’s seat. He was instantly mesmerized by this, and I explained that Mommy knew magic, and if I waved my hand I could make the door lock. This actually became a happy pastime while driving in the car, until the novelty finally wore off.
Soon, I moved on to bigger acts of deceit. About this same time, Connor had a fascination with rolie polie bugs. He stopped at every singe rolie polie to look at them and say “hello” or “good morning.” To my dismay, each morning as we were leaving the house for work and preschool, there was a march of the rolie polies across our driveway. And I mean hundreds of them.
Thus began my adventure in the parental lying trap. “Honey, leave the rolie polies alone, they’re on their way to rolie polie school, and they’re going to be late.” What do you know, it actually worked. In no time, we were in the car and he was waving goodbye to the rolie polie army in the driveway. YES! It was all the reinforcement I needed. I expanded upon the theme when we got home in the evening, by explaining that the rolie polies were being called by their rolie polie Mommies to come home for dinner. I was now in the throes of a full-fledged parental lying addiction.
I think I reached the pinnacle of Liar’s Mountain yesterday. Connor and I were in the car, and I happened to glance over my shoulder to look at him. UGH!! His finger was in his nose, a conversation we have had on more than one occasion. “Get your finger OUT of your nose!”
“Why,” he asks.
Without blinking, I respond, “because boogers are afraid of fingers, and they will climb way up your nose to get away from them. They like tissue and kleenex because they’re soft, and they won’t run away from them.”
Did I just tell my five-year-old that boogers are afraid of fingers? Did I just attribute a personality to mucous, dust, and pollen? Yes, yes I did (hanging my head in shame). Even my sometimes morally questionable husband said, “you didn’t really say that, did you?”
Hey, don’t judge. Life is so complicated, and I will unabashedly reach into my Mom toolkit anytime I need to. Sometimes being a parent is like suiting up for battle. You put on your armor and drag out your arsenal and you get through the day, over and over, one day at a time.
Besides, I’m way more worried about having to come clean about Santa Claus someday.