Friday, January 02, 2009

Children, and the lies we tell them

I enjoyed almost an hour of peace and quiet today while shopping at Fry's. Not literally, of course - the grocery store was just as bustling and noisy as usual, but my ears were almost ringing from the personal "silence" I experienced because Miriam was not with me. She and Jeremy stayed at home to watch a movie about Tinkerbell.

Bless her heart, Miriam is 3 years old and she loves to talk. Half the time, I find that I'm answering her questions and responding to her observations without even really processing what she's saying. It's all part of an unending stream of toddler commentary that forms the soundtrack of my life. I really should pay more attention, though, because when I don't, I find myself blindsided with gems like:

"Mama, is our house going to burn down soon, or not?"

In the quiet of the grocery store this evening, I overheard another mom with kids in the same aisle as me. It was the cereal/toy aisle (grocery stores are smart like that), and the mom's 2-year-oldish boy was making it very obvious that he wanted some of those toys. She waved her hand dismissively at the whole wall of toys and said, "they're all broken, sweetie." I knew exactly what she was trying to do, and it worked - the boy quieted right down and didn't make any more fuss about the toys.

Don't we all lie to our children, at least on occasion? Perhaps "lie" isn't the best word. We just represent the truth creatively in order to accomplish a certain end. I think the grocery store lady's tactic was a little extreme - those toys really aren't broken, not by any stretch of the imagination - but I can understand why she said that.

With Miriam, I tend to just tell her that whatever unreasonable item she wants is not on a good sale, and it really works. The best part is that it's usually true, too, though I'm occasionally held accountable if she sees the Fry's ad and notices a big red SALE icon by, say, Lucky Charms.

Do you lie to your children?

4 comments:

Liz Johnson said...

I try not to, but I too find myself coming up with "creative" ways to not get things. I like your "not on sale" thing, though. That's a really good idea.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any children yet, but I find myself remembering a great lie my mom told my sister. My family was driving me from our home in NC to Ohio State one year when my sister was still fairly little. She was complaining bitterly about the Appalachians because her ears were popping as we drove through them. Finally, my mom told her that we were no longer in the Appalachians and that any mountains she saw from there on out were just incidental mountains. Amazingly, my sister believed her and quieted down.

Hannah

Kristen said...

The mom in the store cracked me up too! I can totally picture it. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that sometimes I tell Madelyn something is all gone, when there is really plenty more but she can't have any more. That's pretty benign, I think. She's not quite old enough to understand chocolate milk restraint unless there simply isn't any more.

Bridget said...

Hannah, I think that is one of the funniest things I've ever heard. "Incidental mountains," indeed. Your mom is clever.

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