Are there pants on fire in your house?
Growing up, my grandmother called me "Fibber McGee". Guess why? I was a teller of tall tales.
The majority of lies we've caught our children spouting are harmless, and yet, lying is lying. We're not jiggy with it.
Only, it's not just the children who dabble in falsehood. The adults who run this joint have been known to stretch the truth now and again.
Oh, you haven't?
There was that special "Monster Spray" I used years ago to eradicate the pesky nocturnal creatures that invaded my daughter's room at bedtime - crouching under her crib (Go ahead, make my day!), lurking in her closest (Wait'll they get a load of me!), and tucking themselves away in her dresser drawers ready to party hearty (I'm gonna get you, sucka!). That spray, which I invented, (although I'm sure it comes in an assortment of home-made varieties, unique to each family), did the trick. A few squirts and voila!
When the dust had settled from the liquid shoot-out, Mom had lied, the monsters were evaporated, and my kid slept.
I hadn't thought about this for years until a few nights ago when my son NEEDED Daddy to snuggle in bed because his "legs were hurting". While we have certainly experienced our share of honest to goodness growing pains (no matter how much a former pediatrician of mine said there was no such thing), I was pretty sure that this particular round of leg cramps was a ruse to manipulate my husband into hunkering down with the little man until he (or, more likely, both) fell asleep.
I stayed out out of it.
Secretly, I wanted to see if my husband would cave.
Instead, I overheard the following:
"I've been waiting to give these to you, Zane. No one else in the house has these special sleeping socks or this special mask, so take good care of them. I think you are old enough to have them."
"WOW! Thanks, Dad!"
I entered the room to find my son decked out in the "sleep socks" we'd been given on a Virgin Atlantic flight to London back in 2000. Covering my son's eyes? An eye mask. I'd forgotten that we'd kept our packs of these amenities after being pampered as Upper Class passengers, compliments of my Dad who knew the right peeps to get us bumped up from Coach.
Cue Mom: "George! You gave Zane the sleep kit? Do you think he's ready for it? He's only 5!"
I'm sorry. I have a background in improv. It is impossible for me NOT to play along.
"Jo, I think he can handle it. Zane, this is a huge privilege and responsibility."
I left the boys and went to make sure Harper was ready for bed. She had overheard everything.
"Mom, you just lied to Zane!"
"Well, um, yeah. But, by any chance do you remember the Monster Spray?"
"Ohhhhhh. This is kind of like that." (Laughter. Pause.) "But you guys still lied."
Yep. We did.
The next morning, Zane ran into our room.
"Dad, the special socks and mask worked AWESOME!"
What lies do you tell your children?
Call a spade a spade. Rename them for your comfort if it makes you feel better: fibs, tiny fabrications, white lies, etc. But, at the root, they are LIES. Pure and simple.
I'm a "Fibber McGee" and you're a "Fibber McGee".
And that's the truth.
Joline Pinto Atkins is a former actress who now uses the web as her world-wide stage and can be founding writing at www.thecuppajo.blogspot.com, www.fithwithjo.com, and www.pittsburghmom.com as the Soccer Mommy Blogger. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 9 and 5, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she sweats out any daily angst by running (not with sharp objects) and weightlifting, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.