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Liar, liar, pants on fire – again

Submitted by on Monday, 11 January 2010 No Comment

“Mommy! Superman’s face is all black. What did he do to it?” Big Guy demanded indignantly, thrusting the toy under my nose.

Sure enough, there now was a chunk of dark plastic where a face and nose used to be. Part of the S was missing, and a few toes were gone as well.

Boots skulked in a corner.

“Well?” I asked. “What happened?”

“I dunno. Nothing?”

“No, this is not nothing,” I said, nearly confusing myself with the grammar. “Tell me what happened.”

“Nothing,” he said, jutting out his chin defiantly. “I can’t remember.”

“Then go sit in your room and think about it until you can.”

Boots, of course, knew full well what had happened. I suspected it had something to do with the scraping sounds we’d heard down the hall moments earlier. Superman appeared to have a case of floor-induced road burn.

But like he has so many time of late, Boots chose the path of prevarication even though he knew he was on a dangerous road. “Just tell me the truth and you won’t get in trouble for it,” I’ll say. “If you lie, though, you will get in trouble.”

He’s not convinced yet.

“Mommy! The hamster knocked down her house.” Never mind that the house was firmly affixed to the side of the cage and, last time I checked, Eloise Laptop CheezIt did not have opposable thumbs.

“Mommy! Brother peed all over the bathroom and made it messy!” Never mind that Big Guy was at school at the time and had been for hours.

Then there was my favorite: “Mommy! A sharp thing fell off the tree and opened a present.”

In a way it’s kind of cute what the 4-year-old mind can conjure up, thinking it will pass adult muster. I chuckle to myself at times, knowing how impressed he must be with my Mom Super Powers that allow me to see through his carefully crafted tales.

You can’t take it too seriously, because it really is a phase. He’s trying to avoid trouble, so he spins a yarn based on the way he wishes it had happened instead of the way it really did.

Still, you have to take it seriously enough to call them out on it or else you set a precedent that lets them think they can get away with anything. If they think they can get away with anything, they’ll try to get away with everything by the time they’re teens.

It took two trips to his room for Boots to tell us why Superman suddenly looked like Two Face.

“Sowwy,” he said to Big Guy, eyes downcast.

To his credit, Big Guy decided to play the magnanimous older brother. “It’s OK. I don’t like Superman that much anyway.”

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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