Like many parents, I spend my time trying to dually cope with the present —“Mom, the dog just threw up something that looks like a Barbie”—and the future —“Mom, this is my boyfriend… we call him ‘Dog.’” Mostly I worry about the middle of the night phone calls. Not the ones bearing tragic news, God forbid. No, I worry mostly about the ones that begin with “Mom, I need bail money.”
Now, I have truly great children. Kind, generous, loving and honest…to a point. But as of late, the Ladybug has been bending the truth to suit her will. And by “bending,” I mean saying the complete opposite of what is true. It’s little things here and there, but non-truths roll so easily off her tongue it’s alarming.
“Ladybug, did you wash your hair in the shower?”
This is the part where we give her the benefit of the doubt.
“Really? Because it’s really tangled.”
Okay, you did not just tell me a lie when I gave you a second chance.
“I’m smelling your head and I can tell you definitely DID NOT wash your hair.”
Instant tears. “Well I didn’t want you to be maaaaad at me and you told me to tuuuuuuurn the waaaaaaater off and I diiiiiiiiiid and I didn’t have tiiiiiiiiiime”.
It is true that I told her to turn off the water. After 15 minutes in the shower. And two warnings that time was running out. But she pulls out the most trusted evasive maneuver well-loved by juvenile delinquents everywhere: “I didn’t want you to be mad at me.” Thereby making it whose fault? You guessed it. Mine. Of course it is. If only she could trust that when she informs me that she’s not washed her hair I am not going to send her and her skunky head of hair packing, then she wouldn’t be forced to take such drastic measures. Bad mommy.
Now I suppose I could use this moment to be introspective. Reflect on my ability to roll with the little unexpected surprises and disappointments that parenting brings us, and determine if my temper is appropriate in such cases. But I won’t. I am a mom. I have a limited amount of time, patience and wine and if I ask you to shower, I expect that means you will wash your hair. And if you have not washed your hair, I expect that you will tell me such.
Do I think I’ve seen the end of this?
Now who’s lying?