Now that I have a grandchild – the magnificent Max – I find it fascinating to watch my son and his wife parenting. They are totally engaged, endlessly patient, and creatively playful. I love watching them interact with the terrific toddler.
At what point will they begin practicing the parent’s all-purpose survival strategy: lying?
I have been thinking recently about various lies I have told my children, all of which I did to keep them safe. Okay, almost all. But they turned out great anyway. It doesn’t appear that we harmed them irreparably with our slight prevarications, and in fact may have reinforced some positive social values and personal behaviors.
Among the earliest lies we told had to do with magical creatures. All was excitement in the house when Avi lost his first tooth. Unfortunately, he swallowed it during his nap, meaning that there was nothing to leave under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Big brother Seth was so worried that TTF had flown over Avi’s room that he wrote a letter to inform her of what had transpired, and gave it to Joel to post. The next morning, both boys found a dollar under their respective pillows. Seth didn’t understand why he got a dollar when it was Avi who had lost the tooth. We told him that TTF wanted to reward him for being such a good brother. (The letter still sits in Joel’s top bureau drawer.)
As long as I am confessing, here a few other lies I told that may come in useful in the reader’s life:
The car won’t start if all the seatbelts aren’t fastened. (Safety)
I have eyes I the back of my head. That’s how I can see what you’re up to. (Security. I borrowed this one from my own mother.)
If I don’t give you hugs and kisses, you won’t grow. (Health)
Love is the secret ingredient in your favorite foods. (Home Economics)
Please share with me your favorite lies. And, don’t even begin to proclaim (lie?) that you’ve never done it.