…and why we all do it!
I walk into my daughter’s room yawning theatrically. Thankfully its winter because there is no way I could get away with this one at 5:55am in summer. She’s been calling out for about 5 minutes now, letting me and the rest of the house know that’s she’s ready to get out of bed and I need to execute my strategy quickly before she get’s passed the point of no return, when no amount of convincing, growling or bribery will keep her there.
“Sweety, you need [yawwwwwwwn] to go back to sleep. It’s the middle of the night”
“But I’m not sleepy Daddy. I want to get up and watch my TV”
“Sweety [rub eyes and yawn again] it’s way to early for that. Your TV won’t be on for ages”
I can see the dark grey blue light through a crack in the curtains and subtly draw them closed while I push her gently back down to sleep. As she starts to protest I give her a little shhhhh, find her teddies and start to tuck her in.
“…but Daddy, I’m not sleepy”
“shhhhhhh sweety, its still night time, off to sleep now and we’ll watch TV together soon”
I brush her softly on the head and notice her curling up again. I’m sure she’s trying to reconcile her state of awakeness with the fact it’s apparently 3 o’clock in the morning but this morning I’m the winner. I’ve played the bluff and got away with it as I shut the door, walk quietly back down the hall and jump into the shower to get ready for work.
And there it is. One of the more often used lies I say to my daughter. As regular as “Peppa Pig would eat/do/clean/help with that” or “I have no idea where the Bambi book is”.
It’s not the fact that I want to go back to bed that inspired this performance. No, it’s that I can’t be bothered looking after kids in the one hour I get to myself each day. Where I can watch the news, eat breakfast, walk around in my boxers and then quietly slip out of the house before my wife gets up and deals with our two little human cyclones for the rest of the day.
Little white lies are a part of parenting in the Illiterate household. There’s times when it’s just easier to bend the truth than go through the pain and anguish of saying no and then having to explain and justify it. It’s wrong, it’s hypocritical to expect honesty when I fib daily but it works. I’ve got others as well like;
- “Sorry sweety, ‘In the night garden’ finished ages ago and we’re late for bed now”
- “No we can’t go to the park today because its broken”
- “I have no idea where that whistle you were given for your birthday is”
- “I’m as surprised as you are that ABC for kids isn’t working but [insert program of your choice] is”
- “Yes. It looks like the battery on Daddy’s iPad is flat again”
- “No sweety, we’ve run out of [insert sugar laden food you shouldn’t feed your child]”
- and the old standby… “Because your mum said you couldn’t”
I know that the lies I’m telling now will only work for so long. My children will soon be able to read, tell time, turn smart phones on and charge them and generally see through my clever ruse. I’d love to know, from parents of older kids, if the lies get more complicated or you just resign yourself to having to explain everything.
So how about it? Are you painfully honest or a little bit of a truth re-aligner with your kids? If you’re the latter, what are your favourite fibs? What works, what used to work and doesn’t now?