Tuesday, August 26, 2008

. . . pants on fire . . . .

The Boy has begun to lie.

As I think about telling you this latest episode of parenting triumph and failure, I am keenly aware that my days are numbered. He'll learn to read this year, and then I'll have two editors, two little sets of eyes peeking over my shoulder and checking what I am writing. Even now, the fuel for "Conversations with Samuel" is dwindling down. He's growing up fast.

Yesterday was quite a day. The first lie was so obvious that it made me angry. He lost gaming privileges for the day. The second was of this variety: "Did you do this?"
"No. I don't know who did that."
(long stare) "Samuel . . . . "
"Ok, it was me." (pouts)
And then, dear reader, I made the gravest of parental mistakes. So help me, I started to laugh. I disguised it as a coughing fit and ran for the bathroom, and Stuart took over the stern lecture bit. Then I had to go back to collect all his scissors (yes, he's been naughty) and asked him for the newest pair. "Where are they? Give them to me."
(he goes over to the small spiderman couch, lifts it up, and grabs the scissors)
"You hid them under the couch?"
"I don't know how they got there!"
(another long stare) "Samuel . . . "
"Ok, I hid them." (cue the tears - darn, that kid has my number)

I'm trying to see this latest act of defiance as proof of progress - my compliant boy is growing up. And I know that the lies are a very normal thing for this age - a normal stage all children go through. This does not bother me. He will learn that this is not acceptable behavior (a week without video games will help get that lesson across) and will move on.

What alarms me is that I am so amused by his very lame lies. I can see right through him, and I find it so funny. I've got to get my Mom Game Face back, but I'm not sure where I left it. Perhaps this is proof of my progress as a parent - back in the day, Sally's lying stage enraged me. I've passed through anger into amusement. I'm handing out punishments without feeling that righteous thrill of justice, but with a feeling of sympathetic companionship. Yep, I've lied too. It's a hard lesson to learn, but we'll get through this.

Cripes! What has motherhood done to me?


Sherry C said...

I remember my own similar reactions. They're just such terrible liars, aren't they? I often found myself fighting the urge to teach them how to lie better! How's that for good parenting?

As far as over-the-shoulder editing goes, I have had to become fairly strict on the whole, "It's not polite to read over someone's shoulder unless you have been invited to do so" routine.

alison said...

Eden's a really convincing liar. She has said, "Mom, the truth's hard for me! It's easy for Ren (her cousin and constant companion)." We're working on it...at times swallowing laughter too.

Anonymous said...

I will dearly miss Conversations with Samuel . . . But I am sure it will be followed by something equally joyful :o)

geekyhistorian said...

Aw, Conversations with Samuel needn't go away! : /

But (even though I have yet to have a child) it would probably help if you didn't focus on how freaking cute The Boy is. Just focus on the lies....the LIES...

; D

Sheila said...

Thanks, friends! Your words of encouragement warm my heart! :) I'm happy to report that the gaming restriction is having it's effect: when he tells me he wants to play but knows he can't, I say, "Scissors are for paper, and you should not lie to me and Daddy." He mumbles "yeah I know" and walks away, sadly. Yesterday Sally took pity on him and they played Easter egg hunt for a about an hour.

Mean Strict Tito J said...

Remember when he took the chocolates into your room and explained that he was eating them in there to hide from you? Or when I found him standing in a fresh puddle of water, and he told me he wasn't playing with the forbidden hose; he was just filling things up? Maybe if you add up all his hysterically cute exploits, the next one won't bust you up so much.

Or just laugh out loud and punish him anyway. That's what I'd do. "Bwahahaha! Now go to your room."

Khalaf Haddad said...

I've found myself going through the same cycle - intolerant of the eldest's lies, more gentle in my approach with the next and outright amusement with the youngest. I think it has to do with our maturation as adults. We are hurt, horrified and offended when the first one breaks the trust, but by the time #3 gets into the act we just laugh as we've seen it before. I'm at the point where I'll laugh at the lame attempt and say, "You really think I'm that stupid to believe your story?" The only problem I've had with that approach is that the eldest can resent being whipped for something the youngest gets laughed at and talked to. Again, chalk it up to our continued development as parents. :-)


alison said...

Came back to read how you lowered the hammer. Eden's pants are in flames! I spoke with her teacher yesterday to enlist her help as I don't know what to believe in stories from school. She referred me to the school counselor to borrow some excellent books. I'll keep you posted. :)

You're a great mom, Sheila.