The wife took the kids for a play date yesterday with some friends from her work. It’s always great to get them out of the house and around other kids, so Jen was happy to accept the invite. The only problem was the timing of the toddler mixer, scheduled for noon. We’ve done our best to keep Iz and the Jakester on schedules and noon is normally lunch time, followed closely behind by naps. But an opportunity to hang with people who aren’t two and half feet tall wass hard for the wife to pass up, so throwing the schedule into a blender and pressing puree’ was a reasonable sacrifice.
After nearly three hours of running, jumping, laughing, running again, screaming, eating, and running a little bit more; Jen packed the kids into the baby-mobile and headed home. Having thoroughly jarred the routine out of them, and the crazy into them, I arrived home from work at 5:00pm to a house of madness.
Izzy was teetering on the edge of sanity having had no nap all day long. She was like a miniature version of Sybil. Running through the house singing Disney channel chants, she was deliriously happy; only to completely melt down moments later when a cheerio dropped to the floor. Jake on the other hand, was clinging to Jen like she was the last life vest on a sinking ship. She had managed to lay him down for about 45 minutes, which left him groggy and rather emotional.
The best part was that Jen was going out to dinner with some friends so I was left to manage multiple-personality girl and glued-to-the-hip boy all by my lonesome. While Jen and I sat talking in the living room before her friends arrived to pick her up, Izzy was being especially impatient with the fact that we were not paying attention to her. She ran from one end of the room to the other several times, screaming as she zipped past us, then brought over one of her cups that was lying on the floor and asked for juice.
Having chugged multiple cups full of juice already that afternoon, the answer was a collaborative “no” from the wife and I. She was persistent though. She continued to ask as we continued to ignore. Finally, in a moment of frustration, I took the cup from her hand, made a gesture as if I was trying to open it but could not, and said, “Sorry Iz, you can’t have any juice right now because the cup won’t open.” She looked at me, head cocked slightly to one side, and accepted my false reasoning without hesitation.
Jen and I looked at each other and shared a slight chuckle, like we had just gotten away with something that we never should have. The rest of the evening went surprisingly well; the kids avoided any major tantrums and were in bed and quiet long before Jen arrived back home. The whole time though, I kept thinking about that little white lie I told Iz just to get out of that situation, and how many others we’ve told, or will tell in the future. That’s when I came up with this; a brief list of commonly used lies by parents in order to avoid situations, awkward moments, or potential meltdowns.
“We can’t play/use/watch that right now, it’s not working.”: This may be the easiest, most generic lie we use. It may also be the most common since it can be brought out for so many occasions. It also has several variations, making it adaptable to virtually any dilemma. This was essentially what I used on Izzy with the juice issue.
“We’ll play that/use that/watch that/go there tomorrow, ok?”: This one is more of a delay-the-inevitable kind of move. If your kids are anything like Izzy, it won’t get you out of doing whatever it is they want to do, it will only delay it a day. I learned this after I told Iz one evening that it was getting dark and we couldn’t go play on the swings but that we could do it tomorrow. I wasn’t really planning on going to the swings tomorrow, but figured 11 hours of sleep would be enough to make her forget. Apparently, she has the memory of an elephant because the first thing she said to me that next morning was “swings!”.
“You don’t want to eat that, that’s yucky!”: Sure, we use this sometimes to keep kids away from dangerous or inedible things, but that’s not when you use it the most is it? No, we use this one when we are eating something so yummy, we don’t want to have to share any with our offspring. So we make a face like it’s the worst food known to the man, and the little ones are too naive to think, “if it’s so yucky, why is he going back for seconds?” I know, it’s sad…but true.
“Sorry sweetheart, I don’t know where that toy is.”: Sure I do. But that toy she so desperately wants to play with has about 82 pieces that are just slightly smaller than a penny and her little brother is going to attempt to break a world record by putting them all in his mouth at once. So we’re not going to play with that toy right now because I’ve moved it out of sight. Perhaps it will make an appearance again someday when the Jakester is out of the I-will-eat-anything-my-sticky-little-hands-can-grab stage.
“I don’t know, go ask your mother/father.”: The classic deferment method. You find yourself in a situation where the answer to a question that has just been posed to you will either a) bring on an awkward follow-up question, b) lead to your child hating you for the next couple of hours or c) put you smack in the middle of a conversation you didn’t think you’d have for another few years. You can feel the beads of sweat forming along your brow. You swallow repeatedly, like that involuntary reaction your body has when it realizes it’s about to vomit. Then you realize you have this little while lie in your holster that you haven’t used in a very long time. You know you are going to pay for it later when the parent who is forced to actually deal with the situation comes looking for you, but you don’t care about that. Not at this moment. You sigh with relief as he/she walks away in search of your spouse, but know that one day, when you least expect it, they’ll be searching for you instead.
What other little white lies do we use on our little ones? What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told your kids to get out of an awkward situation?