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February 22, 2009

Mommy's Little Liar

Mail.google.com My son is a liar.  He lies about everything.  He's been this way for years, but only recently has he gotten good at it.  For a long time he telegraphed his lies with a smile.  His little sister is in that entertaining stage right now.  She starts off with a straight face, but as soon as she finishes the lie, her mouth creeps into a big grin, and as she tries to stop it, she usually collapses into giggles.

But sometime in the past six months or so, my seven-year-old improved his technique.  Perhaps he's been practicing in a mirror, perhaps he's been attending seminars at recess, or perhaps it just comes with age.  The smile is gone, and in its place is a face worthy of the World Poker Tour.  His delivery is better, but the actual lies still need work.  I've caught him lying about whether or not he put on deodorant or brushed his teeth (both of which I can usually "sniff out" pretty easily).  When he's found money on my bedside table and put it in his own bank, he's stared me in the eye and said "I found it outside.  I'm not joking.  Why don't you believe me?"

When he doesn't want to go to Tae Kwon Do he tells me that his instructor is getting an operation, and he forgot to relay the message.  He's told me his stomach hurt before school enough times that I sent him in with a real tummy ache once, sure that he was lying.  I got a call an hour later that he had thrown up in art class.

There is nothing too large or too small to lie about.  He's lied about not having homework because his teacher was in a good mood, getting a $1,000 bonus from the tooth fairy, being "discovered" on the playground by someone who knows The Naked Brothers Band, that he knows how to blow a bubble even though he doesn't chew gum, that he made his bed, and that he's been to Hawaii.  Big or small, he stands behind each one. 

Of course he still sometimes slips in another way.  He doesn't realize that coming up to me out of the blue and saying things like "I didn't take the muffin from the counter" or "I didn't move your laptop" is a pretty good way to get caught doing something I didn't even know had been done.

We punish him, and we lecture him about honor and trust (a punishment in itself), but in the end I don't really care.  Sure, it would be nice to be able to believe him, but I lied all the time when I was a kid, and I turned out OK.  I'm not going to claim that I never lie now, because that would be a big fat one.  But I grew out of lying all the time just to see what I could get away with.  My kids will too.  Until then I have to keep sniffing armpits and stay in close contact with their teachers.  And never, ever leave money lying around.

This is an original post to NYC Moms Blog. Amy also edits the NYC section of Famplosion, blogs about parenting in Brooklyn while keeping herself sane and comfortable at Selfish Mom, and attempts to keep one step ahead of the stalkers and paparazzi at Filming in Brooklyn.

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