Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Why do kids lie?

This weekend Jessica did something that I don't understand. I am sure all kids lie at some point. The lying with her just started... This weekend in Maine, everyone was getting readied up to head to the Common Ground Fair, and life was good. Jessie showed me her wrist, where her little wrist "ankle" is, and it was bleeding.

"I bumped myself on something I guess..." she said when I asked her how she hurt herself.

I also noticed a long streak of missing hair in a trough of shaved clean flesh running from her elbow down to this little cut.

It was pretty damn obvious what happened. I asked her why she shaved her arm, and she got indignant. "I didn't shave my arm! I bumped it on something," she pretended to be hurt that I would accuse her of such a thing.

Uh, yeah. Bumping always cuts a nice little nic on your body. Flesh just splits open all the time people they bump body parts on something. Sure... I'm buying THAT!

I knew she was lying and asked her why she insisted on lying. Doug looked at her wrist and asked her why she was lying. She insisted again and again that she wasn't.

This went on for quite a while. Then, the evidence started rolling in: white blonde hair on Michelle's razor in the shower (Michelle was grossed out, saying "I don't have ANY blonde hair ANYWHERE on my body!"); bloodied toilet paper in the bathroom; blood on the inside of the shower curtain; blood on the soap on the bathroom sink. She was so overwhelmingly evidenced out, and super busted, and she knew it but she kept up the lie.

I told her plain and simple that I didn't mind if she was experimenting with a razor, that I was sympathetic that she cut herself and whatnot... that didn't make me mad at all. What I was mad at was her lying to me. Boldfaced. Straight in the eye against all evidence. Lying.

We called her Jessica Clinton. She didn't like that.

Jessica Condit didn't make her happy either.

She held fast to this lie even though we assured her that she wasn't going to get in trouble or be punished at all...

We just wanted the truth, so we decided to go a different route.

We told her that I was going to stay home with her, and she was going to stand with her face to the kitchen wall until she was ready to just simply admit what she did and apologize for lying for hours... and making everyone late for the fair. Everyone went to get into the car, I sat down to read a book, and she finally turned to me and said "Mom, I lied. I cut my arm using Michelle's razor. I'm sorry I lied."

That was a relief. Why was it that hard to tell the truth. I mean, we're good parents (see below for a contradiction... ha!) and we have never beaten her for doing anything wrong, even if it was stupid.

I wasn't mad that she did it. I remember when I was a little older than she is now I took my dad's razor and shaved my legs. I cut myself very badly in the shin, (start cringing now as I describe...) folding a stretch of flesh up like an accordion on my left shinbone. It hurt like hell. I was in the shower and it bled like a slaughtered cow. It burned, it sent shock waves of stinging, paralyzing death pain up my leg. It was over 20 years ago and I still can FEEL it.

It was a stupid mistake. I covered it up a lot better than she did though... I put a big bandaid on my shin and wore pants. I'm not sure if my parents ever knew.

But seeing that she got caught red handed (no pun intended) I am not sure what compelled her to lie to me. She rarely gets in trouble when she does something stupid if she's got a good answer. But lying or saying things like 'I don't know' when she gets confronted with an issue is a new phenomenon for her. She used to justify everything she did with an arguement as to why she did it and why she was right to do it. I always thought she'd make a good lawyer. Now she'll make a great politician.

I told her to get in the car, we went to the fair. I explained to her that I was disappointed in the lying because it has got to stop. I told her that nothing hurts me or makes me more out of control angry than lying, and assured her that as long as she's honest with me, even if she does something heinous, she's all set.

The truth should set everyone free.

I'm hoping that honesty is something she can start using. I think we are incredibly honest with the kids, and with each other right in front of the kids (no lying about "yeah that dress makes you look real skinny!"), and we try to give great role model stature to the kids. Not sure whether we're letting her watch too much nightly news where she gets to see that lying sometimes gets people pretty far.

I have a feeling we're in for it with her... we shall see.

Speaking of Seeing... My eye is doing okay, thanks to all of you who've emailed me and asked how it went with the doctor.

By the way, this isn't a picture of MY eye. it's an eyeball I found online and I made it look like mine. Brown with nasty red lines. I didn't want to take an actual picture of it, so I am expressing myself through Art.

I got a tetanus shot (my doctor jokingly pointed out "hey, you don't need another one of those until you're 44! Isn't that great!" Shut up, Curt!) and he put some crazy blue dye in my eye and looked at it with a blacklight. It showed I had a "defect" in the eye, and another small surface scratch. So Doc prescribed an eye drop antibiotic which I'm supposed to put into my eye every 3 hours... of course I forgot to bring it to work with me today so I have only had 2 doses of it. It feels infinitely better than 24 hours ago though, when I thought my eye was going to fall right out of my head. Even after just a couple of doses it feels SO much better. Huzzah!

I stated earlier that I believed Doug and I are pretty good parents. For the most part... yeah, I truly believe that. But stupid things happen. So far no one has suffered bodily injury from our stupidity, but day after day I wonder when that will actually happen.

Yesterday Doug took a nap and Geoff took that time as opportunity to flood the bathroom by stuffing bathroom items into the sink and turning the water on. Jessica sat on the couch, with the bathroom in full (peripheral) view and solid earshot (except that the TV tunneled her vision and hearing to its magic brainwashing spell, preventing her from seeing the carnage happening in the commode area).

So when I got home, Doug was freaking out, water was everywhere, Jessica had been sent to her room for once again ignoring the doings of her brother, and, Geoff was grounded for life. I can't help but think Doug shouldn't ever EVER take an after work nap, but he does it daily and something always happens. This was the worst ever. And I wanted to say 'Hey, dumbass. Don't leave The Boy unattended, and DON'T trust a 9 year old who lies about shaving her arms to be in charge of paying attention to said Boy when Spongebob Squarepants is on. When are you gonna learn, damnit!"

But I held my tounge and cleaned up while he whipped dinner together. He had to be somewhere at 7pm and I didn't want to get his blood pressure up before he had to go sit for 2 hours in a meeting.

Our floors are nice and clean though. I used all our clean towels to mop up. Looks pretty good...

And as for me, I admit I screw up sometimes. Geoff and I both slept a little late this morning and Doug was still getting ready for the day. Normally Doug takes Geoff to preschool, but because I knew Geoff wouldn't be ready in 15 minutes I offered to take him. We got ready at a leisurely pace, and I put Geoff in the car to leave. I was driving along, and when I was nearly AT MY OFFICE, Geoff asked if we could listen to music instead of the news.

Note the Bold CAPITALIZATION above. Where am I right now?

Not at preschool... I'm at my office, in completely the opposite direction from the preschool. I am with my kid who is supposed to be at said preschool.

Holy mother of mergatroid. I totally forgot my kid is in the car.

I put him in the vehicle. I watched as he buckled himself into the middle seat... I drove to work. What the heck?

It isn't like I've got a lot on my mind or something, it is just so routine of me to pull out of my driveway and proceed to the office and not to preschool.

And the real ass kicker in this is that Geoff is a backseat driver. Normally he immediately tells me which way to turn when I pull out of the driveway. He gives me directions to daycare. "Turn that way, mom." "Yes Miss Daisy."

This morning he sat quietly... and didn't say a damn thing. Sometimes I might take a slightly alternative route to get somewhere, like the grocery store or something, and he starts yelling. When I turned the wrong way, I have no idea what stopped him from yelling "Hey, not this way!" the way he normally does. Amazing. So his teacher was surprised that he was so late... I told her and she laughed, at least someone finds me amusing.

I got to work at like 9:00 instead of 8:30...

At least I realized my mistake before I made it all the way to the parking garage, and I didn't leave him in the car. I now totally understand parents who are normal humans who screw up and forget their kids are in the car. I used to think they were retards (I still do when their kids die from heat stroke...) I'm lucky it wasn't one of those days when it was so hot and I'm lucky he said something. Things could have been a lot worse. I got an extra half hour with the Boy this morning and we listened to "Drive Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder" by Brian Setzer Orchestra three times driving back to where we were supposed to be.

I have other stories that I could tell but your opinion of me as a human and as a mother would greatly deteriorate, and you'd call the DYS to have my kids taken away from me, so I won't bother confessing them here. Especially one of them, which also concerns Geoff and a car. But we'll leave it at that. Whew!

Okay! Gotta get to work... My honesty is embarrassing me right now and on the borderline of incriminating me...

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