Kids say the darnedest things, and I try my own darnedest to keep track of my firstborn’s comical anecdotes. One of the reasons I enjoy writing this column is to one day show him proof, a record of things he once said and did.
Sometimes kiddos say things in front of the wrong people, at the wrong time. But what’s more worrisome to me is when they don’t speak – the truth, that is.
My older son is sometimes honest to a fault. Once or twice, he’s been known to tell a room of strangers a little TMI about adventures in potty training. But we laugh, we shrug, we move on.
A week ago, my family all sat down to homemade pizza. Afterward, no sooner had I brought my own plate to the sink and returned, did he proudly show me his empty plate, insisting he finished.
As he raised his plate, I curiously raised an eyebrow. Our boy is speedy at many things – his big-wheel riding skills demonstrated in laps ‘round the kitchen would definitely put that Shining kid to shame – but eating a full dinner in record time? Definitely not one of those things.
I asked him if he finished, and he smiled and nodded. He proudly opened his mouth to show he scarfed down the last of his crust. I eyed his lap. Save for a few crumbs, he was in the clear.
No sooner had he given me the double-high five and fist bump as he geared up for a cookie, did my husband nudge me and quietly say, “Check the floor.”
There it was. The hidden crust, tucked under his chair.
My son had just told a lie.
I was shocked.
What does this mean? Where did my kid learn to lie?
After we briefly scolded him, we were still perplexed.
Later on that evening, I asked him to put away his ball as we picked up his toys for the evening. He said that he already had. But this time, I wasn’t going to be so gullible.
Nope, even after our long-winded truth chat, who was to say his Carters 4Ts weren’t on fire? I needed proof.
I asked him to walk with me to his playroom and show me.
Sure enough, he couldn’t find it. Aha!
He pointed to the floor, insisting that he had placed it right in that spot.
We stood there for a few moments, he with a puzzled look as I searched his face for an explanation, a confession.
But then in a moment of revelation, he walked across the room and lifted a play tunnel.
Out fell the ball; it had simply rolled out of view. The evidence.
I felt badly for making an issue of it. But I was more relieved that he was, in fact, telling the truth.
Hopefully his dinnertime lie was only little and white and not a forecast of fibs to come.
Because trust is hard to build. But for now, the case is dismissed. I’ll gladly instead take his potty narratives. At least it’s the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me, God.
— Michelle Cote is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist who enjoys cooking, gardening, design, and living room dance-offs with her husband, son, and puppy dog. She can be reached at email@example.com.