By Heather O.
Last year, I blogged about my 9 year old lying to me. It was a pretty dramatic event, as his lie turned a minor offense into something much, much more.
Many of you recommended that I read “Nurture Shock”, and I did. It was excellent, informative, interesting. Every parent should read this book. I took to heart many of the things the book said, most notably that they did studies that proved that while something like 95% of parents think their children never lie, close to 80% of children have, at one point, lied. Think your kid is always honest? Yeah, do the math.
Last weekend, I visited The Wiz in AZ. And as you know, I’m used to soggy weather, so the desert made my water-fat body go, “Um, WHAT?” Most notably, my lips got so chapped, I bought some Bert’s Bees medicated lip balm with pomegranate oil in the airport on the way home. It looks like red chapstick. I have never bought this before. (The pomegranate oil is important to the rest of the story, as is the fact that I have never before purchased such an item.) Little Sister is obsessed with all things make-up, particularly lipstick, and as she has seen me use the lip balm this week, she invariably asks for some.
Lately, Little Sister has been unbearably destructive, and it’s making me crazy. She pulled out my sewing stuff, tossing pins all over the ground. She pulled out all my hair rubber bands and bobby pins and mixed them with the clothes in my closet that she had pulled off all the shelves. (Where was I during all of this? I had the audacity to take a shower. She did this all in less than 10 minutes). So when I came downstairs this morning and saw the contents of my purse strewn about the playroom, my sunglasses broken (J had stepped on them as he ran into the room, because, you know, they were on the floor), and my credit cards and cash spread across the kitchen table, I had to take a deep cleansing breath.
But when I found the Bert’s Bees medicated lip balm with pomegranate oil smooshed into its cap, I lost it.
I called Little Sister into the room, and showed her the lip balm. From the book, I knew not to ask, “Did you do this?” so instead I said, “What happened here?” She mumbled some stuff, sort of shrugged, and avoided me. I called her attention back, and raising my voice, finally did say, “DID YOU DO THIS?” She started to cry, but still didn’t say anything that made sense. Finally, she said, “The toothpaste did it!”
It would have been funny if her answer hadn’t make me so mad. DH guffawed, though, as I said, “So you’re saying that the toothpaste grew legs, WALKED down the stairs, opened the lip balm, twisted it up, then smashed the cap back on to smoosh it down?”
With a tear streaked face, Little Sister nodded.
“Did the TOOTHPASTE also take out all my money and credit cards from my wallet and take everything out of my purse, too??” I asked her. She shook her head and said, “No, mommy, I did that. I clean it up!” and she scampered out and got everything together and brought it back to me. She was trying to be helpful, and maybe make me happy, because she knew I was mad, but I still wanted her to come clean about the lip balm.
“I’m pretty sure that the toothpaste didn’t ruin my lip balm, Little Sister.” She got agitated again, and accused everybody else in the family, including Maggie, the dog.
“I’m pretty sure the person responsible for this is you. And for not telling me the truth, you get a time out.”
So I picked her up as she wailed, and I put her in her room.
Then, on a whim, I thought I had better check with J that he didn’t do it. I dug around in my purse, where I had tossed the lip balm, and took it to J. I said, “Hey, J, what happened here?” I popped the lid off of the lip balm, and gasped.
It was totally, completely, pristine. Brand new. As if I had bought it yesterday, or 6 days ago, to be exact.
J looked at me and said, “What happened where? What are you talking about?”
I shook my head, speechless, totally confused. How could something that was completely ruined just seconds before be completely restored? I briefly wondered if this time, I had truly, completely, utterly lost my mind.
Then J spoke up and said, “You know, I found one of those things today. In the cushions of the couch.”
I looked at him and said, “You WHAT? What are you talking about?”
He bounced over to the couch, and said, “Yeah, right here”, and he pointed to the crack between the cushions. I grabbed my purse and started rummaging through it again, and sure enough, found the destroyed lip balm. I held the two IDENTICAL lip balms up, still stunned.
J said, “Yeah, that’s the one I found. Where did we get those things?”
I had no idea. Like I said, this is the very first time I had ever bought Bert’s Bees medicated lip balm with pomegranate oil, and I bought it in AZ. The only other explanation is that at some point, such an item fell out of a friend’s pocket while she (or he, I suppose) sat on my couch, and it festered there, unnoticed.
I thought of my little girl, upstairs, crying over an unjust accusation and a mother who wouldn’t listen to her, and my heart sank. I had been so sure that she was lying, just because the book told me that most kids, when confronted with something they know they’ll get in trouble for, will go for the lie. She knew I was mad, she knew why, and she has been getting in trouble a lot lately for making mad messes. It just made sense. (Did I tell you about the nailpolish on her door? Yeah, don’t even ask.) And seriously, she expects me to believe that the COLGATE was the real culprit? And even more seriously, somebody losing a tube of Bert’s Bees medicated lip balm with pomegranate oil in my couch, which is the EXACT SAME brand I had just bought, I mean c’mon, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES??
I took a deep breath, and decided that no matter how many books you read, or what you want to believe about lying, in the end, as a parent, you have no freakin’ clue what you’re doing.
I walked into Little Sister’s room, and I held up both tubes.
She looked at me and said, “There’s TWO of them?”
She said, “How did THAT happen?”
“I have no idea,” I told her. And as she ran into my arms for a hug, and as I held her tight and rocked her and told her I was sorry I didn’t believe her, she whispered in my ear, “See mom? I TOLD you the toothpaste did it.”
Indeed. Maybe I need to start buying Crest.
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