So what drives me crazy? Lying. Oh how I detest lying! Few things get under my skin then bold-faced, look-you-in-the-eye lying. Which is exactly what happened tonight.
From the bathroom (this time, washing hands before dinner, not bedtime- surprise, surprise!): “You peed on me!” “No I didn’t!” “Yes you did, look there- there’s pee on my sleeve!” “That’s not my pee.” “Yes, it is!” “No it’s- Owww!” Boys, what’s going on in there? Why is your brother crying? “I dunno.” “He hit me with his head, in my head!” “No I didn’t!” And so it begins.
Did you head-butt him? No. Well, he’s crying and you both have red dots on your forehead. How did that happen? I dunno. Did you hit him with your head? No. Why is he crying? Because he’s a baby and he peed on me. I don’t think that makes sense. Why do you have that reddish purple spot on your forehead? He has one too… Did you head-butt him? No. Look, I am pretty sure that’s what happened and I would like you to own up to it. I don’t remember. Did. You. Do. It? No.
Seriously. This conversation actually went down. Pee on a sleeve. Head-butting. Lying. I took a deep, deep breath. Like the kind of breath you hope will cleanse you of all the rage coursing through your veins. It was about 50% effective this time. You have a choice to tell me the truth. If you choose to lie, you’ll be sent to your room until you can tell me the truth. Did you hit your brother with your head? No. Go to your room. (In a calm, rational voice. No yelling!)
He came down about four times and lied and was sent back to his room. Things were shouted: You don’t love me! I wish I had a different family! You treat me like a fat rat! (Where the hell did he get that one- hilarious!) And this went on for about 20 minutes. I kept my cool. Reminded myself that he would come clean if I showed no emotion and stayed consistent. Eventually, I went up and sat on his bed. Honey, I know you are lying to me. And I know that it must be making you feel terrible. Let it out. You’ll feel so much better. Silence. “Mom, I hit him with my head.” Hallelujah!!! Mama hugged that child so tight, told him she was proud. That was about the moment she felt wet on her cheek from the child’s sleeve against her face. Oh right, the piss. On my face. Shit.
No yelling. It worked. It actually fricken worked. Will it work every time? No way in hell. But it worked tonight. We had a nice dinner. There were only 37 complaints about dinner, one fight over who got the blue cup and two arguments about who wanted to share the favorite part of their day first. (This is record-setting, people.) And no one yelled. It was a beautiful thing. Day One: Back on the Wagon.
How do you deal with your kids lying?