You’re Not Lying To Me. ARE YOU?

Today was a normal school day with all of the normal hurdles.

After my son and I engaged in our morning Starbucks ritual (me with a Venti Hot Chai Tea Latte-Nonfat, and him with a Kids Hot Cocoa with one ice cube-no whip), I dropped him off at pre-school and the rest of the day was a blur until bedtime.  The brief beverage time with him in the morning IS a relaxing part of any school day.

The only major change to our routine was that today was the day before the turning in of the science fair project tri-panels.

This involves some last minute taping, setting and question and answer periods which you hope your child will remember in 10 minutes.

When you have two children, and you are myopically engaged with only one of them, interesting things can happen.

As we worked with our daughter on her newest sight word “Hypothesis”, I realized that the house had become very, very quiet.

I stopped for a minute or so to just listen.

I had no idea where our 3 and a half year old son was in the house because there were no audible indicators of his location.

This is very odd.  Very, Very Odd.

So, I called him.

“Son?”

And there was a disturbing quietude.

“SON??!!!”

Then,  I heard the cupboard door in the kitchen being shut carefully culminating in a very gentle, wooden “tap”.

There were Hershey Kisses in that cupboard.

There were many, many Hershey Kisses in that gargantuan, economy-sized bulk warehouse bag of chocolate.

“Son…Come here, please.”

His caped Super Hero silhouette appeared from around the corner.

His mouth was frantically masticating SOMETHING but I couldn’t see just what yet.  Maybe he was really in the healthy DIY snack station we’d set up.  Perhaps, he had been eating those cashews in the breadbox…..

“Son.  I said to Come Here, PLEASE.”

He walked slowly toward me.

I could see a telling brown dribble down his chin and shirt  that reflected a very cocoa-licious sheen.  It was not cashew-ey at all.

“Open Your Mouth.”

“WO,” he said.

His mouth was so full of Kisses that he couldn’t even get his tongue to touch the back of his teeth to make the “N” sound required to defy me for the chocolate abatis he had created across his bottom molars.

“Open Your Mouth, Son.”

“WO!”

“Son?  Are you eating chocolate?”

By this time, his saliva had effectively broken down the massive quantity of candy in his trap.  The only problem was that he had forgotten to swallow the now watery  mixture of liquified sugar, spit and chocolate that oozed out of his mouth with every word, onto his shirt and then onto the floor when he innocently said….

“Wo, Wom. I  WOH eawing awywhing.”

The whole time he spoke, unable to close his lips to form a coherent phonetic sound as his salivary glands worked overtime to deconstruct that candy, that Spit-Kiss cocktail dribbled off his little, fibbing lips.

I’m supposed to be mad….Right?

So, why is it that I had to look down at my lap so he wouldn’t see me trying not to laugh?

We talked about lying and not sneaking and asking for permission (and all of those things we must address as parents) to inculcate a sense of self-policing integrity that we are expected to extol.

But, I really, really can’t think about that drippy-brown conversation without smiling a little or a lot.

I think it’s because I know my son hasn’t reached a major milestone yet- and that milestone would be the one where he can look me in the eye, having concealed or transformed any incriminating evidence, and with conscious manipulation, lie right to my gullible face.

I believe I want to laugh during these moments, because he’s really, really bad at this lying thing.  He hasn’t grasped that ardently-delivered but contradictory words in light of indisputable evidence of abject culpability glare like the shredded Hershey Kiss wrappers at his feet.

Remember  the case of the crossed-eyes and the missing chocolate mini-eggs?

 

I believe this stuff makes us laugh because it IS  a little cute, and it is such a relief that our kids are still  innocent enough to not understand how to manipulate and lie convincingly just yet.

And, I’m pretty much banking on the idea that things are going to stay at this benign level for….well, for FOREVER.

It could happen.

In the meantime,my hubby and I  will keep perfecting our poker faces while we chuckle internally about this stuff.  I plan to do it for many more years.

Yes, we will do it for many, many more years…. just AFTER we put a sliding bolt on that cupboard door.

 

 

 

*****

Image Credits:

Abatis:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abatis

 

 

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Teaching Kids About Integrity

What tall orders we have to fill as parents!

We don’t sleep for years.  We eat cold food.  We suffer through potty training “acthidents”.  We trudge to ERs for midnight ear infections.  And we shoulder the responsibility of teaching our kids not only their left from their right, but also the more  challenging concepts of what is “wrong” and what is “right”.

At 3 and 5, our kids have started to show us that they can grasp the concepts of “temptation” and “integrity”.  (For knowing what those big words mean, I credit “Veggie Tales” episodes.)

Our daughter will tell you that “temptation is when you want to do something really bad that you shouldn’t do”.  She’ll also tell you that “integrity” is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.”  (For those lessons, just play the episode about Larry Boy and The Bad Apple a few hundred times.  :)

Larry Boy And The Bad Apple

But, regurgitating the same phrases that come out of a highly unnatural talking pickle is vastly different from practical application of the principles.

Here is a real-world example of how the concepts of “Integrity” and “Temptation” are tackled by us parents.

Behold.

My 3 year old boy wearing the Pottery Barn Kids Bat Costume we bought 2 years ago that he has refused to put on his person until moments before I snapped this photo yesterday.

I promise this costume is relevant.  Bear with me here.

After this pic was snapped, I noticed the peculiar scent of chocolate on my kids.

“Did you eat chocolate?” I asked.

My son answered.  ”Yes.  I ate 3 chocolates.”

Our daughter said she hadn’t.

“Are you guys supposed to sneak chocolate when mommy’s not looking?”

Both kids shook their heads to indicate “No”.

I decided to leave it at that.  Easter had just passed.  They must have found a plastic egg.  No biggie.

But, then I went downstairs and I saw this on the floor in the guest room.  Our boy must have left one of the three wrappers on the ground….

When I bent to pick it up, I saw this on the side of the recliner.  Hmmm…This must be where he ate those THREE chocolates he told me he’d eaten…

And when I bent to pick those three wrappers up I’d forgiven him for sneaking because of the unspoken “Easter Candy Chocolate Eating Alibi Period”, I caught a glimpse of where Chocopalooza had happened right under my nose….

I don’t know.

I’m thinking he ate more than 3 pieces of candy.

I remembered the glass trifle dish in the kitchen that had been HALF-FILLED with Hershey’s chocolate mini-eggs and found this…

I made the kids come into the room.

They both looked awfully guilty.

I asked them again.

“Did you guys eat a bunch of chocolate while Momma was upstairs folding laundry?”

My son said “yes”, still too young to understand the benefits of lying.

Our daughter emphatically stated she had NOT eaten any chocolate.

So, I told them to open their mouths so I could smell their breath.

And then my daughter came clean that she HAD had a little chocolate.

I asked if they remembered Larry The Cucumber’s lesson about temptation and integrity.

I asked if it was right that they snuck chocolate without asking.

I asked if they should have asked first before sneaking it.

I asked if they knew why they were in time-out.

I asked if they were going to do it again.

And I almost asked another question but I realized that I’d lost my son about 4 questions ago.

This is what I saw.

Seriously.

This is what I saw.

A combination of pure fascination by those centered fangs directly above his eyes and a probable case of selective ADHD led my kids eyeballs to alternately focus on my very stern parenting face, and those darn fangs that kept making him go cross-eyed right in front of me every 10 seconds.

COULD YOU KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE THROUGH THIS????!!!!

Me, neither.

Aw, well.

I’m sure I’ll have another shot to teach that lesson more effectively.

Once I finish up these chocolates and stop laughing at the memory of my cross-eyed son, I’ll get right back on that.

 For some resources about how other parents have cracked this nut, you can check out these links (and that Veggie Tales video I talked about up there!):

Five Ways To Build Integrity As A Parent by Orange Parents

Raising Kids With Integrity by Parent Further

Raising Kids of Strong Character:  Integrity by Savvy Daddy

HOW DO YOU TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT INTEGRITY AND RESISTING TEMPTATION?  

DO YOUR KIDS GO CROSS-EYED TO GET OUT OF TROUBLE, TOO?  

(See?  I told you that costume was relevant.)

:)

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