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When my beautiful, tiny, two year old daughter spilled a little lie from her previously assumed innocent lips, I was in complete shock. Where and how do they learn how to fib so early? My first thought was that it couldn't have been from me because I do not lie to her; she must have learned how to at daycare or from the television or from any other number of influences. Then, about ten seconds later, I realized, nope, she probably did learn how to lie from me. I don't intentionally lie to her but most of us, as parents, do it all of the time just the same. Have you heard of a guy named Santa Claus or maybe the big furry Easter Bunny? Technically...lies. Or, have you ever said something so simple as, "Sorry Honey, the goldfish crackers are all gone. You will have to wait until dinner is ready for more food." Lie! There is almost always more goldfish crackers. We tell lies. Not about the big things but definitely about the little white things.
Back to her lie, I was in the kitchen with her while I was making dinner, peeling carrots over the garbage can. She held her little toddler hand out in the space between the carrot and the garbage can and asked, "Can I hold it, Mommy?" I replied, "No, Sweetie, I don't want you to get an owie on your finger and I'm cooking dinner." She looked up at me for a moment and then quickly turned and ran off into the living room shouting, "Daddy, Daddy!" I peeked around the wall to see what she was going to do. She ran straight into her Daddy's arms and said, "Daddy, Mommy hurt me." accompanied by a little bit of fake crying and all. Now, my husband knows that I would not hurt her and was intrigued by her statement so he asked her, "Oh, really? What did Mommy do?" Without hesitation she proceeded to tell him that I had shut her hand in the garbage can and even tried to get him to kiss it and make it all better. Really? She is two. So, Daddy walks her into the kitchen where we are all three together and we ask her again about what happened and she puts her sad face on, places her supposedly injured hand on her lower back and says, "Mommy hurt my back." What? Again, she's two.
Needless to say, we had to have a two year old version of the whole You-Shouldn't-Tell-Lies speech. We also now know that we have to watch this one just a little more closely. It does make me wonder what else she has told me that may not be entirely true. Ha!
She is so young. I know this is not a serious issue at the moment, but a curious one. I want to gently teach her about being truthful without squashing her beautiful imagination. She has such an amazing imagination. I love to hear what she comes up with. When I am giving her a bath I tell her to, "Look way up high, in the sky, so you don't get soap in your eyes." While she is looking up I ask her questions about what she sees in order to keep her distracted and looking up while I rinse the shampoo from her blonde hair. She tells me all about the butterflies and the birds, what colors they are and how many she sees. Some days it is big balloons and others it is airplanes and helicopters. I love it!
And there. Right there is the invisible line between little lies and imagination. I want her to tell me wild stories and invent things. I want her to see the big blue butterflies that magically appear from out of nowhere in the bathroom when she's in the tub. I want her to keep feeding me pretend tea and ham soup that appears to be on tap in her toy kitchen, in an endless supply, at that. It will just be another lesson for me. How to teach her when we need to be truthful and when is it okay to fib. And, most importantly, to never lose her imagination.
** If you enjoyed this post, here is another you might like, too: http://ginnylouden.blogspot.com/2011/12/say-youre-sorry_14.html