Like all good parents muddling their way through this parenting gig we try to instil in our children the idea that around here we tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And sometimes the proof of our success pops up in the oddest displays.
“Can you go away for a minute,” Miss5 asked her little sister in the middle of a game of Trouble, “because I want to cheat.”
There wasn’t so much as a blink from her opponent.
“Okay,” said Miss3, dashing off.
I glanced over at Tracey, who was sitting down the lounge a bit. Her face, I’m sure, mirrored mine – equal parts amusement and bewilderment this approach worked on Miss3, and just a sprinkling of concern what this might mean for Miss3 if she carries this naivety into adulthood.
But when Miss3 arrived back in the lounge room a minute later it was obvious she’d had an ulterior motive.
“How did you get those?” I asked her.
Our youngest, and most troublesome, was back sitting by the board digging eagerly into a bottle of vitamin C: a bottle Tracey and I both knew, up until a few moments ago, had been located on the top shelf of the pantry behind a box of Jatz. Essentially, way above her reach and line of sight.
Since arriving home, we’ve had the whole family chomping down on vitamin supplements every day because, in her current state and without a spleen, Tracey can’t afford to get sick. The strength of vitamin C is also its weakness – the kids see them as lollies.
Of course, any three year old kid worth their salt will make it their life’s mission to seek out a bottle full of lollies hidden in the house. And our three year old is worth her salt and someone else’s to boot.
So how did she get to them?
Time to pout our ‘honesty is the best policy’ to the test.
“I used my magic!” said Miss3, waving her hands in what I’m sure she saw as a mysterious manner.
There was no mystery for us because like all magic tricks, if pay enough attention to what’s going on, you can usually see a hint as to how it was accomplished. There was, however, a lot of horror when we discovered the tall, unsteady, spinny stool she’d used to accomplish her ‘magic’.
We had a quick chat about the dangers of taking this daredevil approach to the pantry and also reiterated she should have told us the truth instead of making up a story – albeit a cute one – to keep out of trouble.
And a few minutes later we had our proof our little lesson on lying was sinking in a little.
“I win!” yelled Miss3 from the board game in front of us.
“How?” I wanted to know. I’d seen some of the redistribution of pieces Miss5 had made in Miss3’s absence and they weren’t subtle.
“I cheat too!” beamed Miss3.
I think, parenting-wise, we’re just about done here.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”