Pants on Fire

March 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Lollipop | 17 Comments

We’ve reached a milestone at our house. Lollipop told her first lie.

Here’s how it went down:
Lollipop: “Daddy, I would like M&Ms for breakfast.”
Daddy: “Oh, you would? Well, how about some Cheerios instead?”
Lollipop: “Mommy lets me have M&Ms.”

Oh, she does, does she?

Bacon with a Side of Lies
I am certain that we have never indulged in M&Ms. (At breakfast, anyway.) Pop-Tarts, yes. Vats of syrup with the occasional waffle wedge dipped in? Yes. Bagels with strawberry cream cheese, hold the bagel? Yes. But M&Ms? Never.

(In my defense, we always have fruit with breakfast.)

So here we are. Lollipop’s a liar. A fibber. A prevaricator. Her pants are on fire. What’s a mom to do?

This mom does research. (Of course I do.) And I have discovered that children fib for many reasons. To protect someone (or themselves); to avoid unpleasant things, like, say, cleaning the marker off the coffee table; on accident; for approval.

Who Needs a Fairy Godmother?
But here’s my favorite reason: “magical thinking.” As in: Lollipop truly desires M&Ms for breakfast, so she says it out loud, in hopes of making it true. (Sounds like a good idea to me.)

However, this concept may also explain why, yesterday, we heard a “THUNK!” Then Giggles crying. Then Lollipop (holding a gigantic maglite from the kitchen) saying, “Oh, no, Giggles just ran into my flashlight.” Magical thinking indeed.

And something else I read offered up this gem: “[Lying] is a positive sign of developing intelligence and of an active and healthy imagination.” Sweet. I’m raising a creative genius — the next Madeleine L’Engle or Georgia O’Keeffe or Cher. I bet they all lied through their tiny teeth as toddlers.

Everything I Need to Know About Parenting, I Learned from Law & Order
So what’s a mom to do? Don’t blame. Avoid entrapment. Tell the truth myself. And remember that being honest is hard.

This means a few changes are in order. Next time Lollipop catches me sneaking M&Ms in the pantry, I can’t go with my usual, “No, Mommy was having some raisins. Would you like some?” as I deftly grab the red Sun-Maid bag.

Instead, I’ll say: “How about M&Ms for breakfast tomorrow?”

Magical thinking indeed.



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  1. So sweet (at least until they get to be GOOD liars). I myself am clinging to the idea that lying children are intelligent and creative. Dumb children would be too stupid to cover their tracks right?

  2. Hahahahaha! Too funny. I myself, have been known to have MnM’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

  3. We are still laughing about the flashlight encounter.

  4. I could go for some M&M’s right now…
    (and I’m bowing my head as my son at an imaginary lunch today in order to avoid a grilled cheese… and I still gave him his promised after lunch chocolate chips… creative genius that he is! :))

  5. Those magical thinking lies are sort of sweet, aren’t they? It’s so much to navigate, as a parent. I research all of it too! I think I parent by google.

  6. I’m lucky so far, in that my four year old can’t stop giggling when he lies, and it’s a very specific, ‘I’m being naughty’ laugh, so I can totally call him out on it.

  7. The “magical thinking” explanation must have been made up by a 5 year old.

  8. “Everything I need to know about parenting I learned from Law & Order.” You’re a woman after my own heart. May I add to your list of L&O lessons?

    When things get really tense, take a commercial break to cool off. It helps to have a funny partner. You need more than just one clue to solve the crime.

  9. Very cute!!
    The smartest thing I ever did was buy chocolate flavored chewable Vitamin D pills. Whenever Munchie smells chocolate on my breath (“What are you EATING?! I want some!”), I blame it on the Vitamin D. It’s acutally usually chocolate chips. Or sometimes cookie dough from the freezer. No way I’m telling her about the cookie dough in the freezer.

  10. My 3yo lies like a rug. Blithely. Casually. Without batting a tiny eyelash. She is going to be O’Keefe, L’engle, and Cher rolled into one.

    Great post. Absolutely been there — actually STILL there.

  11. My little guys tells little lies sometimes too. I’m okay with it and do think he has an active imagination, which I like.

    My favorite part of this post was reading the description of typical breakfast fare at your place. Makes me happy to know I’m not the only one who’s NOT serving my kids organic omelettes and steel cut oats every morning. We often roll with pop tarts and chocolate donuts.

  12. I’m with mep, it’s comforting to hear that ours isn’t the only house that always has a box of Eggos in the freezer.

    I like the magical thinking theory. I know that when I say I weigh 130, I am hoping that if I say it often enough, it will come true. So far it hasn’t worked.

  13. I occasionally indulge in a little “magical thinking” myself!

  14. Confession time: My kids had candy for breakfast today. Not 100% sure what type it was, but I do recall being blissfully happy that they were no longer pounding on my door when I said “Have some candy!”

    It’s ok, though. We had craploads of fruit and veggies at lunch. 😉

  15. I’m raising two quite enthusiastic prevaricators. That flashlight incident sounds strangely familiar…although in our case, I think it was a hairbrush.

    We don’t do M&M’s for breakfast but we have been known to sneak in a few Reese’s Pieces…peanut butter is good for you, you know 🙂

  16. If it makes you feel any better, I gave my kids double chocolate muffins for breakfast this morning. And I had one, too. They were good. I say, go with the M&M’s.

  17. Makes me think of the Bill Cosby sketch where he gives the kids chocolate cake for breakfast. When Mom comes down, they swear they asked for eggs and he MADE them eat cake!

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