Friday, October 28, 2011

What tangeld webs we weave ...

No, I am not referring to spiders at Halloween.  I am talking about lying.

Having a 4 year old,  the concept of lying has been something we have been dealing with for about 6 months or so.  We talk about what a lie is; things that are real vs pretend.  Things that really happened vs she wished they happened.  I have read that the concept of lying can't really be grasped until at least age 4.  So, when someone says they were hit or had a toy first and the other kid says the opposite we talk about lying and use a lot of definitions / examples ... not just "YOU LIED!!"

Until recently ...

I, like may other women, lie about my age.  Not regularly, I am 39.  This summer, before Vivienne turned four she was into ages and birthdays.  She asked how old I was & I said 21.  She figured out on her own I would then turn 22.  (Our birthdays are 3 days apart.)  I said yes.  I laughed as I told the story of her telling a woman at the store I was 21 and I didn't correct her.  The woman looked as if I should have (trust me, I don't look 21!).

Last weekend, my sister went with the girls and I on a road trip.  During the ride, Vivienne asked her aunt how old she was ... my younger sister told her she was 35.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning when my husband took Vivienne & her sisters to school.  He got home & said I was in big trouble.  Vivienne asked how come Aunt S. could be the little sister if she was 35 & mommy was 22.  She said Paul was a liar for saying I was the big sister.  He told her that we (she & I) would discuss it later.

I picked Vivienne up from school & no mention until we got in the car.  She looked at me with a seriousness I don't know that I have ever seen.  She had been really thinking about this.  She said, "Daddy told me a lie today. He told me you were the big sister but I know you're not.  You are 22 and Aunt S. is 35."  I told her "No, Vivienne, daddy is right I am the big sister."  "YOU LIE!!!"  She said. The rant that followed I can't repeat.  It involved tears, confusion, and a lot of "But I know you are 22!!"  I tried to explain how lying about ones age really isn't lying more like pretending.  No good.  The words, "YOU ARE A LIAR"  Came out of her mouth a few times.

Honestly, I was and still am at a total loss as to what to do.  She has brought up the fact twice since that I am 22, and I don't argue.  I am taking the "she'll forget about this soon enough" route.  I felt so hurt as a mom, crushed really.  That I caused this much anguish in my 4 year old.  My age was a joke, or so it started that way, but I am not laughing now.  

I'd love some support here ... have you ever done something like this?  Something you didn't give a second thought to & then it turned out to be a BIG DEAL?  Comments please!! (Advice welcome too!)

1 comment:

  1. I have no advice! I haven't knowingly made a mistake similar to this (though I have made MANY mistakes). However, I was just talking to my mother about this topic. She said that she didn't find out until her children were adults the giant mistakes she made, thinking nothing of it. None of us will be the perfect parent. We will all mess up and cause pain. My desire is to fill my children with so many overwhelmingly good memories and fill them full of love, that those screw ups will hardly have an impact. Live, love and learn.