Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lies and the lying mommies who tell them

Today Claire asked me for her pom poms, which are tiny little baby choker items I keep trying to throw away before they get left in the baby zone and choke my wee Hannah. I spirit them away and then I relent and put them up somewhere, and then Claire gets them back and I warn her about leaving small toys by her sister and then I spirit them away again. What a softie! I just hate to get rid of them even if they are meaningless little bits of fluff because she so enjoys them. She'll hold one up to me and say "Mama, wanna hear what a snowball says? . . . (silence, obviously) . . .Did you hear that, Mama?" I love that stuff. And I do so hate to disappoint her. When she asks if I've seen them I say "not lately."

I had dental work done last week, and the dentist apparently knicked a nerve giving me a shot, which caused that type of weird nervy sensation that could make a sane person lose it utterly. I keep thinking I had a melted cheese or caramel string or cobweb draped across my lip every time I ate something. After a dozen swipes to the mouth I realized I had no food smears on my lips at all, and figured it all out. Claire has two spots on her three year old teeth that look suspiciously like cavities, and I don't want her to fear the dentist so I tell her cheerfully that going to the dentist doesn't hurt at all, and keeps you healthy and strong. I skip the part about how it makes you bonkers and totally gloss over the whole tension in the chair waiting for the drill part.

This weekend Claire's big brother had a friend over, and these two boys, being clever in the way that eleven and thirteen year olds are, decided to jump off the garage and the friend fell and broke his arm. Older brother came shrieking in the house (saying his friend fell and skipping the jumping bit, initially) and I ran out, saw the curvaceous arm where a straight arm should be, and agreed he had indeed broken it. I told Claire he hurt his arm and kept her away while paramedics and then the boy's father came. She does not seem to know he jumped off a building for fun, and was of course fascinated and keeps talking about how he fell. Now I am struggling - do I use this as an object lesson about how dangerous choices lead to injury and she should be smarter? Is it too scary for a three year old? Should I keep the lie going that he fell or own up that he jumped?

I struggle with truthtelling when Claire asks me where her Daddy's Mommy is (dead) and why we don't see much of my brother, her only uncle (a lout by any other name is still loutish) or why I don't take a certain cousin's call and let the machine answer (guess) when she is so fond of her own favorite cousin she pretends to call her daily. For those of you with your fresh new babies, this is something to worry about later. For the rest of you, I am taking advice.

1 comment:

  1. The broken arm question? I was about 3 or 4 when I first saw my neighbour's arm. It wasn't broken, but the skin was mangled and twisted where a pan of boiling water had drenched it years ago. It was a vivid lesson: I've always been ultra-careful around boiling water, hot pans, etc. Whether Claire thinks it was a fall or a jump, she probably knows to be careful near open windows and heights now.

    As for the loutish uncle and the certain cousin, well, we have some bad relations in the family, but I know from experience it's better not to bring kids up to be prejudiced against people, even if you absolutely can't stand them. Be neutral and pretend they're too busy to call, or you're too busy to answer. They can work out for themselves why you avoid these people as they get older. :)