Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sweet(ie) Little Lies

So a couple weeks ago I picked Sweetie up from school and asked her how her day was. 

Great! she said. We had another show (assembly) in the gym and it was a game show called The Brain Game!

Then she proceeded to tell me, with incredible detail, all about how she was one of the 3 contestants chosen to get up in front of everyone and play the game.

The game show host played various songs for the contestants who then had to buzz in to say what that song was.

At first she told me she won the whole thing. When I was happily surprised, she said, No. Did I say I won? I didn't mean that. I didn't win. I just won on a couple answers.

Sweetie said she got 2 right and was first to buzz in. One was a song from Blue's Clues, the other was "the wedding song" (the joyous one often played at the end of a wedding ceremony).

She told me that each contestant's buzzer sounded different and she demonstrated what her buzzer sounded like.

She told me that there were *2 girl contestants (she being one of them) and 1 boy contestant.

She said that she was the only kindergartener chosen to play.

Knowing that the kindergarteners had to leave before the end of the assembly because it ran longer than their school day lasts, I asked Sweetie if she was upset and cried when it was time to leave.

No, I wasn't upset, because I thought that the questions would probably get harder and I wouldn't know the answers anyway, so I felt good about leaving then.

We talked about this exciting morning Sweetie had all through lunchtime. We talked about it for more than an hour. I asked her if she wanted to call Nana to tell her about the exciting day.

No, I don't feel like calling Nana.

Okay, that's fine. We don't have to call her.

About an hour or so after we had pretty much worn out the topic, while I was sitting at the computer doing whatever it was I was doing, Sweetie came up to me and, very lightheartedly, told me:

I was just kidding, Mama. I wasn't a contestant on the show.

The poor girl didn't know what she had just gotten herself into.

Mama was. not. happy.

What?! You fibbed to me? You do not lie to me! You don't lie to anyone! Go to your room right now!

I was just a wee bit upset, you see.

Sweetie went to her room and remained there much longer than I thought she would. I went to check on her, figuring she was probably playing quietly by now. But instead, I found her huddled under her blankets. When I took the blankets down, I could see she had been/was crying.

I felt bad, but she was still not willing to say she was sorry or admit that she had lied. I asked her if I should just call her teacher to find out the real story (a fervent shake of the head - no!) I left, angry again, and told her she could come down when she was ready to tell me the truth. I told her how this particular instance wasn't really a big deal, but Daddy and I need to trust her and how can we do that about more important things if you lie about silly little things like this?

When she finally came downstairs, she was very insistent that she just couldn't remember what had really happened. She just didn't know.

That's not true, (Sweetie). You have one of the best memories I know. You remember tiny things that happened over a year ago. You can't tell me that you can't remember if you were a contestant on a school game show or not that happened just this morning.

Finally Sweetie decided to go with, Well, I meant to say it was all just a thought. I thought it happened. (I understood this to mean that she wished she could have been a contestant, and if she did, then her buzzer would have sounded like such and such, and she would have gotten those particular musical answers right, etc., etc.)

Well, okay. I get that. But you need to make yourself much more clear. You led me to believe that you actually did all these things. You didn't say anything to me to make me think otherwise. You knew I thought you actually were a contestant and you didn't correct that.

In the future, you need to make yourself much more clear. If you have a story to tell, you have to say first off that this is just something you imagined or something you wished would have happened. There is no lying in this house. We all need to trust that we're all telling each other the truth about things. Okay?

Okay.... now can I watch T.V.?

NO! Did you just tell me all that so that you could watch T.V. again? No. You obviously haven't learned your lesson. You just sit there for a little while longer.

You know were going to have to tell Daddy about this when he gets home, don't you? You can tell him or I can - but he does need to know.

Later, at dinner, I asked Sweetie to tell Daddy about the assembly at school.

She suddenly looked at me with great fear in her eyes.

It's okay. Just tell him about the game show.

No. No, no. no. (and she covered her ears with her hands).

Okay, then I'll tell him.

(still with ears covered), she said aloud to herself, Oh no.

(I actually laughed out loud at that. It was too funny and actually pretty cute).

So, anyway, I told Daddy the whole sordid story, with Sweetie butting in the whole time, explaining that what she meant all along was that she thought all these things.

We all had another talk about lying and needing to tell the truth all the time.

And that was that. The rest of the evening was your average, no-big-deal evening.

And Sweetie, to our knowledge, has not lied since.

... Until this weekend. Another silly little lie (had to do with where she just had been in the house - she said it was the dining room, but she really was making faces at herself in the bathroom. Why even lie about something that nothing-ish?!).

Another big talk was had. Another Sweetie looking ashamed. An explanation about the differences between lying and pretending. We also explained the difference between not telling about surprises (like not saying what someone's present is going to be = good) and keeping secrets (we don't keep secrets from each other in this house = bad).

So, that was that. It's only been a few days since that talk, but I think (I hope!) Sweetie has properly learned her lesson and fully understands the consequences she'll have to deal with if she does lie again.

Both such silly things to lie about! Why would she do that? And - in terms of the game show lie - that wasn't one little lie. That was a whole concocted story, with specific details included! What is going on?!

Anyway, that's it. I've looked around online and have seen that typically 5 and 6 year olds do start to tell "stories" at this age. Trying to figure out what they can get away with, and all. So hopefully this is just all part of regular development, a phase she'll grow out of soon.

Let's hope so, anyway. Whether big or small, I just can't take it to know my Sweetie is lying to me about anything!

(*Oh, and when the truth of the game show actually came out, she said the contestants were really 2 boys and one girl, not the other way around. I just don't get it.)

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