#877: I can(not) tell a lie

Before the Boy, we were not used to having a child who lies.

But the lie that he was caught in recently was rather cute. The funny thing is, his sister and parents can usually tell when he is lying, so it really is no surprise to us (hint: he blinks rapidly, and refuses to answer a question directly). During this particular incident, he had come to me and his sister, declaring in a quiet, sad voice, “I have bad news. My squishy ball leaked. It was an accident, and I don’t know how.” We then went into the other room, where we thought he had been busy with his scissors, cutting out his drawings. There on the table was his squishy, previously-water-filled ball, sadly deflated, and the scissors sitting nearby.

“How did it happen?” I asked, not angrily of course.

“I don’t know. The ball just fell on the scissors.” His sister and I looked at each other, puzzled.

“It just ‘fell’? How? Can you show us?” He then proceeded to clumsily demonstrate and describe to us how the ball mysteriously and magically “fell” itself on to the scissors, which could somehow mysteriously and magically cut something while laid in a sideways position on the table. Now I’m no rocket scientist or even any sort of physicist, but even I knew that what he was describing was impossible. The Girl also sensed that something was amiss, and then prodded her brother to “tell us the truth—did it really happen like that?” After much blinking, he burst out crying and confessed, “I was curious and I cut the ball with my scissors! I’m sorry!”

Of course, we weren’t angry with him. Rather, we were quite amused, and moved quickly to reassure him that it was no big deal, and that telling the truth was more important than damaging something.

Now, should I be proud of the first (inventive) lie that I catch my child telling, or should I be upset? No use in the latter, I tell myself, especially when the story is rather amusing. And, you have to give a kid credit for not just saying, “I dunno”, but rather, coming up in a split second an interesting story of how a ball can hurl itself suicidally on to a pair of scissors. Besides, as long as the lying is not detrimental in any huge way, don’t liars eventually become great storytellers? Maybe we have a great future fiction writer on our hands.


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