Liar, Liar

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Liar, Liar

As a mom of three children, I have been both amazed and intrigued to watch them morph through all the various stages from baby to child. I have marveled at their persistence while learning to walk. I have praised their pre school artwork, when I had no vague idea what I was praising. I have proudly watch illegible scrawls turn into beautiful penmanship. I have also clung maniacally to their wonderful innocence, knowing that all too soon, another child on the playground will steal the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. I know that day is coming, for I overheard the older two discussing the man in red...

"Do you really believe there is a Santa Claus?", asked the five year old. The oldest, seven, paused and replied, "Of course there is. Mommy and Daddy donít have enough money to buy all those presents we get!" Silence, as the five year old, a future lawyer no doubt, considered this evidence. She finally spoke again, "I guess youíre right. Plus, if there is no Santa Claus that means they have been telling us lies, and we donít tell lies in this house."

I felt like I had been hit in the stomach. Never, I repeat, NEVER had it ever crossed my mind, that we were lying to our children. I mean when you are having fun buying Barbie Dolls and Teletubbies, whereís the harm?

My daughter is right. One of the rules we have ingrained in them from Day One, is that we do not lie. No matter what, they have been taught that the truth is paramount to our trusting and respecting each other. So, what paragon of virtue will I be viewed as when the playground group rats me out? Since their conversation, I have tried to reassure myself that I have no warped or dysfunctional symptoms stemming from learning the truth as a child. Quite frankly, I canít even tell you when I learned that the Tooth Fairy was my own half asleep mother. I guess I cling more to the happy memories my parents afforded me, not to the fact they were deceitful, cunning liars.

I can still recall the almost unbearable anticipation of Christmas morning. My sister and I huddled under our covers with an alarm clock, straining to hear Santa, but falling asleep too soon. I learned to make Santa notes in a handwriting not like my own, track baby powder "snow" through the living room and leave carrots that had obviously been nibbled by Rudolph. Easter mornings were spent in search of more eggs than my brothers would find, and then eating marshmallow Peeps for breakfast before church, a tradition I definitely have taught my daughters. As for the Tooth Fairy? I actually went through a period where I would purposefully loosen and yank out my teeth, just to be visited by that winged money bearer! My two oldest love waking up to a carefully tucked dollar and silver fairy dust scattered around their room.

I have started to look at some of the other non-truths that slip by day to day. Like food deception. "What are these green things in my lasagna?" "Um, uh, those are special lasagna sprinkles for decoration." Fine. I could have replied onions, but I was not in the mood to begin the next Cold War, as in ice cold lasagna congealing on their plates, ok? And lost items white lies? "Moooooooooommm, have you seen my Green Eggs & Ham book?" "Why no honey, I havenít.", as I casually kick it under the couch. (Cut me some slack. You people know that book makes me break out in hives!) And then there is time alteration which takes complete advantage of their inability to read a clock. "Naptime in fifteen minutes!", then tucking them in five minutes later.

So yes, I suppose besides those little white lies, I am perpetrating some pretty big whoppers on my kids. But, when it comes to those childhood "characters", I am also perpetuating the traditions and the joy that someday they will hand down to my grandchildren. And when the oldest finally comes to me with the big question? I plan on quietly sitting her down, hugging her, and letting her in on the grown-up secrets and the magic we try to create for our little ones. I will entrust her with being a keeper of her younger sisters illusions and dreams as I bestow upon her the titles of Santaís Helper, Easter Bunniette and Tooth Fairy-in-training.

And afterall, donít those sound much better than "liar, liar pants on fire, hanging from a telephone wire"?

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