Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pants On Fire

I’m a filthy dirty liar. I have been teaching my children lying is frowned upon, meanwhile I lie to them constantly. Sometimes it’s purely for my own sanity, "sorry honey, that toy is broken" or "yes, everyone in the world is going to sleep right now." Then there are the pity lies like, "your drawing looks just like a horse" and "yes, you might marry Joe Jonas when you’re a bigger girl." Although these untruths are innocuous, I’m starting to believe I’m doing my children a disservice.

I’m not advocating we discuss suicide bombings or escaped murderers at breakfast but why can’t we be honest about the simple facts of life? We are happy to show them pictures of our massive pregnant bellies and their post delivery gunky faces but then only allude to what really goes down. Maybe they should know if Troy sticks his penis into Gabriella’s vagina 9 months later we ARE all in this together. Being honest about sex isn’t going to increase the amount of teens getting pregnant it may actually shave a few off. Show a 16 year old a picture of a fourth degree perineal tear and I bet she thinks twice before engaging in those 5 shitty minutes with her boyfriend. Let’s be honest, sex doesn’t get really good until your mid-thirties anyway. I understand some may be fearful of what little kids will do with this information but I’m telling you, my son can’t even put on his own socks. I know we’ll never be unified about this issue but can we at least think of a better lie? Honestly, who was the asshole who came up with the stork? I made my own mother take a "Silkwood" shower before I let her hold my little bundle but I’m going to let a filthy bird carry my newborn in its beak?

In some cases we go to great lengths just to make shit up. Honestly, in this day and age Santa contradicts everything we teach our children. We tell them it’s dangerous to merely converse with a stranger yet one night a year we let an unknown adult male into our home while we sleep. Sure he brings gifts but he’s not an emergency contact. Don’t even get me started about the Tooth Fairy. At least Santa doesn’t come upstairs. We let this kooky freak right into the bedroom. Why is there a Tooth Fairy anyway? Why not the Toenail Fairy or the Umbilical Chord Fairy? I would have killed for a fairy to come, remove that nasty thing and leave a crisp $20 under my pillow.

When I try and tell the truth it usually ends up like a game of telephone. My very honest "stranger talk" ended with my youngest boasting, "if your best friend gets an injured puppy then she’s not a stranger and you eat ice cream." Why can’t someone write a very special Dora where she gets into a white van because they told her "Su Abula dijo que está bien."

Not long ago my daughter asked me when she’s getting a step-mother. I told her hopefully never. She asked why her daddy and I both have step-mothers and I froze. How could I tell her the truth about divorce? I don’t want her to know love falls apart or people can get so sick they die. In the end I guess I’m ok with lying. Besides, this will give me a leg up when I become a hypocrite too. That drug talk is gonna be a doozy.

This essay was featured on www.momversation.com

14 comments:

Stone Fox said...

i am contemplating actually doing drugs before i give my kids the drug talk so that i can say, "see what an asshole drugs turn you into?" and then i'll talk about random bullshit for 4 hours. this will ensure they will never ask me anything else ever again.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

Recompensa por la devolución de Dora, pero por favor tenga su canción. (Suena como gilipollas.)

12gViolet said...

My three and a half year old knows about sex (in the most general "it's something only adults do and it can make babies" sort of way) and we've explained to her that Santa was a very nice man who lived a long, long time ago who was very kind to children and gave them gifts. And because my in-laws are Catholic, she also knows Jesus was a good man who lived a long, long time ago and he helped people. We aren't Christian, but we don't like to invalidate others' beliefs, so this was the best compromise I could think of for a kid her age.

Not that I don't shamelessly tell her that annoying fucking singing butterfly is dead and we ran out of the right kind of batteries. Shit, I need my sanity! ROFL

Kelly said...

I am really dreading the sex talk! I don't know exactly what to say to a 7 year old, and she's been asking. I have just sort of avoided the conversation. I will definitely have this talk before she's old enough to do the deed and make me a grandma. My husband thinks letting children believe in Santa is lying. He is very literal like that.

Jos said...

yeah, I'm a liar-liar too. but mostly about minor things like whether we have any chocolate to eat or why his toy doesn't make noise anymore. on the more serious issues like baby-making & death I've so far just found myself getting into deeper & deeper holes trying to be truthful & then bail out with the classic "hey, did you see that bird?" diversion. so far it's worked but he's only 3. I'll be checking back here for more suggestions on how to be a successful liar hypocrite.

Lady Of The House Copyright 2009. All rights reserved said...

Join up Jos, drink the Kool-Aid. The hypocrite part is going to be awesome as mommy and daddy had a LOT of fun back in the day (and by back in the day I mean.....) The diversions stop working around 5.

Aunt Becky said...

Uh, OH LOOK, A BLUE CAR!

12gViolet said...

I want some Kool-Aid! Is it cherry?

Jos said...

5, huh? well, that gives me another year or two to get my stories straight.
tonight's bedtime question: "what's the girl-down-the-street's dad's name?" I don't even know where to begin with answering that since she was adopted from an orphanage & lives with her single mom. the best I could do was, "I don't know. it's bedtime, sweetie! I love you! good night!"
hypocritically we're already deep in the hole with our recent "we can say f*ck (oops!) but we'll give you the stink-eye pretending we've never done so when you start singing "f*cking f*cking f*cking" at the top of your lungs." great. pour me a pitcher of that stuff.

12gViolet said...

Oh, Jos, we have that covered in our house. We tell our girls "fuck" "shit" "ass" and any other curse word repeatedly said around them (and there are many, especially after they've trashed their room) are words adults use. When asked why, I told her it's like driving a car. Other people would freak if a three year old was driving, and they'd freak if a three year old cursed better than most sailors.

And because my child is The Awesome, she proceeded to tell me that I didn't drive, so I couldn't use those words either. *falls over laughing*

Heather Griffith Brewer said...

I think it's only safe to offer what your kids can handle. I found that it was easier to offer up a small piece of true information and see what follows. Some kids are satisfied with your answers and will run off to play, other kids have more questions. The only example I can offer is this. My 10 year old daughter asked me what s-p-e-r-m was. Yes, she spelled it. It's what carries the genetic code for men during sex. Now, she did not follow-up with asking about sex (she was pretty schooled about it already) she followed up with asking how a condom works to keep sperm from *hand gestures* running out(it is lost without the visual). This is my child who knew babies came out your girl parts by the time she was 3. I figure, you NEED to have certain talks with your kids, otherwise you have no idea what they have blinging around their craniums. The sooner you have those talks, the sooner you are able to get the questions out of the way BEFORE they end up being in a situation that calls for good judgement. I'm not saying you should coo over your babies bassinet about making sure her dates wear condoms, I'm saying that if you answer them honestly (No, the toy is not broken, but mommy is going to have a psychotic episode if she listens to it anymore, find something else to play with for a while) is a lot better than trying to remember what you actually told them, unless you are an amazing liar, which I am not.
You made an awesome point about the tooth-fairy and santa though, but I had a really hard time giving those up. I think my kids played along for YEARS, until they felt I was prepared to cope. *shakes head*
Yeah, I'm messed up. I can talk about sperm, but santa makes me weep.

Sarah said...

yo, the penis and vagina conversation happened a couple of weeks ago with my 7 year old. most hilarious. i concentrated on the sex for making babies part, which was even more funny due to the fact that my gay best friend was in the room, too. luckily he didn't go there - as in, how is aunt jane going to make babies? what does she do in the bedroom?

besides ruining my kids' illusions of santa and the easter bunny and that damn tooth fairy, i find that honesty is the best policy. air it out, baby. girls have this and boys have that and boys put "that" in "this" and... yea yea yea.

but that drug conversation. shit! i don't know how the hell this family is going to survive that one. how much do you actually tell your kids? do you mention doing lines off the back of the toilet at work? (shit, did i actually just say that?!)

like i said. that's a whole other topic. i might actually have to seek some professional advice. (nah, blogging my way through it should suffice, right?)

Kyndra said...

Great post! I lie to my kids like you do--inconsistently and when it suits me (e.g. "They only allow one trip to the park a day.") She did ask the divorce question the other day and I told her the truth--sometimes marriages end. Her response? "Oh, I'm never going to unmarry Hutson." Hutson is her 4 week old baby brother. Maybe I'll work up to the sex talk but it would seem I'm going to have to prepare a talk on "why incest is generally frowned upon" as well!

Bruce Teague said...

It's funny the crazy stories we'll come up with to avoid explaining the truth. Sometimes I think the lie is more complex than if I would just flat out give a real explanation.