Truth or Dare

We’ve hit another strange milestone. I think the child has learned how to lie. Not that she does it well, mind you. Previously she has been honest to a fault:

Why is your brother crying?

Because I hit him…

Ah. Whether I liked the answer or not, at least I knew it was true.

There is a part of me that knows this new skill is a “good” sign. It means she is learning that other people have different thoughts, different ideas, different knowledge. It’s a developmental stage, but not one I’ve been overly eager to get to. Two recent conversations illustrate her new skill.

We have bar stools on one side of our kitchen island where the kids eat from time to time. The chrome finish on one of them, the one she sits on, is flaking off. I am not happy about this, but I’m even less happy when the kids pick at it and make it worse. The other day I noticed a halo of chrome shavings around the base of this stool and asked who was messing with the chair. “Bubba and Sissy did it!” was her too quick reply. “I don’t want you peeling chrome off the chair,” I said. “Okay, I won’t anymore.” As much as admitting that she already had, but not quite. I already knew the twins had not had opportunity to do this, nor the patience and skill to do as much as had been done.

Today I noticed that a fairly full box of graham crackers has disappeared. “Do you know what happened to the graham crackers?” “No, maybe Bubba and Sissy ate them all. They’re so sneaky.” Notice a pattern here? Blame shifting to the siblings. It’s a start, even if it’s rudimentary.

I am not sure how to address this, except that I’m waiting for a situation where I can really catch her at it…while I applaud the language skill, she will need to learn like every child that honesty is the best policy. I guess a lot of developmental milestones are kind of a double-edged sword: your child learns to crawl, suddenly you need to babyproof the house; they learn to walk and you wish you didn’t have stairs in your home; they learn to use the potty and suddenly you have to visit every restroom known to mankind. This one seems a bit harder to figure because it eats away at a tenous trust we’ve worked hard to establish the last couple of years. I’m trying not to let go of my side of the trust, while newly wary of her responses, and cautious of my own reactions.

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