I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Kids are big, fat lying liars.
Whenever I hear parents say, “Oh, my kid would never do that,” or, “My kid never lies,” I’m like, “Really?” Because my kids lie to my face All.The.Time.
Crazy is just a habitual liar. Call it overactive imagination. They’re innocent lies, though, and I’ve gotten used to ignoring him just about every time he opens his mouth. Basically he just wants to talk, so he’ll make up anything just so he has something to add. If we’re driving in the car and my daughter shouts, “Look! There’s a deer!” Crazy pipes up with, “I just saw a bear!” He’s not trying to top her or anything. He just wants to be a part of the action.
I tell him he’s very creative and that he should write all these ideas down. That way they’re not lies. They’re fiction.
The Kid’s another story. She lies regularly and with intent. She lies to avoid admitting to ever being wrong, or to hide the fact that she dumped two thousand gallons of ice tea on our computer and destroyed it, or to cover her tracks after she’s stuffed 6,000 candy bars in her face and threw all the wrappers under her bed. (Um, who do you think sweeps the floor? If you’re gonna lie, at least do a better job of hiding the evidence, please.)
But the worst is when she lies about being sick.
Oh, what a tangle web we weave when we deceive our mothers. Because we will catch you. And we will hurt you for real.
The Kid’s health complaints date back to just about the time she learned to talk. I think her first words were, “Oy, my back.” Her complaints are frequent, numerous and typically met with a blank stare because I don’t have a medical degree, which is exactly what’s needed to diagnose her myriad, odd assortment of rare and mysterious illnesses. Recently, she reported a pain in her left shoulder. The next day it was her hip. The day after that her knee. Every day it’s her stomach. Pretty soon, I fear she’s going to develop arthritis.
This is a kid who at the age of 11 lobbied me, repeatedly and persistently, to buy her a heating pad. I finally bought the stupid thing just to shut her up, but you know what? I’m glad I did because now every time she has an ache or pain, I sing, “Get the heating pad. I bet the heating pad will help that.”
Did you know heating pads heal every single ailment on earth? Who needs doctors?
It’s not like I’m not concerned about my kids’ well being. It’s just that with all these ailments, it’s hard to tell if The Kid’s an octogenarian in rapidly deteriorating health trapped inside the body of a 13-year-old or a flagrant hypochondriac. It would be a whole lot easier to determine whether The Kid was sick if she was only sick when she was actually sick.
Take the recent morning when she awoke with stomach pains. Although the severity was impossible to gauge, the look on her face was sad and serious. I circled her slowly, my eyes narrowing. After carefully studying her pale and depleted form, I was fairly confident she was, in fact, sick. She got a get out of school free pass that day, and on the second day when she required additional rest, I felt reassured in my decision. On the third day with neither fever nor vomiting, however, her request for an extended recovery period was denied. Amid protests, I sent her packing.
Later that afternoon as I sat at my desk working she came skipping through the front door carrying a white paper bag emblazoned with the tell-tale neon orange and hot pink print of a prevalent donut chain.
As she made her way to her bedroom, I stopped her. “Um, what’s with the Dunkin Donuts bag?” She explained she’d gotten a ride with a friend’s mom who’d stopped at Dunkin Donuts on the way home. Miraculously healed at the sight of fried dough glazed in sugar, The Kid scarfed down the treat with nary a stomach pain.
She tried to continue on to her room, but I wasn’t done just yet. Approaching her, I stared directly into her eyes and said, “You understand you just forfeited your chance to ever stay home sick again, right?”
You can’t tell me you’re dying of stomach pains three days in a row and then go out on a Dunkin Donuts bender. Rage flashed across her face and she stormed off to her room.
But she hasn’t come down sick since.