What lies do you tell your children?
We were at Turner field watching the Braves play on a hot scorching summer day. The Braves were leading and we were at the 7th inning stretch when we noticed the family in front of us packing up their things immediately after singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame!"
The parents were saying to their kids, "YAY! The Braves win!!! Let's go!!"
The game wasn't over. The fat lady hadn't sung. This is BASEBALL. Anything can happen in the last couple of innings, but they all left as if they believed it was the end of the game.
The dad busted us staring at them with a dumbfounded look, so he gave us a wink and whispered, "We always do this so we can beat traffic."
Ah ha! The convenient lie.
Somewhere out there, some children are growing up thinking baseball is only 7 innings long.
I admit I judged this family for lying to their kids in such a blatant way, but that was before I had kids of my own. I kind of get it now. Still, this was a BIG lie and one that could easily be disproved.
Then I started asking my friends about the lies THEY believed when they were children (and maybe into adulthood); the answers were both creative and slightly disturbing. For instance...
The Safety Lie
One friend said her parents told her that evil clowns live in storm drains and if you walk too close to them, they will slash your ankles (WHAT. IN. THE. WORLD?) Naturally she doesn't walk too close to storm drains to this day.
A variation on this theme is if you use the toilet during a thunder/lightening storm you would be electrocuted.
The Don't Be Afraid Lie
My kids hated bees so our friend Sue told them if they counted to 10 in Spanish (LOUDLY), then the bee would fly away without stinging them.
One day I caught my SEVEN (!) year old screaming, "UNO, DOS, TRES" as she stared down a bee, and I realized it was probably time to tell her the truth.
The Don't Beg Lie
My friend's husband told their daughter that the American Girl Doll store that's attached to the American Girl Doll cafe is actually a museum. So, when they took her to the cafe for her birthday, she just wanted to walk around and look at all of the things in the "museum" after they ate & didn't even ask them to buy her anything!
The Age Lie
Children don't know it's impolite to ask someone's age, so one mom I know always answers 99. She's been doing this for over 30 years, but 99 is her answer.
I think 99 is a better answer than 29.
The "Don't Eat That!!" Lie
"If you eat that..." or "Don't eat that..." is an entire genre of lies.
If you eat the snot from your nose, the doctor can tell when he listens to your stomach. If you swallow watermelon seeds, they will grow in your stomach. You get worms if you eat something off the floor.
Lies. Lies. Lies. Still, I wouldn't push my luck and sample any of these things.
Speaking of lying genres, why are there so many lies about the pool?
There's a shark in the deep end. If you pee in the pool, the water will turn colors and everyone will know. You can't swim for 30 minutes after you eat or you'll cramp up and drown.
The last one may be more of a myth than a lie, but you get my point.
The Just Messing With You Lies
Sometimes parents lie as a power play. It seems as if they want to blow your mind and discover if they can get away with it. These lies fall in the same category as the classic "if you keep making that face, it's going to get stuck."
There's the mom who tells her kids that if they suck on their blanket, they will attract bugs.
Then there's the kid whose Dad told her that boys have two testicles because one makes boy babies and one makes girl babies. (Bonus points for creativity!!)
There's the dad who told his son he was bald because he used to put shampoo on his head before wetting his hair.
One friend's imaginative parents told her fairies were real. My friend believed them because her parents always spotted them when they went for hikes. However my friend never managed to look in the right place.
Funny enough, I never found a single snipe either (though those are real).
The "Dog Went To Live On A Farm" Lie
This is the mack daddy of all lies.
Parents routinely tell their young children that the family dog no longer lives with them because they "went to live on a farm." I thought EVERYONE figured out this deception by high school.
However, this isn't the case.
Don't believe me, try bringing this up during a dinner party and notice how SOMEONE at the table will say, "oh yeah, my dog went to live on a farm!"
The awkward silence after they say this (and trust me, someone WILL say it) is an excruciatingly wonderful experience. I'll share my story on a different post someday...
In the meantime, I'd love to hear what lies you have told your kids or what lies you were told.
I know I've missed a bunch, so please leave me a comment!
P.S. Note: my children read my blog, so if your stories are too "revealing" (wink, wink), I may edit!!!