Anyone who has been through, or is in the midst of, toddler-hood knows that reason is not a skill that our little
hellions munchkins possess. This skill doesn’t even begin to surface until almost 6 or 7 years old, and frankly, even then it is a bit rusty. In the meantime you try to answer the incessant “WHY” questions as best you can but sometimes, you just have to, well… lie.
Toddler: “I wanna ‘nother minamin.”
Me: “You’ve already had a vitamin today. You can have one again tomorrow.”
Toddler: Repeat, repeat, repeat…… why? Why? WHY?
Me: Repeat, repeat…. “let me see the bottle…Oh see here… it says that kids only get one vitamin a day, and then the bottle doesn’t open anymore.”
I don’t know why, but the explanation that something is broken, needs batteries, doesn’t work until tomorrow is something a toddler can understand and accept. It has so far helped to make it through to the reasoning years with a little more sanity and a few less gray hairs.
Now that my son is older he knows that these explanations are completely ludicrous. When we tell Ava the bottle won’t open, he knows “that’s not what it says Mooooooom….” (Damn school- teaching him how to read!)
One day, when trying to get Ava, aka. the limp noodle, off the floor to take a nap, I blurted out, “Even Miles is going to take a nap!” Miles hasn’t napped in years so of course there was a loud gasp and a “WHAT?!?!” exclaimed. I looked at him and winked. After a few seconds, he understood and said, “Yup, I’m gonna take a nap too Ava!” The limp noodle re-constituted and went on with the nap routine without a fuss. And so the wink rule was born!
Before anyone accuses me of teaching my kid to lie, think about how we all tell “little white lies” and NO ONE is 100% truthful. Because of this it is important to teach our kids the difference between lies that hurt and lies that help. I mean, think about if everyone was always 100% truthful. Do you REALLY want your spouse to tell you that your ass looks fat in those jeans?
Miles and I talked about the difference between a lie that is told to help people or to avoid hurting someone, and a lie that is used to protect ourselves from getting in trouble. I told Miles that the wink rule was only to be used to help Ava until she was able to understand the reasons behind why things were the way they were.
The other night, Ava got a white balloon at a fundraiser. She refused to let me tie it on her wrist and lo-and-behold it went to meet with the clouds (or some poor unsuspecting bird). As the crying was getting to a fevered pitch Miles says, “Ava, I think the balloon is going to fly home and meet us there!” I told him not to tell her things that we couldn’t promise, but he winked at me. I had no idea what he was up to, but it seemed to quiet his sister. When we got home he ran to the house and got a pink balloon that he had in his room from months before and brought it out to her. “See Ava, it got here first! It’s a little it more flat and changed color, but it made it!”
Someday my daughter will have to learn to understand fairness, hurt, and rejection… until then the wink rule seems to be working just fine to spare her, and us, some unnecessary hurt.