My default is usually to be honest. Perhaps to a fault. I think people that know me would probably say they know me too well. It’s seems like too much work to tell a lie and then have to remember it myself so I’m not caught up in it. So for the most part, I am honest with my kids. There have been a few exceptions . . .
- The Ice Cream Truck. We are lucky enough to have an ice cream man that lives on the next street over, so we hear that tell-tale music quite often around here. I think for the first three years of parenthood, we called the ice cream truck the “music” truck. Nothing to see here, just a truck that drives around playing music for everyone to enjoy – how nice! I’ve also heard people tell their kids that the ice cream truck plays music when all of the ice cream is sold out. We’re so cruel.
- Breastfeeding my first child. My five year old saw her younger sister nursing constantly. She understood that I had to put the baby to bed every night because she had to be nursed. I think she takes solace in the fact that I once bestowed that much attention on her in the form of nursing as well. I don’t flat out lie, but I don’t correct her. And it breaks my heart each time. But it seems just too complicated at this age to explain that she could not latch on and pretty much only got pumped milk. And then that I gave up because being milked like a cow seven times a day was making me the farthest thing from happy. I don’t think I feel like having a mental health conversation with a five year old just yet.
- What’s fair. It amazes me how much energy sisters, and maybe all siblings, spend worrying about if things are fair or not. “She gets more vitamins than me.” Well, you don’t get constipated! Come on kids! Life isn’t fair. So I find myself constantly fibbing to each kid about what the other kid got. I simply cannot count how many freaking Cheerios are in each bowl.
- The time. If a child wakes up before 5:15 a.m. in this household, they are told to go back to bed because it’s “the middle of the night.” Also, if mommy and daddy are tired, then it’s “past your bedtime” no matter what the clock says. I’ll rue the day they learn to tell time.
- Menstruation. I’ll all about calling a penis – a penis – but I just cannot explain tampons to a five year old when she’s running around with one in her hand demanding to know what it is. No thank you.
- That Grandpa Knows Everything. In his defense this is almost true. Whenever I don’t know how to answer a question, I usually suggest we table it and ask Grandpa later. Luckily, they usually lose interest and forget.
- I’m not going to die for a very, very long time. I’m telling myself this one too. Of my group of six good friends from high school, one has cancer for a second time and another has a son who just had a brain tumor. When my older daughter asks if I will die before her or when I will die, I just can’t tell her that life is fleeting and unexpected. It’s not always fair and sometimes we lose those we love way too soon. I hope she never has to experience this with me or with anyone, but I’m just not ready to discuss it with her. I think children are lucky to be living pretty carefree lives and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as I can.