Lying is kind of part of the job description when it comes to being a writer. Writing fiction, by definition, means I lie. All fiction writers lie. Lying is what we do. But then I also write for kids, which means I lie to kids.
I started wondering about that. What kind of person lies to kids? Right? Then I realized something: There’s another segment of the population who lies to kids as much as fiction writers. That’s right, I’m talking about parents. Yep. Parents. They’re all a bunch of liars. I know I am. I hadn’t realized it until my son called me on it today. I just finished telling him that the police would come if he didn’t let me brush his teeth, and he asked, “Are you lying to me?” to which I said, straight faced, “Nope. They’ll come. And they won’t be happy.”
In my defence, it wasn’t that bad of a lie. I mean, if I had actually called the cops because my son wasn’t letting me brush his teeth, they very well might have showed up, and if they did, I am reasonably sure they wouldn’t have been very happy. So let’s just call that one a half truth.
But the lies pile up in my household:
“You have sugar bugs in your mouth. We need to brush your teeth.”
“Can’t go to the park today, it’s closed.” (said when I’m way too tired to go to park and don’t want to argue with a 3 year old about it)
“Gotta clean up all your toys, or the Toy Police will come take everything away.”
“Santa only gives presents to good little kids.”
“If you eat your vegetables you’ll be able to run super-fast at soccer tomorrow!”
"Okay, bye. I'm leaving without you."
Lies upon lies.
Luckily, I seem to be able to handle it, because I’m not looking to turn over a new honesty-leaf. But I know it’s only a matter of time. It can’t last. The lying will catch up with me. I suspect the lies will just get more and more complex, until one day, when he fails to properly clean up his toys, I’ll weave a complicated threat that involves the KGB, Santa’s Elfs, and a pack of rabid chinchillas, and he'll call me on my lies, and my house of cards collapse around me. I imagine it will look something like this:
Strangely, I’m not too worried about that day.
What about you all? I wanna hear the biggest lie you ever told a kid (doesn’t have to be yours)
I promise, I won’t judge : /