Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins, The Preschool Mommy | Posted on 17-04-2012
Tags: Gina Perkins, lie, lying, preschool, tantrums, teaching moment
Saturday was one of those days that Seinfeld episodes are made of. It was an entire day about nothing more than annoying irony – where all of our greatest intentions were met with ridiculous opposition. If it wasn’t our life, we’d probably laugh at the poor suckers who kept falling victim to the universe.
Because we have a 5-week old at home, and we’re trying to obey doctor’s orders about keeping her out of enclosed, public places for the first 3 months to avoid airborne illness, and with all the recent rain, our family outing options have been limited. (“On the brink of insanity by way of solitary confinement” will be a future post). So, long story short, on Friday night we had set the lofty, but totally attainable, goal of attending the Taco Festival in San Jose on Saturday. Live music, food trucks and copious amounts of handmade tortillas? We were thrilled!
Come Saturday, it all went to hell in a hand-basket. I’ve actually mentally blocked all of the absurd happenings that stood between us and the pollo asada we were salivating over, but let me tell you this – our day was comprised of toddler tantrums, tears, time-outs, swear words, breastfeeding and poopy diapers, breastfeeding and poopy diapers and more breastfeeding and poopy diapers. Needless to say, our grand plans never materialized, and my husband and I were totally bent out of shape about it. Totally.
The rest of our actual day was an attempt to compensate for the “fun” day we had missed. But, with each new idea came a new reason for a tantrum – naturally. So, by bedtime, we were spent. I can guarantee that at one point or another, both my husband and I had secretly thought, “I cannot believe we had kids. What were we thinking?” We were both short-fused – impatient, angry, resentful. We were each one tantrum, one misstep, away from abandoning ship. So, you can understand why I did what I did next…..
DJ was hanging out in our bed way past her bedtime (time flies when you’re shaking your tiny toddler fists at the world all day!) She was waiting for daddy to finish up brushing his teeth so we could begin story-time. I was feeding Z (of course, cause that’s pretty much all that I do these days!), and DJ grabbed a glass half full of water off my nightstand. I couldn’t reach for her, or it, because I had a baby attached to my boob. Instead, I very sternly said, “DJ, if you spill that, daddy is going to be so mad.” And then, she spilled it. All over our sheets. At 9:30pm, when not a soul on earth wants to be stripping a bed.
I heard my husband finishing up in the bathroom and DJ asked, with concern in her voice, “Daddy going to be so mad at me?” and in that moment, I decided to lie to my husband. “I am going to take the blame. I am going to say I did it.” I knew that DJ doing one more thing to set our family off course would be the end of him (as it would’ve been for me, too).
“You did it or I did it, Mommy?” “I did it.” I was hoping that I could somehow convince her that I was actually the one who reached for the glass, who spilled the water. Maybe I could recolor her memory so there’d be less of a chance of her ratting me out. “Go put on dry pajamas right now.”. I was able to get DJ out of the room before my husband came in – and I was pretty certain I could quickly tell my lie without any interference.
When my husband came staggering in, exhausted from 14 hours of really, really difficult parenting – he saw me toweling off our sheets. “What happened?” he asked. “I spilled water.” “Did you spill water, or did DJ spill water?” GULP. “DJ spilled water.”. And just like that, I was called out on my big lie schemed at saving the night. Suddenly, I realized that protecting my kid at the risk of compromising one of our main family values, honesty, was a really poor decision.
When DJ came back into the room, my hubby had already walked out again (likely to grab a paper bag to breathe into). As DJ watched me blow-dry our sheets (seriously), I knew that I had to take full advantage of everything she had just witnessed and create a “teaching moment.”
“DJ, come with me. I need to apologize to daddy.”. So, we walked down the hallway toward the living room and with my tail between my legs, I sat beside my hubs on the couch – putting DJ up on my lap. “Honey,” I started out, “I told you that I spilled the water, but really, DJ did it. I am so sorry. I shouldn’t have lied to you. It was wrong. Can you forgive me?” My dear husband, catching on to the “teaching moment,” replied, “Of course I forgive you. You should know that I will never get angry if you just tell the truth.” Then, I turned to DJ, feeling very pleased out how I had turned this moment of weakness around so positively, and I asked her if she’d also like to apologize to daddy?
“Daddy, I so, so sorry.” “What are you sorry for, DJ?” “I so sorry I forgot to put my Princess panties on under my jammies.”
Fabulous, clearly another lesson well-learned. My job here is done.