(Or, “When Sarcastic Parenting Comes Back and Bites You in the You Know Where”)
My girls have a habit of incessant teasing. After they give their line, they wait for you to respond before saying, “I was just joking.” It’s funny for a while, but it gets a tad frustrating as well. Just say what you mean, for Pete’s sake.
The other day, I caught myself doing the same thing to them, and as soon as I said, “Just joking!,” Craig looked at me with an “ah-ha” expression. Oh. They got it from me.
Today, the girls and I were running some errands, and at a point of some minor frustration, Katie said to me, “Mom, I wish you had 15 hands.” Um, yes. I’ve been known to say that one, too; only it comes out more like, “Look at me. How many arms do I have? Do you see? Two. I don’t have 15 arms, do I?”
Stellar parenting here.
But the sarcasm is taking a toll. In fact, one child (who shall rename anonymous, though if you know our kids, you will know which one I’m taking about when I say she’s the CIA agent in training) has taken to telling whoppers. And they aren’t the I-broke-the-lamp-and-I’m-lying-to-save-my-hide kind of whoppers; they are whoppers of no consequence. Just silly vignettes designed to elicit a “Wow!” kind of response. And, they almost always take place in the van (I don’t know why).
She’s known for telling a story like this: “The other day, when you weren’t looking, I caught a baby duck. It was brown and soft. It had three little brother and sister ducks and its mom and dad were next to it too.” She gets really detailed, and the more questions you ask to try to prove she’s making it up, the more elaborate the story gets. I’ve talked to her a bit about making sure she communicates to her listeners that she’s telling a story and not be so insistent about trying to convince us it is true when we all know it isn’t. I thought she learned the lesson.
Today, however, during a picnic to thank the ladies who run the campus Mom’s Morning Out program (as well as other miscellaneous child care needs), one of the moms came up to me to ask me a question about something our child said to her the other day. There were two stories told, one in which she insisted a certain guitar player on the CD they were listening to was her Dad; the second was that we only had two beds for the girls to sleep on and we all rotated beds every night. One night, she and one certain sister slept on those beds, the other two slept on the couch. The next night Craig and I slept on the couch, she and one of her sisters slept in mommy and daddy’s room, and the other two sisters got the girls beds for that night.
Where is all this coming from? I mean, they are simply tales with no purpose or meaning, other than to cause someone else to be impressed or confused. I talked to her about it today and said that when she constantly tells stories that aren’t true and insists that they are, eventually she’s going to say something that is true and nobody will believe her. For instance, I said, you might go to a friend and tell her you used to live in Colorado and she would think, “Hmmm, she lied about her dad and the guitar, and she lied about the beds in their apartment. I’m guessing she’s lying about this too.”
I waxed eloquent on all this and got the respectful response of stifled giggles. Lesson presumably not learned…