Sometimes, I bend the truth with my kids. When a concept is a bit hard to understand, I may simplify it for the sake of staunching the flow of “Why?” from their little mouths.
Sometimes, I take the truth out back and break it into a million little lies for the sole purpose of my entertainment. I think this is common to parents, though it is probably more common among fathers than mothers.
I am inspired by other fathers. Louis, a co-worker of mine, convinced his daughter that Jeff Gordon was calling her from the racetrack during a televised Nascar event. Another time, his daughter needed to dress up one of her dolls for a school assignment as a 16th century character and he pointed out that people from the 16th century only had one eye instead of two. She was shocked and a bit upset because she didn’t want to remove one of her doll’s eyes for the sake of the project.
In my home, a few weeks ago I started telling my girls that our dog Cole was really small bear that had escaped from the zoo. When I called the zoo to confirm that they were missing a bear, they told me that if they found the bear, he would be in deep trouble. The girls and I decided that we would keep the bear and keep up the ruse that it was a dog so as to avoid the zoo’s wrath. I don’t think the girls actually believe me though, because my eldest keeps saying that “we’re just pretending that Cole is a bear, but he’s really a dog.” To which I respond, “That’s good. You’re doing a really good job of sticking with our story.”
Then over the weekend, I told them all about the razor-beaked snow turtles that burrow throw the deep Michigan snow-drifts. In the same way the sea turtles swim through the water on Finding Nemo, snow turtles swim through snow, leaving little tunnels in their wake. Sometimes you can see their trails in people’s yards (though to the untrained eye, these may look like thrown snow from a snowblower). In any case, you don’t want to meet a snow turtle while you are playing, because their beaks can chomp through just about anything.
Is it bad that I get so much pleasure from these little stories? Maybe. My wife sometimes thinks so. But I like to think that I’m instilling a sense of wonder into their worlds. I like encouraging their imaginations. Or maybe, I just like encouraging my own.
What are some lies that you’ve told your kids?