Argh! Can we have a do-over to start my day? Please?
My kindergartener was sick yesterday after school. The sitter called and said he was not feeling well at all. Grandma picked him up and by the time I got home, all was well again. Apparently, he just needed to poop.
This morning, I walked to his room to wake him up. He wasn’t there. I could hear the cartoons from the living room TV upstairs. We don’t do TV during the week and hardly on the weekends. “Hey!” I called up, “You need to get ready for school. Shut the TV off.”
“What? No. It’s the weekend!” he replied.
“No, it’s Friday. You have school!”
“NO, I don’t. It’s the weekend!”
This went on for a while until I walked upstairs and shut the TV off and told him he’d better get ready or we’d be late. And there began the morning… The Morning of the Lies.
“I don’t feeeeeeeeeeeeel good!” he began to cry, out of nowhere, in the shrill whiny voice that makes every parent cringe. (Non-parents may mistake this whine as actual crying or a sign of a serious illness. This, however, is a rookie mistake. This kind of cry is easily detected by a parent who instantly recognizes it as what it is: A LIE.)
At this point, you may start thinking, “Oh, but he went home sick yesterday. Maybe he really doesn’t feel good!” Well, I have a solution for this. My lie detector test is my right hand. If, while the child is crying, I lift my hand to tickle them and they bust up laughing, they are NOT sick. When they are actually sick, they might smile a little sad smile and say something like, “please, mommy, no tickles. I don’t feel good.” But, no. Today, it was all laughs before resuming the shrill, “I don’t feeeeeel good!”
The line was repeated, over and over again. I went through the usual, “Do you really not feel good or do you want some attention?” Normally, he says he just wants some attention and we’ll play a game or something. Not this time. This time, he just wanted to stay in his pajamas and watch cartoons all day.
We went round and round all morning, including an actual slamming on the brakes in the driveway (flashback to childhood: “I will pull this car over!”) He changed his tune shortly after that and we were okay again. Until… I went to drop him off at the sitter’s. “I don’t want to go. I don’t feel good!” began again.
After finally getting him out of the car, I found myself fuming over this on the drive to work. Why must kids lie like that? How do you get them to just tell you the truth? And why is it that my kids pull this stuff when I know, full well, that if I would have tried this when I was a kid, I would’ve gotten a spanking. Are spankings the solution? Nasty flavored “medicine”? (My parents used to make me take Chloraseptic spray. Yuck! That really determined if I was sick or not…To be fair, the Chloraseptic folks seem to have come up with some less-nasty stuff these days…) What do you do? How do you get your child to understand that crying wolf and saying they are sick all the time is really a form of lying?
Or is this the way of my future?