lie –verb (used without object) – to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive. to express what is false; convey a false impression.
OK, so maybe it’s a little counterintuitive. Perhaps it sounds a little odd. Maybe I’m just off my rocker. But, damn it all I am THRILLED.
Because my daughter LIED.
Yeah, I know; it’s not OK to lie. As a parent, it’s my job to make sure that my kids DON’T lie. Hell, I’m pretty sure there’s even something about this in the bible. It made the top ten, didn’t it? No? Weird. I wonder why not. I guess not coveting your neighbor’s wife was more important than not lying about it after the fact.
Anyway, back to my kid. She lied! Hooray!
Quick version of the background story…
The other day, Brooke apparently decided that she wanted to give a go at the tunnel slide at the pool. Big stuff – a totally new frontier. With little fanfare, she headed right up the ladder and onto the platform, where the lifeguard sat. I watched as they had a brief interaction, followed by a crying Brooke padding her way back down the stairs.
When Katie asked the lifeguard what had happened, he explained that he had told Brooke that she couldn’t go down the slide with her goggles on and encouraged her to take them off and then come back. That conversation had obviously rattled her. She was likely confused by it and probably didn’t understand what he was telling her.
She lost all momentum and became completely frazzled. She sobbed her way back to the comfort of the toddler slide and made her way down in tears. When I finally caught up to her, she was a wreck. She let me pick her up and hold her wet, shaking little body. I asked if she wanted to try it again, but the intrepid little girl of moments before was long gone.
Damn, this quick version isn’t turning out to be so quick is it? Ah well, you probably know me better than to have believed me anyway.
I curled her into an embrace and asked if she was OK. The answer I got was nothing short of miraculous. “I was scared,” she said through tears.
I. Was. Scared.
Wait! Wait! Wait!
So much for the quick version, this is important!
She labeled a new emotion!!! I haven’t heard a single, solitary reference to feeling scared since “the noise made me scary” nearly a year and a half ago. I was thrilled! And sad for her. And thrilled!
I told her how proud I was that she could tell me how she felt. I told her it was OK to be scared. I told her that Mama gets scared sometimes too. Katie chimed in with, “Me too, Brooke!”
So, yes – Scared. HUGE!
She refused to go back to the slide pool and I didn’t see a point in trying to push it. She’ll know when she’s ready. She always does. I figured we’d head back to the other big pool and float around for a while, but Brooke headed straight for the safety and comfort of the toddler pools.
Katie and I followed as she made her way around the circuit of toddler pools. She slid down the three-foot long froggy slide into two feet of water. She ran to the whale slide and ran her hands along the whale’s smooth sides, exactly the way she used to. She laid down on the warm mat by the sprinklers and ran in and out of the plumes of water, towering over the two-year olds with whom she shared the space.
She knew what she needed. By the time she had tired of the sprinklers, she had calmed down completely. Katie suggested heading back to the big pool where we could all swim together. Brooke agreed.
We walked the long way to the big pool, avoiding the scene of the crime at the slide pool. Our route took us past the gated baby area. Katie and Brooke walked together, just ahead of me.
“Katie, can we go in there?” Brooke asked her big sister.
“No, Brooke. We can’t go in there anymore. That pool is only for kids ages zero to three.”
“We will go in there, Katie,” she tried again.
“Brooke, we can’t go in there. We’re not allowed. It’s only for kids ages zero to three. And how old are YOU?”
Do you think I’d be exaggerating if I called her brilliant? Do you think I’m overstating the case? First “I was scared” and now this? This proof of theory of mind! This completely ingenious attempt at manipulating the system!
My kid lied!!!
I’m so proud!