Monday, February 7, 2011

Guilty

Some children are born with the uncanny, and slightly disturbing, ability to lie successfully.  Or is it just that their parents are willing to believe them no matter what?

My children are not these children.  It's not that they never lie.  THAT would be a lie.  But they rarely try to lie and when they do, they are usually unsuccessful.

A guilty conscience.  Some kids have it, some don't.  I, personally, think it has to be learned, and my husband and I come down hard and fast on my kids when they try to pull a fast one.  They know whatever reprieve from punishment they get from a successful lie will not be worth it when the truth IS discovered.  And it always is.

Little Meems is the worst of the bunch.  Not because she lies the most, but because she's just terrible at it.  Case in point, a not-so-recent conversation about whether or not she had brushed her teeth:

"Meems, did you brush your teeth?"
"Yes."
"Really?" Me looking her in the eye.
She stands there, nervously holding my gaze..."Yes.  I mean, no.  I mean yes.  No.  OK, I'LL GO BRUSH MY TEETH!" Bursting into tears along the way.

And usually, now, her guilty conscience kicks in before it's even an issue.

The other night, I went upstairs to tuck my oldest son into bed.  She and her little brother had been in bed for a while already, and so I decided to give her an extra little nuzzle and kiss before tucking her brother in.  I thought she was asleep -- it was dark and she was very still, covers up around her face the way she usually sleeps.  Before I'd even made it to the bed, she hopped up, exclaiming "OK, I'll put it away!"

I have no idea what she was talking about.  I think she must have been sneaking some contraband DS playtime.  And then she promptly burst into tears and started apologizing, clinging to me desperately.  I didn't even have to say a word.

Guilty conscience OVERDRIVE.  I felt so badly for her and her misery (she wasn't really in trouble -- I would have merely told her to put the game away), and yet I couldn't have been prouder.  As parents, it was validation that we were succeeding (at least momentarily) in the creation of children who are good people.

And I'm proud of her.  For 1) realizing her indiscretion, and 2) realizing the burden of her indiscretion was too much to bear.

It's just another reminder to me that this little girl, who's always been so full of surprises, continues to be full of surprises.

And, hopefully, always will be.

  

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