CootieGirl has a very bad habit. She tends to lie a lot. It’s almost always an attempt to avoid punishment, and no matter how many times we’ve told her she gets punished more for the LIE than for whatever infraction she’s made.
Today I got to enjoy two lies within an hour of each other. That was fun.
Lie #1: Who ate my breath mints?
A few days ago I put a new box of Tic Tacs in my purse. It was full to the brim because I put the few I had left in my old box into the new one. It was so full that I could barely snap shut the lid. This morning while at my part-time job I pulled out the box to find it 2/3rds empty. Which means that someone ate at least 15-20 Tic Tacs in less than three days.
“Who ate my cherries?” I asked (the kids call them cherries since they are cherry-flavored).
CootieBoy: “It wasn’t me!”
CootieGirl: “It wasn’t me!”
“Who’s not telling the truth?”
CB: “I’m telling the truth!”
CG: “I’m telling the truth!”
CB: “Nuh-unh. I did NOT have any!”
I give CG the stink eye and she finally breaks into tears, “Yes,” she wails. “I ate them.”
I sent her to her room with an admonishment that she wouldn’t be in near as much trouble if she had just told the truth.
After a stern lecture about lying and why she shouldn’t do it, we came back downstairs.
Lie #2: Who wrote on my coffee table?
This afternoon I discovered that someone had written the entire alphabet in marker on our coffee table. Once CG came down from the first episode, this is what happened:
“Who wrote on the coffee table?”
CG, very earnestly: “Mama, I’m telling you the truth – I did NOT do that.”
CB, indignantly: “Well I didn’t do it!”
CG, even more earnestly: “Mama – I’m serious. I did NOT write the alphabet on the table.”
I took out a piece of paper and a pen, and looked at the alphabet on the table. “CB, write the letter ‘S’ for me.” He wrote it. “CG, your turn.” She wrote it. Both were facing the right direction (the one on the table was backwards – a strictly CG trait, but I couldn’t get her based on this). “CB, write the letter ‘M’ for me.” He wrote an M. “Your turn, CG.” She wrote one. It looked suspiciously like the one on the table, but wasn’t enough evidence. I perused the alphabet one more time. Ah ha! “CB, write a capital ‘G’ for me.” He writes a capital G that is a very crisp sharp angle as the G turns in on itself. “CG, your turn.” She quickly writes a G in one fluid motion – as though about to write some curly cues – it almost looks like a 6 as opposed to a G.”
“CG,” I announce. “You did it.”
She burst into tears. “I did. I’m sorry.”
“To your room NOW.”
She wailed as she went up the stairs. I followed her up there and told her the following: Lying is unacceptable and from this moment on is punishable with a spanking and the lack of privileges such as TV, afterschool playtimes with friends, or the trampoline. I explained that if she doesn’t stop lying now she will NOT be trusted when she becomes a teenager. She doesn’t know this yet, but I’m also going to start making her write sentences when she lies. And it’ll get doubled each time she lies. First infraction, she has to write “I will not lie to my parents” ten times. If she lies again, she has to do it 20 times. Next time: 40 times. Then 80. Then 160. And so on, until she learns her lesson. Any bets on how many sentences she’ll be writing by the time she figures out it’s not worth it?
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