Yep, Vito lied to me and his Dad. Flat out, then and there.
I was doing the dishes after we’d finished our morning meal. OK, so the dishes were sitting in the sink for like an hour before I got to them, and so it was close to lunch time, and I was also prepping lunch. Since we’d be eating in about thirty minutes, I specifically told Vito that he couldn’t snack any more. Now, Ton and I have this rule already set in stone: No snacking before meals is something we know by heart, and we don’t need to remind each other about it anymore.
So I said the usual instruction: “Vito, no more snacks. You can have Honey Stars after lunch.”
He stood their quietly, watching me rinse the last few plates. Then he chimed in sweetly —
“But, Daddy said I can.”
I can tell you that I turned off the tap, and did my best, “Say, WHUT?!” face.
“What did you say, Vito? Did Daddy really say that?”
He didn’t blink. He just plastered on a sheepish grin.
“YES.” And then he ran his fingers up the fridge in a slow “Eensy Weensy Spider” motion that was meant to make me think he was adorable beyond reason.
Nice try, kid.
Of course, I verified the information and asked Ton if he had indeed told Vito he could have Honey Stars before lunch — and of course, the answer was. “no.”
I can tell you that — in that moment — I felt the like rest of Vito’s childhood flashed before my eyes like some kind of strange, eerie, foretelling. Sure, it was the first time he actually told a “lie”, but hey, he’s just a kid. He’s three years old; what does he know about what he’s doing?
Apparently, a lot already. In fact, in this article I read on Huffington Post, Dr. Peggy Drexler says that kids have been known to experiment with lies early on in their lives, some as young as 2 years old. (The most deceitful age, according to studies, is when a child reaches 12! Yikes.)
Kids learn early on how to be self-serving. It’s a fact; they figure out that they can do certain things to get what they want. I suppose Vito experimented with his little lie to see if I would believe it, and eventually he’d get what he wanted. Of course, his little plan failed… and thankfully so! (He was quite hungry by the time I served lunch.)
It might seem like a small matter: What’s a little lie from a three year old anyway? And yet, part of me was a bit saddened by all this. My kid has figured out how to tell half-truths… and let’s just call them flat out lies.
It was a bit of a reality check. The reality is: My son’s growing up. He’s picking up on certain habits and behaviors. He’s learning how to manipulate situations to his advantage. He’s smart, indeed! And then, I realize: He’s also a flawed human being. I know that as the years go by, his innocence will slowly get sullied by those irksome character flaws we try so hard to change when we’re “older.”
Damn you, human nature.
But I can’t simply blame our fallen nature. As a parent, I’ve got to suck up the responsibility before me now, to raise a truthful and honest kid. I don’t know how he picked up the idea of telling a lie, but it sure made me think if he witnessed me telling one. **Gulp** I hope not!
Sigh. It’s just a reminder for me to prepare and deal with these things as a parent. But to be honest, it’s one of those times I feel more like a kid than ever! Help! Can I really raise up my kid to be a good person?
Only God knows… really. So, God, please help me. I know it’s just a small matter, but I want to make sure I’m able to raise up my child to be honorable, upright, and knowing what’s right.
Update: Of course, we corrected Vito afterwards and explained that he shouldn’t say what Daddy didn’t actually say. He seemed to take it well.
Has your kid ever lied? Has he or she done something, well, “bad”, even if in the eyes of the world, it wasn’t “that big of a deal”?