My youngest is eight years old and as I’ve come to remember in recent weeks, this is the age of lying. There is more than one age of lying of course. There is the 3/4yo lying phase where they come up with outlandish excuses that make you want to burst out laughing. There’s a teenage lying phase where the lies could be downright dangerous if not detected. But this phase appears to be all about self-gratification and pulling one over on mom. (Though I suppose all lies are about self-gratification aren’t they?)
My son has decided to focus his sneaky behavior on his ipod. A few weeks ago we noticed that he was awfully tired in the mornings. One night I went in his room late to shut the windows because it was raining, he was sprawled across the bed sideways. I smiled and went to gently move him back only to discover he had fallen asleep on his ipod. WTH?!?
He was grounded from it for a few days after a stern lecture. And since that time I’ve tried to make sure the ipod is downstairs at bedtime. It’s usually on his bookcase and I’ll just take it out with me after I tuck him in. Two nights ago I forgot to check. Yesterday I had a hard time waking him up. When he came downstairs after getting dressed he walked over to the charger in the living room, squatted down to hide said charger and tried to slip his ipod out of his pocket while making it look like he was picking it up off the charger. I watched the whole thing. When I asked what he was doing, he had the nerve to look me in the eye and tell me he was taking his ipod off the charger.
I reminded him that I had been standing there for a few minutes and asked if he’d like to change his story. He got that sheepish look, stared down at the floor and confessed that it had been in his room and yes he had played late at night. I told him to plug it in and leave it there for the day.
Bedtime last night, I noticed the ipod wasn’t on the charger. I hadn’t seen him playing with it but asked him when I tucked him in where his ipod was. His answer? “I think by my legos.” I checked under his pillow, asked if he was sure it wasn’t in his room and he said he was sure. I said goodnight and went looking.
It wasn’t by the legos or any of the other usual spots. I went back to his room, turned on the light and told him to give me his ipod.
J: I don’t know where it is.
Me: Are you sure it’s not in this room? Because I can’t find it anywhere else.
J: I’m sure!
Me: Silent stare… Is it in this room?
J: (pause… mumbling) yes
Me: holding out my hand, still staring
J: (crying) I don’t want to get in trouble.
Me: If you give it to me right now the trouble will be far less than if you stay in that bed one more minute.
J: (still crying, pulls it out from behind some books) I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
Me: You lied to me two times today. Two. Times.
J: I know and I’m so sorry.
Me: You should be sorry.
I might have also laid on a bit of Catholic guilt by suggesting he say the Act of Contrition before he went to sleep.