It’s not that I advocate lying to my kids or being dishonest in any way, it’s just that I’m smarter than she is, or at least I know more than she does. Being a parent is really hard. Occasionally I find myself saying things like, “No, sweetie, we can’t watch TV because it is charging.” It’s much better than the truth. You cant say to a 4-year-old, “I’d rather you not watch TV for the next couple of hours because I’m afraid that it will make you vegetable and stunt your creative growth and all my dreams of you becoming a full grown interesting person will just go out the window.”
The coolest thing about being the parent of a kid under the age of 5 is that they will believe anything. Seriously anything. So when you desperately plead with them to do something and they don’t want to, you can say the craziest things to make them change their minds and they go for it. And you feel this silly sense of accomplishment, like, “Ha ha, I win!”
When my daughter turned four, her closet looked like a store I wish I owned on Fifth Ave or Champs-Élysées. I took insane pride in her closet. I would show all my girlfriends who came over how cool her clothes were. And then, all of the sudden, she developed her own taste and decided unless it was pink or purple, she was not wearing any other item of clothing to school. I was mortified and tired of fighting with her every morning over what she was going to wear, so I told her that the head of her school called her father and I into school to let us know she could only wear pink or purple on Mondays or Fridays or else the color police would arrest her on the other days. Then we drove by a homeless person getting arrested on the street one day and he was wearing purple and I said, “See, sweetie, there’s the color police punishing that nice man for wearing purple on Wednesday.”
There are so many more that seem to come up everyday. I don’t think I’m a bad person, but welcome to my life. Sometimes I lie to my daughter but in the end we all win.
Illustration by Margo Murphy