John lost a front tooth this weekend! The actual event was not very dramatic. Just a call from his room, “Mom, I lost the tooth!” But the days leading up to the tooth were filled with wiggling the tooth, banging the tooth by accident, discussing the tooth, etc.
And here’s the truth: it was disgusting. A loose tooth actually makes me want to throw up a little bit. I certainly do not want to wiggle it, or see someone else doing it, or hear about how it can turn sideways or how you can feel the top of the tooth with your tongue. The first two he lost — smaller bottom teeth — were kind of icky. This one was ten times worse.
Of course, I didn’t tell John that. For one thing, if I tell him it’s giving me the willies (and then explain what that means) then he’ll start thinking it’s yucky or scary and then the loose teeth are going to become an issue for him, too. For another thing, it just seems rude to tell someone that what’s happening to his or her body is gross.
This has me thinking about all the other things that I’m slightly less than honest about as a parent. There are big lies (holiday related, for example) that I think most of us adhere to. But there are also small, get-through-the-day lies. Here are a few.
What I say: We don’t eat cookies for breakfast.
What’s true: You don’t eat cookies for breakfast. I sometimes do, but not until after you leave for school.
What I say: That little spider is not going to bother you if you don’t bother him.
What’s true: I can’t stand spiders and that one looks ready to pounce. I’m not coming back into this room until your father gets home and deals with this.
What I say: This broccoli is delicious.
What’s true: I don’t like it either, but it’s good for us and we’re both going to suffer through it.
What I say: The water is not that cold. Hop in!
What’s true: It’s ridiculously cold. I’m gritting my teeth and holding my breath while smiling at you and holding out my shivering hand.
What I say: Cool! A worm!
What’s true: For the love of pete, please don’t make me touch that worm.
I suppose if we were all 100% honest as parents, we wouldn’t really be very good parents. We’d just be pals. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Please tell me that you have some little lies, too.