With Christmas only 9 weeks away, it is time to find that elusive spot for ‘Santa’s’ presents. As the children get older, a perfect spot away from their prying eyes is getting more and more difficult to find. Although anything would be an improvement on last year’s hiding place – which was an epic fail!
Let me explain: A couple of weeks out from Christmas I chose a day when both children were at pre-school to commit to Christmas shopping, and sure enough after about 4 hours traipsing around the shops I had a trolley full of boxes. I loaded these into the boot of the car and headed home.
Upon entering the garage, I noticed a wooden table with plenty of room beneath it and an old single mattress leaning up against it. “That’s it,” I thought. “The perfect spot.” I then proceeded to unpack all the boxes, place them neatly underneath the table and stand up the mattress so it was blocking the presents.
Very proud of my efforts, I continued up the stairs and made myself a well-earned cup of tea.
So, about a week after the shopping trip, everything was gearing up for Christmas day and I felt pretty relaxed as all the shopping had been attended to. It was the children’s last week of pre-school and this particular Tuesday morning we were, as usual, pressed for time. “Right, down the stairs, let’s go!” I yell to the kids and they slowly start to propel their little legs in a forward motion. I was just collecting my handbag when I heard my son yell out from the garage, “Mum, come and see what I have found!”
I didn’t have to look to know what he had found. As I walked down the stairs I was trying to think fast and come up with an explanation, but nothing was coming. I was just going to have to do what any good parent would do in this situation – LIE!
And that’s exactly what I did: “Well done son, you have found all the empty boxes,” I said with the biggest fake smile I could manage.
He looked very confused and ready to protest, so I continued on.
“You see, Mummy went and got all these empty boxes with labels on the front, so Santa would know what you wanted for Christmas.”
He now looked more intrigued than confused. I took a breath and kept on.
“So, if you and your sister are extra good for Mummy and Daddy then Santa will come and visit on Christmas Eve and fill these boxes with the toys that match.”
He was convinced, and promised to be on his best behaviour, especially now he had seen the empty boxes!
I was off the hook. Thank goodness for my lovely children who take everything I say as gospel!
So that was one example of a time I had to lie to my children, and I don’t really like doing it.
However, most of the time I don’t really feel like I am lying, but more like I am planting an idea in their heads in order to turn a potentially negative outcome into a positive one.
This situation arose in the weekend just been: You see, Sunday in our household is swimming day, and now that a new cafe has opened at the swimming complex, our tradition is to have coffees, muffins and milkshakes after the lessons are completed.
So, last Sunday we were sitting down waiting for our orders when my 4-year-old daughter pipes up. “I need my coffee now!”
I assure her that a milkshake is on its way for both her and her brother. A few minutes later our muffins and beverages arrive, but we are missing a milkshake.
I glance over at the cafe staff but they are more worried about impressing their male colleague than a minor detail such as their customers!
My son starts to screw up his face and begins to initiate meltdown mode as he let us know in no un-certain terms how “unfair” it is that his sister has her milkshake and he doesn’t have his.
My husband quickly retreats and heads up to the counter to remind the staff about the forgotten milkshake. He then decides to wait for it at the counter rather than join me and his temperamental son.
Time for some quick thinking again. I look directly at my son and say “Wow, you are so lucky!” Again he looks confused and definitely not believing that waiting for his shake could anyway be deemed as ‘lucky’.
I continue, “Did you know that the longer you wait for something the better it is?” He shakes his head. “That means that when you actually get your milkshake it will taste better than it ever has before,” I say, ever so patiently.
He seems convinced and when his milkshake finally arrives, he takes a sip and beams a huge smile in my direction.
“Mummy,” he explains. “This is the best milkshake I have ever tasted!”
“I told you so son.”
Are there times you have had to lie to your children? Do you think that sometimes it is in their best interests to stretch the truth, just a little?