Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Pretty Little Liar

We were about to go out the door, and I really didn’t have time to mess with her teeth , so I asked Olivia if she’d brushed them yet. “Yes,” she said. She didn’t miss a beat. “Daddy did it earlier.” I wish I could say that her voice took on a different, suspicious tone; or that her eyes looked extra wide, a grin plastered across her face; or that she looked away immediately after answering me. I wish that I could say that she’d given any indication that she was being a sneaky rat. 

It didn’t matter this time. I didn’t believe her anyway. But this is a skill she has plenty of time to perfect before she’s 16…Sigh. Before she’s 6.

I didn’t really believe her because I didn’t remember hearing anything about her daddy brushing her teeth, and most things he does—those things happen LOUD. But I had to get myself ready, and I wasn’t going to argue with her. “Are you SURE? Daddy brushed your teeth? Really? When?”

“Yes. All done,” she said. She was already busy playing with something else.

I let it go and went to the bathroom to brush my own teeth. I could ask her daddy later, and there was no use going out in public with monster breath. We really had about 3 minutes until we had to be in the car, driving…When I finished, I turned off the water in the sink and then it hit me. I checked Olivia’s toothbrush. Dry. Really? I checked again. Dry. Dry as my sense of humor. Dry as a martini. Dry as Secret Powder Fresh deodorant. Dry as…you get the point. The brush was dry and I was pissed.

I know what you’re thinking. You want to know if I lost it on her. You want to know if I called her on it. You want to know a million different things about how I dealt with this blatant, bold-faced, absolute LIE that my 4 year old told me—because we always, always want to know what parents do when their kids present them with these kinds of “opportunities” to prove their parenting awesomeness. (Or maybe you're just thinking you used to lie about brushing your teeth, too. But that isn't really very helpful here, and shame on you for doing that to your mother and your dentist.)

But instead, I’m going to tell you what I did. I took a bunch of deep breaths…as many as you can take in a couple random minutes when you’re late to go somewhere. I tried hard to channel Conscious Discipline and told myself a bunch of times, "This moment is what it is." Then I went into the kitchen and said, “Olivia, your brush is DRY. WHY is your brush dry?” I said it as calmly as I could, but I imagined I must sound a bit like a serial killer about to strike again. I sort of hoped I did, though I guess that goes against the whole "Conscious Discipline" thing. She grinned at me, though, so no dice on the serial killer theory.

“Daddy dried it after he brushed my teeth.”

Dear God.

So I did what any good, sensible, totally late parent would do. I grabbed her and took her into the bathroom and brushed her teeth. I didn’t sing the happy song I always sing to the tune of “Row Your Boat,” though: “Brush, brush your princess teeth! Brush them nice and cleeeeean! Get the germies off of them. Ariel keeps her teeth clean!” Nope, didn’t sing that. That’ll show her. Now she knows I mean business.

Anyway, since then, I haven’t done a thing about it.I guess I'll think about it and next time she goes for a big, blatant one like she did today, maybe by then I'll be ready. I'll be a parenting superstar next time. This time, though, I just made sure she wouldn't get cavities.

What do you do when your kid blatantly, shamelessly lies to you?
photo credit: _Teb via photopin cc