Children lie. I know this. As a teacher, I saw kids lying all the time in an effort to get out of trouble or save face. It made me mad every time. No one likes to be lied to. So imagine my chagrin to find that my first born is turning into a habitual liar. Gah! And not just to stay out of trouble either.
She told me a whopper this morning, which is what got this whole liar-liar-pants-on-fire train of thought out of the station. Last night she had requested pancakes for breakfast and I said okay. So when I got up this morning, I was prepared for a little breakfast-y cooking. As soon as I stepped foot into the kitchen, Z says, "Grandma ate her cereal out of the green bowl."
My sleep addled brain digested that as possibly true. There was a coffee mug on the counter (Grandma was outside power washing the deck). But upon closer inspection, there was a sippy cup next to the green plastic bowl and a rinsed cereal bowl by the sink. Wha...? A lie. She looked me right in the face and lied like a rug. Z had already eaten breakfast, but was still angling for pancakes (which I probably would have made anyway if she had just asked directly!).
I sent her packing to her thinking spot (literally a circle on the floor labeled 'thinking spot') while I waited for my head to quit spinning Linda-Blair-style. That took a while. When I was sufficiently calmed down, I went to have a little chat with her about why telling lies is a bad thing. How when she tattles on every tiny infraction her brother commits, it is hard to believe that she doesn't know why he is sitting on the floor crying. That when she tells me her room is cleaned up when it isn't, I'm not going to believe her the next time. That once you start telling lies, everything you say becomes suspect.
We have had this discussion before. She always says that she will never lie again in the sincerest of tones. Until she does it again 30 minutes later. Time outs, getting sent to her room, and losing privileges have failed to make an impression on her. So I told her that the next time I caught her in a lie I was going to wash her mouth out with soap.
She made it until dinner where she told a doozie about some inconsequential thing and wrapped it up with some improbable statements that she attributed to her teacher. Huh? Really? I asked if her teacher had really said that and she said, "NobutIdon'twantmymouthwashedoutwithsoap!" Clearly, she knew she wasn't telling the truth, but proceeded anyway.
Sigh. When it came to be mouth-washing time, she was completely incredulous. Like I don't follow through on consequences - which I totally do! She added insult to injury by screaming at me that she didn't WANT her mouth washed out so I couldn't do it. There was running and chasing, catching and carrying. Much yelling and protesting (thanks for opening your mouth, babe!). And it was done.
In true nose-cutting and face-spiting form, my hard headed daughter kept right up with the defiance. I had a cup of water and a tooth brush ready for her, but she refused to use them. Instead, she just stood there with that horrible soap taste in her mouth. That's showing me, Z!
Finally, after I had gotten Q off to bed, Z came up to me and said, "I love you, Mama. I won't tell any more lies." Then I read her books, tucked her in, and kissed her soap-scented mouth good night.