The other day, I was awakened by my son yelling from his crib. This is not unusual. I would say this happens every day. Every. Single. Day. But this day was a little bit different. Because instead of merely calling for mommy or daddy, he was screaming, “I got poop in my butt!”
That doesn’t happen every day, neither the yelling of it nor the reality of it. People don’t normally shit in their sleep, not even little kids. So it was a bit strange that he had.
Except he hadn’t: he was lying.
And so it begins…
Everyone lies. A month ago I wrote about the lies I myself use on my son. And now he’s using lies on me.
Maybe they’re teaching deception at preschool, but that’s unlikely; he came home singing “Jesus Loves Me” the other day (it’s not a lie if they believe it). Besides, learning to lie seems to be a normal part of human development. We learn to lie before we learn the value of honesty, before we know that lying is bad. So it seems that he picked this new habit up all by himself.
There have been other lies, mostly to do with whether or not Mommy said he could watch TV or Daddy said he could have his gummy snacks, but until recently it was easy to give him the benefit of the doubt and write those off to confusion and general stupidity. Not anymore.
The poop lie is downright sophisticated. Somewhere along the line, he figured out that changing his butt after he went to the bathroom was quite the priority for us. Maybe it was the time he pooped all over himself in his crib and we went into full-on quarantine mode. Maybe it’s how stressed out we are about potty training. We’ll never really know what clued him in to the power of poop, but he’s using it against us to get what he wants. Which, in this case, is us awake and him out of his crib.
And it’s effective! After all, only a monster would let their kid sit in a pouch of his own shit for an extended period of time – especially first thing in the morning, before he’s even had a chance to annoy us so much that he deserves to. You can’t really blame us for falling for it.
So, unlike the typical morning, when I’d lay there half-asleep as he serenades the two of us with “open the door please!” and “I wan go udder woom!”, I woke up with a start and immediately shot out of bed to clean his nether regions ASAP. Seriously, I was more awake that morning than I’d been in weeks. Shit’s better than coffee! I really mean that: when it comes to waking you up, actual shit is better than coffee.
Of course, there was nothing to clean. He had lied, and I had fallen for it. Now I was awake, and he was in the other room, just as he’d intended, happy as a deceptive little clam. But now we’re on the lookout. We’re aware that he is aware, and we’re anticipating more bullshit.
We’ll try to nip it in the bud and explain why lying is wrong and honesty is right and maybe it will buy us some time. But there’s no way around it: he will lie again. And again. Best case scenario? He grows up lying less than most kids, and feels guilty when he does, and he’s terrible at it.
Unfortunately, if this first incident is anything to go by, he won’t be terrible. He will be great. And when he’s wielding this weapon as a teen, our lives will be pretty shitty as a result.