Monday, June 1, 2009

Lying Liar

I don't particularly care for lying to my kid. Like, if Lily asks me straight out if there is a Santa Claus, I am not going to tell her that yes, some grizzly old fucker is able to haul his fat ass around the world in one night and drop off stuff you can get at the neighborhood Target to every child who's been good that year. I can't say that with a straight face. Instead, I'll smooth Lily's hair and kiss her forehead and try and turn the question around (a solid, well-practiced tactic of passive-aggressive parents everywhere), as in, "Well, Sweetie, it's a wonderful thing to believe in. What do you think?"

This lets Mama off the hook, because I know Lily's candy-colored, hyper, 5 year old brain can't focus on the question long enough to really decide what she believes, and she's already moved on to the next thing ("Do you think he'll bring me a Bratz doll anyway, even though you think they look like trampy Barbies?")

Anyway, lying isn't my favorite thing to do. Sometimes stretching the truth is
necessary, though. Like in the case of the loss of Lily's first wiggly baby tooth, which she yanked out while watching "Little House" and ran to show me with blood dribbling down her chin, I told a little fib. I helped her place the dainty little nub, almost like a doll's tooth, in the special "Toothfairy Tin" her grandmother gave her, and we stuck it under her pillow.

Then, viola! Next morning, when the tooth was gone and a folded-up dollar bill was in its place, I, with my giddy mommish tendency to cherish these once-in-a-lifetime moments, was as surprised and joyful as she was that the tooth fairy had actually visited. (I also mused that probably "A dollar was a special treat for the first tooth, and maybe the tooth fairy would be bringing nice, shiny quarters from here on in").

This morning, however, I told a flat-out lie.

See, last night around bed time, the cats were making a fuss about something in the hall. I flipped on the light, and there on the floor, curled up in a fetal ball, was a teeny baby mouse. Aaaah, shit. That's what I said, too. Loud enough, unfortunately, for a certain someone to hear me over the whirrrrr whirrrr of her Cinderella electric toothbrush, and Lil came running to see what I was cussing my face off about.

She watched in horror as I coaxed the not-yet-dead victim into a tupperware container and deposited him on the windowsill right outside the kitchen.

"I bet he'll be fine in a few minutes...just in shock," I smiled and gave Lily a hug. When we got into bed we talked about how Baby Mouse would find his way back to his his warm nest where Mommy and Daddy Mouse would take care of him and nurse him back to heath with mouse tea and lots of kisses. Sigh. Lil said she wanted to check on him first thing in the morning, and if he'd disappeared, that meant he was alright.


So, after the kid drifted off to sleep, I made my way into the kitchen to get a drink.
I checked on the sill and there was Baby Mouse, in the exact position I'd plopped him, very much no longer alive. I saw as I glanced closer that his little ear had been torn and his stomach was starting to leak out from underneath him.

Ahhhh, fuck.

So, I made a decision, and this might make me a shitty person or a good mother, I still haven't decided.

I reached out the window and gave Baby Mouse a gentle, one-finger flick down, down, down to the great street below.

Then I drank a double bloody mary with extra tabasco.

This morning, Lily bolted out of bed and skidded into the kitchen. Bleary eyed and slurping coffee, I barely realized what she was doing when she came and bounced, thrilled, onto my lap. "He's GONE! He's GONE! He's okay! The mouse went home to his family!"

I smiled. I nodded and said, "Yep, he must have. He's gonna be fine."
Then I hugged my daughter close and made a tiny contrition to the great judger above (whomever that might be) for this teeny transgression.

Sometimes the truth is just nothing but bullshit.


BeautifulWreck said...

We all go there. Often have too.

jeremy said...

sure you wouldn't have been better off posting more kitten pictures?

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Part of the job of Mother is doing things like this to protect that sweet child from some of the harsh realities of live. At least for a time.

Wow, that was awkward said...

I don't see any problem with what you did. You probably could have gone either way, but it was late. I had a tough go of it with Will's beta fish. He died (probably of shock) in transport from my house to a neighbors prior to a vacation. Instead of replacing him, we told Will and he bawled for ten minutes. But then he said he was fine with it and he brings it up now and then. The little kiddies are so precious.

kay zee said...

K- If we were having a sleepover and I (a 30 year old woman) was the one who walked into your hallway to see this- I would hope you'd lie to me, too.

rkintn said...

It's okay. That was one of those special kinda mom lies you get to tell. There will be time soon enough for her to learn about life and death and everything in between. Trying to shield her from it for a bit longer is not wrong.

Just a friendly piece of advice..don't let her watch any kind of African wildlife show on Discovery. My 8 yr old is still pissed cause the lions ate a baby zebra on the show we watched yesterday. She thought the lions shoulda went hungry LOL

nitewalk6 said...

Don't beat yourself up. Morally this was not a bad thing. More like protecting the little one from some harsh reality that she doesn't need to be exposed to yet. Let her find out about that fat bastard in her own time. You know it will happen soon. But then my 52 y/o wife still talks about him coming and filling stockings (socks in her words). There's a difference between lying and myth and magic.

Krissyface said...

BW, thanks for that.

J, This is, I suppose, retribution for posting stupid shit on your blog.

Ron, I agree.

Awkward, I think the lateness definitely played a part. I can talk the paint off a house about dead cats going to heaven with Lily's great grandmother after a second cup of coffee in the AM. But at 8 pm? Not so much.

KZ, you can sleep over any time, darlin. I can't promise I'll shield you from dead things in my apartment, but I'll give it a college try.

Rkin, ok, about the nature shows? Lily's CLASS went to see DisneyNature "Earth" and I chaperoned. How about a pack of lions taking down an elephant? Graphic and gruesome. (my little bloodlusting child loved it of course)

Nitewalk, totally agree with you there. I had a boyfriend in high school who still went to see Santa at Macy's every year and posed for a picture with his family. I ran into him recently and they are still all doing it. I think it's, um, sweet?

Sproactually said...

Try that when your pleasant, loving, peaceful cat drags a very bloody and not breathing young rabbit up on the back porch, in front the sliding door as your 7 year old daughter screams.

Of course, my cat no longer has teeth, so you just get a very wet gummy mouse these days.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

OMG, you saw a mouse in your house and didn't call 911? You are a very brave girl.