It's only a lie if it isn't the truth...

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Lately, my 3 year old daughter's tiny dolls have been participating in an all nude revue of some sort --  the whereabouts of their clothes unknown.

Until now.

As I was sorting the darks from the lights in the laundry hamper, I came across these...

Lord knows being a doll is a dirty job, what with being carted here and there by chubby strawberry jam covered hands. Not to mention the crap you pick up while gallivanting with adventurous dinosaurs and an incredulous poop-covered mole. Clearly my daughter recognizes this, which is why she carefully undressed her playthings and placed their shirts, pants and tops where she thought they should go - one step closer to being Ivory Snow clean.

Still, I hesitated to wash the minuscule outfits, concerned that due to their size, they would become lost forever in the vortex that is our washing machine... a place where socks rarely come out in pairs.

So instead, I decided to tell a fib.

Me: Here are your doll clothes. Nice and clean.

My daughter: Did you wash them mommy?

Me: Yes.

My daughter: You did?

Me: Yup. I washed them with daddy's clothes.

What happened next was effing marvelous. My toddler went completely Cal Lightman on me, as she stared straight into my eyes for what felt like five minutes. Damn. I had said too much and she was on to me. She studied my expression, and twisted her mouth up like a pretzel. Then - without averting her gaze - she said, "Wash. Them. Again."

Wash them again?  Oh Hell. My three year old daughter had caught me in a lie, which (of course) prompted me to lie - yet again - by saying, "Good idea, because I might have forgotten to put all of them in the machine the last time."

I felt like a giant wad of  proud, wrapped up in a big bundle of shame. I should have known better. I've always suspected that she was a bullshit detector. I remember a friend of mine once explaining to her that the reason she couldn't play with the forks in the cutlery drawer was because "they were sleeping".  My girl appeared to accept the explanation but later told me she was fairly sure that that forks couldn't sleep because they weren't alive. She was two years old.

This is why I've always been (mostly) forthright with her. Y'know, aside from the doll laundry incident. And the perpetuation of the myth that houseflies prefer to be set free via the toilet.

But for now, I can rejoice in the knowledge that by the time my little deception detective starts school, her teachers will be put through the ringer if and when they try to pull the wool over that child's eyes.

"Mrs. Smith", she will say, "I just don't believe you." 

And this, will be a good thing. Because I wish nothing more for my daughter, than the ability to distinguish truth from fabrication. Well, that and the good judgement to stay away from any person who partakes in the tipping of cows - or the theft of (and subsequent travels with) garden gnomes. I hate those people.

No, really.

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