While my son has been making new teeth and new words, my daughter has reached new strides in her development as well.
She has acquired the lifelong skill of lying.
Aw, mommy's little girl is growing up.
It started out quite innocently enough and quite frankly, still hasn't left the early stages of deception. It seems to be a mix of laziness and avoidance of reprimand. Of course, that's sort of why big people lie too, so maybe she's not as much of a beginner as I thought.
Growing up with an alcoholic father, I became the consummate liar as a means coping and surviving -- mostly to avoid the harsh words and swift hands. Spilled milk was met with fire, so I learned pretty quickly that it was better to just slide by the truth and save myself a whole lot of pain.
As a parent, I've become intimately aware of how I react towards her when accidents happen, or worse, when things are purposely done that require intervention. I find myself walking the fine line of teaching my daughter consequences and honestly sharing my frustration when something happens, even if it is an accident, but also helping her understand that she can come us and disclose anything without being afraid; it's her choices and behavior that might cause problems.
She doesn't get put in time out for dropping water on the floor, or peeing in her bed. Admittedly, I do offer a bit of a grumble, on some days it's louder than others, but then I encourage her to help us clean it up, and then remind her that she needs to come get us when it happens and that we love her no matter what and that she can feel comfortable coming to us with anything.
I know. I sound like a freaking after school special.
But based on the lies, I'm guessing she doesn't really get it.
A few days ago she told me several times, even after I explained to her that if she was lying she would lose privileges, that she had made her bed. Surprise! She hadn't.
And then just yesterday I found a huge puddle of water on the floor in the bathroom a few hours after she had "washed the dishes;" apparently it was all Drew's doing. (Good use of the younger brother blame, however!).
I know it's part of growing up. I know it's how kids are.
But that itty bitty part of me feels like I have done something wrong. That I sighed too heavily the last time she broke a glass and spilled her juice on the floor. That she hears her father and I fighting more often than I care to admit and she thinks it's her fault. That I have become the cliche' parent that believes her kid is just how she is and that her parenting didn't have anything to do with it when really all her fault.
Truth? I fear that her not telling me about the pee in the bed and the water on the floor is going to lead to the lies that could really affect her life. I fear that she won't feel that she can come to me when she really needs to come to me and when I really want to be able to be there for her.
And I fear that the one thing, the only thing, that I really want to do well in this lifetime -- being a good parent to my children -- is slowly slipping from my grasp.