This week something new happened – my five-year-old told me she lied to me.
It wasn’t the first time she had ever lied (obviously) – I mean, I may be slow but even I know she doesn’t REALLY see fairies when we walk in the woods (or does she? ha!), but it was the first time she actually owned up to one of those lies.
We were reading books just before bedtime when she suddenly said, “mommy, I have something to tell you but I’m scared you’ll get annoyed”.
The word “scared” bothered my ego and I was just about to go off on one of my monologues about how I would always love her no matter what, when it hit me that what I need to do right now is shut the f*ck up and let my little girl say whatever she needs to say.
So I suggested that if it was too hard to say out loud, she would whisper it in my ear, which for some reason made it more possible for her to open up (good thinking mom), and out came the words I have never heard before – “I sometimes lie to you mommy”.
First reaction was in my stomach. I felt it turn. Even though I knew she told little lies before, I realized by how she presented this statement that this was something bigger. It instantly made me sad – when and how did it happen that my 5-year-old no longer feels she can tell me anything? I felt guilt – what am I doing wrong? And of course, I was scared – what if it’s something really bad?
I had to tell my inner voices to shut up again as I looked at my child who was now staring straight into my eyes with such expectation and I knew that the next thing I said was crucial.
I decided to focus on the fact that she did something that “scared” her and I acknowledged how much courage it must have taken for her to do that. I also thanked her for telling me the truth and for trusting me when she felt ready to do so.
She told me what the “lies” were (sorry, not gonna share cos she asked I keep that private, ha!) but thankfully they were not something to worry about and after lots of hugs and a long conversation (as long as a conversation with a 5-year-old can be that is), she felt better and went to sleep.
I won’t lie to you – I still felt a little pinch.
I wasn’t sure why until I spoke to a friend who always sheds light when I can’t see the thing that is staring me in the face.
My baby is growing up.
You see, when you think about it, our kids start their separation from us from the very first day of their lives. With every step they take, towards being more and more independent, and with needing us less and less with every day that goes by.
When they are small they think they are part of us. They actually think we are connected so they probably think we can read their minds too which is probably why really young kids don’t lie. But there is a point when that light bulb switches on and they figure it out and I’m guessing this is the stage they try to test that theory out.
My daughter has reached that point. Horray!
This doesn’t mean that I’m going to encourage my child to lie, obviously not. But if I am being totally honest, then I will admit that lying is also part of life (rightly or wrongly) and my daughter discovering that, is just one more step in her path towards growing up.
I am also far happier with her choosing to be honest with me, rather than thinking that she HAS TO be honest. The way I see it, you can’t really force people to do something just cos you want them to. Even if they are ‘just kids’, even if they are YOUR kids, and even if you are ‘right’ (or you think you’re right).
It just doesn’t work that way.
So thank you, Bella, once again for teaching this old bird yet another valuable lesson in life. I hope you know forever and always that I am here for you no matter what, able to accept you fully along with your flaws, lies, and any other imperfections, or as I like to see them – all the sh*t that makes us human. It’s not easy accepting the fact that you need me less and less, but it’s also the biggest pleasure seeing you slowly spread your wings and fly.
I love you.
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