Day 1 of the kids summer vacation started off ROUGH (possible understatement of the year). I was awakened at 7:30 by the kids entering my bedroom and our daughter handing me the telephone. My husband was on the other end with this: “Taylor says there’s a man in the back yard with a gun and wearing a ski mask?!?”
Taylor has a vivid imagination and is prone to telling tall tales with a straight face.
Taylor is a BIG LIAR!
I get up. Husband says he wants to stay on the line while I check it all out. I point out that our daughter is a BIG LIAR and hang up. I tell the kids to get into our bed and hide under the covers. As I’m heading toward my bedroom door, our son says “by the way, Mom, there’s two piles of dog poo on the family room carpet”.
Of course there is! Clearly, this morning has started off both literally and figuratively SHITTY.
Zane, our Australian Shepard, is house broken. He’s smart and generally a good dog, but he’s used to being let out at 6:30 or whenever someone gets up. The kids apparently got up at 6:00. They opened the shades to the back yard and were going to let him out when our son realized he himself needed to use the restroom. He ran off to do so, at which point, Taylor made up her tall tale about the person in the backyard with the ski mask and gun.
But I digress. Kids under blankets in our bed…I enter the hallway and head straight to my stash of stun guns. I’m an independent pro with Damsel In Defense (stun guns, pepper spray, etc) so I’m well stocked. I genuinely believe our daughter is lying, but on the off chance that she’s not, I’d rather be armed.
Stun gun in hand and on, I step over the two piles of dog poop and, in my bare feet, promptly step onto a well soaked mat at our back door. Clearly, the dog REALLY needed to go. And wow! Is this summer break ever starting off swell! Craptacular, really. Deficately.
Nothing in the back yard appeared disturbed. Nothing in the studio/shop was out of place. The only thing that was a little ‘off’ was that the side gate was improperly closed with the latch against the chimney rather than around the pole as expected.
Hubby asks: “Why would that be like that if Tay is lying?”
I respond: “Because we asked our two nine year olds to take out recycling last night and didn’t supervise the closing of the gate when they were done.”
Tay was sticking with her story. She was committed (or perhaps should be) to it and wasn’t going to admit to making the whole thing up to see what sort of reaction she’d get from her Daddy. She didn’t seem hurt or anything when I told her that I flat out didn’t believe her…at all…not one iota.
Frustrated, the morning set the tone for the rest of the day. The FIRST day of summer vacation. I lectured. I asked a lot of rhetorical questions. I was down right unfriendly, and I’m not proud of how I acted, but I needed my kid to understand that all of her little white lies before this morning that we over-looked or laughed about led to this HUGE lie that could have involved police (their Dad wanted me to call 911. I said ‘no’).
We have read the story of the Boy who Cried Wolf regularly since the twins were 2. We talk about trust, and how once you lose it, it’s really hard to earn back. How do I get through to this nine year old?
Last night, I was still frustrated and she still hadn’t apologized or even acknowledged that she had in fact made the story up. She and her Daddy sat down for a long chat, after which she came to me with tears in her eyes (the first she’d cried all day) and apologized.
I love these little people so very much, and I don’t want to be that parent that they remember in their adulthood as cold or unapproachable.
I had such excitement for this summer and big plans to get them out into as much as possible. When they got home from their last day of school on Monday, I took them for an impromptu picnic to one of their favorite playgrounds, then came home and BBQ’d shish kebabs, so how did I end up the next morning in such a train-wreck start to the first full day of Summer Vacation?!?
Here is what I know:
If I spend time and energy focused on this one ‘false start’, I will not move forward into what can still be the greatest summer we have had as a family. My kids, in spite of the girl being a big liar, deserve 100% my commitment to being present and active in making this summer one full of awesome experiences and memories.
Today was a new day. The kids slept in until 8:00 and allowed me to sleep in until 8:45! I got up and was greeted with hugs, coffee and no unpleasant doggy byproducts anywhere within the house. I made breakfast and then the kids and I changed beds, worked together to get laundry put away and then got out of the house. We made it to two different parks today and ended the day with a sunset scooter ride in Mukilteo down at the waterfront. All in all, a great ‘start’ to the summer.