Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The lies we tell.

I have a couple of friends who refuse to play along with the whole Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy game. The reason? They believe it's lying to their kids, and how can their kids ever trust them again once they find out that mom and dad lied about Santa?

That's fine for them. And they're good about teaching their kids not to ruin it for all the other kids who have lying bastards for parents.

But you know, I think it's kind of silly and takes a little magic out of childhood (not to mention the fact that Santa threats are the only way to get some kids to behave anytime between Halloween and December 24th). I think it's safe to say that most of us grew up believing in Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy or something like that--nearly every culture has some sort of mythical character taught to children. And I also think it's safe to say that none of us go around harboring lingering distrust toward our parents because of it.

And you know, mythical characters aside, sometimes lying to your kids is a necessity.

Case in point: This morning I informed Amelia that she was getting a hole in the side of her face and that her lips were peeling off.

The kid has a terrible habit of sucking on her blankets. Not just a bit of the corner in her mouth as she falls asleep--we're talking yards of fabric crammed so tightly into her mouth that I don't know how she hasn't choked to death in her sleep. Her blankets are soaked with saliva every morning, and if I don't wash them every other day, they stink like there's a rotting carcass in her room.

It's seriously messing up her teeth, and her lips and cheeks are constantly chapped due to rubbing on wet fabric all night.

I took all of her "blankies" away ages ago, but she just sucks on her sheet and quilt in bed. So, I bought her some blanket sleepers, turned up the heat a little and removed all but the fitted sheet from her bed. I hoped maybe a week or two without blankets would cure her. Instead, she pulled the fitted sheet off and had half of it crammed in her mouth the next morning.

Sometimes I go in at night and remove the blanket from her mouth while she sleeps. It's like those clowns who pull a hundred hankies out of their mouth. I don't know how she fits that much in.

ANYWAY. This morning her lips and cheeks were particularly dry, cracked and bleeding. Soooo, I took a closer look at breakfast, and in my most worried tone, informed her that I was pretty sure there was a hole forming on one of her cheeks. And that it looked like her lips were going to fall off. I got an added bit of credibility when after wiping her mouth on a napkin, there was a bunch of dead skin and blood left behind.

I told her it was from sucking on her blanket. I won't lie--she was pretty terrified. But if it works, it will be worth the therapy bills in the future. They'll probably be cheaper than the orthodontia she'll need if she keeps up with the blanket sucking anyway.

Another example was about a year ago. I would do laundry once a week, and Ben would only have one pair of underwear in the dirty clothes. Occasionally, there would be NONE. For some reason, he decided he wasn't changing his underwear anymore. Even after his shower, he was putting dirty ones back on.

He was "talked to" about it a few times, but the problem persisted. So, I told him that the reason we were so adamant about him changing his underwear every day was because dirty underwear could harbor bacterial infections, and if he got one, the only way to keep it from spreading throughout his body was for doctors to remove his penis.

Evil? Maybe. But he has changed his underwear every single day ever since.

I may have also informed my children that not eating vegetables would cause them to go blind and lose their ability to walk.

Sometimes you do what you have to do, moral quandaries be damned.

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