The word that Flora says more than any other word is “pretend”.

“Pretend I’m a dog, and my name is Sparkles.”
“Pretend I’m a guarder dog that turns into a chihuahua. Only I’m not a yappy chihuahua.”
“Pretend you told me to roll over.”
“Pretend I’m a dog that also turns into a kitty, and a hippo, and a horse, and a tiger, and a little girl.”
“Pretend I’m a dog and I can talk.”

Pretend. Flora spends almost all of her evenings pretending, usually pretending to be a dog, as you can see. The relentlessness of her pretending can be a touch wearing (it’s hard to get a dog to eat with utensils and/or take a bath), but it’s adorable, too. It’s what she is supposed to be doing. Imagining. Making up a new worlds. Last night, the girls pretended to be dogs trapped in a castle (their closet).

I got most of the laundry put away.

Kate pretends with Flora usually. Sometimes she’s a cat; sometimes she’s also a dog (“My name is Nipples.” Go ahead, explain to her that’s inappropriate. After you stop giggling). Kate engages in imaginative play, too, with dolls, feeding and rocking them to sleep, singing lullabies. (Flora never did the doll thing.)

Kate also lies. Flat-out, no hesitation, no shame: lies.

She lies about the usual things: poop in her diaper, hitting her sister. She lies about who spilled the milk or dumped the toys out. “That was For-wa,” she’ll say. Flora will gasp in indignation and flip out. Flora, I suspect, with her drama-queen tendencies, will never be a good liar.

It’s not the fact of her lying, it’s the way Kate does it. Unapologetic, straight-faced. She’ll look me right in the eye — and lie.

We were over at Bella and Tadone’s for dinner (I haven’t cooked in my kitchen in nearly two weeks). After cleaning up, we got our shoes on to go across the yard to our house. Flora headed out the door, and I headed to the living room to say good-bye to Tadone. Kate came with me.

Walking into the living room, I noticed a box of magnetic letters had been emptied onto the floor. I wanted to clean that up before we left. I said, “Oh, who dumped out the letters?”

Kate: “That was For-wa.”
Me: “Will you please help me clean them up? Flora’s already outside.”
Tadone: “It wasn’t Flora. It was Kate. I watched her do it.”

To her credit, Kate walked right over and put all the letters away by herself — she insisted on doing it by herself. To her detriment, though, she didn’t apologize for telling me Flora was responsible for the mess.

I am not sure what to make of this behavior, if anything. Kids fib all the time. Even Flora fibs; she usually says, “I’m just kidding” to excuse it.

But Kate out-and-out lies. No apology, no blinking.

I’m trying not to make a big deal of it to her. I don’t know that she knows she doing it, per se — who the hell knows what goes on in their little heads.

Any experience with this, anyone? Suggestions? Is this something I should address now, or do I have some time?

And I thought the teenage years were going to be hard.

9 thoughts on “Mendacious

  1. I could just swap out the names of the children for Ella and Genna. I could also swap the pretending to be a dog/cat with pretending to be Barbie/Taylor Swift/a dancer/a princess/a mermaid.

    My dear Genna is a big ol liar. I am dreading the teen years.

    • I get the feeling sometimes that we could trade our second children, and we would hardly notice the difference. 🙂

      I am actually hoping that Flora will start pretending to be other things soon. I have heard “mermaid”, usually when they are pretending the rug is water.



  2. Kate is trying to get a reaction. Good for you for not giving it, but I encourage you to acknowledge the lie; she needs to know you KNOW. (ya know?) Something like “Hey that isn’t true; lying is not acceptable. Now go over there and clean up that mess.” If it continues, as it did with my younger one, then consequences. “If you say something else that is not true, no TV for the rest of the day.” It really is disarming how they can lie so easily and seemingly without remorse. Like all things with kids, you do what you can and hope it’s a passing phase.

    • Did C start when she was almost 3? That’s what has caught me most off guard.

      And Kate going for a reaction is nothing new. I’m trying to explain “you’re just encouraging her” to Flora, who is most often the target for Kate’s goading. I find her easy to ignore (sometimes). Sometimes, when I say to Kate, “Is that true?” she’ll giggle, and tell the truth. Not every time, but often enough. For now.

      Thanks for the feedback!


  3. The desire to get the sibling (especially an older one) runs deep. I saw this with my nephews last year…

    They were playing in the front yard while the rest of us grownups sat on the porch watching and yakking. Sam, the 3-year old was running across the grass and tripped over his own feet. He stood up crying, pointed to his 9 year old brother who was across the yard and hollered, “Daniel did it!”

    Good thing there was a whole porch full of witnesses.

    I consider it payback for all the crap my brother used to pull on me. His favorite was to bug the living hell out of me until I’d push him away. Then he’d holler “Owwwwwwwwww!” Mom could only assume, from the sound of things, that her youngest boy was getting beaten with a ball bat. Then he’d laugh if I got in trouble.

    Mom caught onto that pretty quick though. After we’d grown, she’d always say, “I never beat my children… but with your brother, I always regretted that.”

    • Yes, having been an older sibling for all of my life, I’ve been a victim. Interestingly, though, I saw it much more with my younger brother and our younger sister. He didn’t try it with me nearly to the extent that Dr. Sis (as she is know now) tried it with him.

      Thanks for the comment! (and the correction is duly noted.)

      Ciao, rpm

      • Oh, he gave it to our younger sister pretty good too…

        He knew that I could get him back later when there were no grownups around, but baby sister had no such recourse other than to scream. Which she did with great frequency and enthusiasm.


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