According to research conducted by a team of developmental psychologists, toddlers as young as two-and-a-half can understand when others have different thoughts than them. From there, the team of psychologists went on to hypothesize that children may even know when adults are lying, cheating or pretending.
I read this with much trepidation. Though my husband and I entered into parenthood with the intention of always telling our daughter the truth, we've found ourselves slipping up more and more often. Tiny lies, yes. We're all out of cookies or Chester is taking a bath (he's actually in the washing machine) or celery is yummy! But lies nonetheless.
And there have actually been signs that she knows we're totally full of shit.
Like that time a few weeks ago when my husband unthinkingly ate a Lindt truffle in front of her. "What are you eating?" Em asked him, and I whipped my head around so fast in order to glare at him, I nearly got whiplash.
He looked at me, mid-chew.
"Vegetables!" he finally said. As if she actually understood the concept of vegetables as a specific, healthy food group.
"I want vegetables, too," she said, with a smile that belied her knowledge of her father's nefarious intentions.
Now that I know that she knows what I know, I can't help wondering what else she knows I've been lying about. Though the list is short, here are just a few of the lies my husband and I have been perpetuating.
1. Lying down on the floor together can constitute a really fun time (especially when Mommy is tired).
2. Fruits are a delicious indulgence, equal to cookies or candy.
3. Underwear is a sufficiently exciting enticement toward potty training.
4. There's no more juice/cookies/raisins (for when I don't want to give her more than we've already had but I know a meltdown may be imminent.)
5. Chester is sleeping (for when I'm too lazy to go look for him.)
6. Chester is taking a bath (for when he's actually being washed.)
7. Mommy's phone/computer is sleeping (for when I don't want her staring at a screen.)
8. Mommy's puter pocket (my Bluetooth speaker) is sleeping (for when I don't have the energy to dance around the kitchen.)
9. Your diabolically loud and annoying toy is sleeping (for when I can't handle how diabolically loud and annoying it is, particularly when I'm trying to get work done.)
Again, it's a short list. But if she knows I'm full of it, what's the point in continuing?
Earlier today, Em asked if the Reese's Piece in my YoCrunch were vitamins. "That depends upon how you define vitamins," I said, which was technically true.
"Can I try Mommy's vitamins?" she asked, because she is a weirdo who loves vitamins, and who is always trying to coerce me into giving her more vitamins.
"You're only allowed one vitamin a day," I said.
Which is the absolute truth.