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Lately, the lying here has gotten out of hand. When my 3-year-old daughter first started with her fibs a couple months ago, it was
all bad cover-up jobs: Who drew on the
wall? “It wasn’t me, “ she’d say calmly, crayon still in hand.
Back then, her attempts to fib were so bad they were funny.
But recently she’s not only perfected her poker face, she’s gone full on
pathological, lying about everything, even when she has little to gain from it.
And here’s the rub: She’s really good at it.
For example, she had a conversation with her father that
contained not a single ounce of truth. I took her out to meet a friend of mine
and her daughter for brunch at a newly opened bakery, but when we got back she
told her dad we’d met her cousins for lunch at a Cuban restaurant. We had sat
outside, she told him we ate inside. “What did you eat?” he asked. “Shrimp and
rice,” she said, not missing a beat.
Mind you, she had a goatee of chocolate still on her face
from the huge slap of toast covered in a rich nutella-esque spread that I’d let
her eat at the café. It was only because of the evidence spread literally all
over her face that my husband even sensed something was afoot.
Did she play with so-and-so like she said at school? Did she brush her teeth? Was Batman at ballet class?
Why the sham, kid? She didn’t need to cover anything up—I’d
ordered her the chocolate toast (mainly because I wanted half), so she knew she
didn’t need to conceal its consumption. Still, she lied through her tiny teeth
about every aspect of our afternoon. Just for kicks, it seems.
I’ve long known she is an unreliable narrator, but since
she’s taken on lying as a sport, I never know what to believe. Did she play
with so-and-so like she said at school? Did she brush her teeth? Was Batman at
ballet class? Now when she pees, she rushes in to tell me to come look at the “giant
poop” she made. As I stand over the toilet and explain, once again, the
difference between the two, she stands there smugly, like I’m the idiot in the
Deception, it appears, is just an amusement—a play with
reality that she can shape to her liking and get others to buy into. It makes
sense she likes lying so much because she also loves magic tricks. I guess
nothing feels better than pulling one over on all the know-it-all adults in her
life—namely, her parents. Apparently, she sees her mother as one big sucker. As
her mom, I’m a little bummed to be the punch line of the joke, but, as a writer,
I applaud her ability to fabricate stories, stick with them and sell the hell
out of them to others.