There is Nothing Wrong with Lying to Your Children

This weekend I was hit with a barrage of unanswerable questions from my son.  I know this is kind of what you sign up for when you decide to become a parent, but somehow I just wasn't prepared and didn't know how to answer some of these questions...and when I did...he didn't always accept my answer. So I did what every responsible parent does...I started making crap up...because that is good parenting.

Sam: Mom, what does the letter "R" start with?

Me: Um..."R"

Sam: No but what does it start with "R"rrrrr..."R" (He has started sounding things out slowly for me when I don't seem to "understand" him.  It's been a charming addition to an already lethal arsenal of unintentional sarcasm - but look at his parents)

Me:  Sam...the letter "R" is a letter so it starts and ends with an "R"

Sam: UUUUGGGGHHHH.  Mom, but WHAT does it start with.

Me: (thinking) What is on 2nd base. 

But instead I say: Look is that Batman?

Sam: Where?

Me: Over have to look real hard and not ask questions and maybe you'll see him.

Sam: Mom, What are pumpkins made out of?

Me: Pumpkins are made out of pumpkin.  

Sam: NO MOM....what are they made out of? 

Me: I'm not lying to you...they are made out of pumpkin.  They grow in a garden.

Sam: They grow in a garden?  But what are they MADE OUT OF???

Me: (exhale in exasperation) Um...Orange candy and happy thoughts.

Sam: (pause then sarcastically) Really mom? Really?  

(Driving by a cemetery)

Sam: What's that mom?

Me: It's a cemetery.

Sam: What's a cemetery?

Me:'s's like a garden.

Sam: Like a garden? Like where pumpkins are? 

Me: Yep, it's like a very old...very dead pumpkin garden...without any pumpkins.

Sam: Oh. 

Come All Ye Women and Let me Interpret Your Dreams

I would like to propose something. 

Last time I made a proposal, it was to create a task force of women whose sole purpose it is to bring you a bra to the emergency room for those times you erroneously thought there “wasn’t time” when rushing your child there. Once you arrived, saw the piles of children in the waiting room, watched your own little one jump from chair to chair while squealing and tried to find a position to sit in (short of holding them) that didn’t make you feel, well, jiggly, you realized that you should have taken the time.  That’s when you call the “Bra Squad”. 

I’m still waiting for it to catch on.

Anyway, back to my current proposal.  This one has to do with dreams.

This morning, I woke up extremely anxious, mentally exhausted and sore.  Not sore like, my right arm hurts from Bunko...but all over sore.

I hobbled over to the Keurig (which is, by the way, the only member of my family I will talk to before 9AM) when it dawned on me.  I had had a really stressful dream. 

Now, women, let me interpret your dreams…yes all your dreams.  With the exception of the never-happens-enough fantasy dream where you have a run in with your favorite celebrity who, for some reason, looks more like a kid you used to ride the bus with, all your dreams mean one thing.  In one sentence, your dreams mean this, “you feel inadequate”.  It’s true. 

All of my dreams involve a situation or task that I just can’t control.  It’s usually something simple that in real life, I can actually do, but evil lives in dream world. It’s a place where even the simplest of tasks has an elevated and completely unrealistic level of complication preventing accomplishment.

It’s very frustrating…like a few of those Angry Birds levels.

Running from something?  Not so fast…literally
Screaming?  Never loud enough, it seems.
Trying to bake a cake?  Not with the infestation of ninja vampire spiders trying to bite your fingers off unless you successfully complete all the Macarena dance moves. 
Trying to talk to your husband? He’s not listening. 

Okay sometimes its realistic.

You wake up mentally exhausted, emotionally drained and you're trying to figure out why your left foot is inexplicably numb. 

You see, I don’t’ see why I have to delineate between dreams and things I physically did.  Why? Because they feel the same on my body. 

Maybe I should be doing more P90X. 

Last night I was trying to navigate a gypsy carnival to find my son while dodging the creepy little girl ghost who kept popping up in front of me.  It was way stressful.


So why am I at work this morning?

Okay, so here is my two-part proposal:

Proposal Part One:  Please put a drop down choice on my LiveStrong App under exercise that says, “Particularly Active Dream = 400 Calories (or) go ahead and get a chicken biscuit on the way to work”

Proposal Part Two: In addition to vacation days, sick days, short and long term disability, there needs to be some time off given to “dream recovery”. 

Yes, I feel like an elderly wimp requesting this.  Dreams used to be no big deal.  You could go to bed, spend the entire night ‘running in place’ from a gigantic helium balloon named “Bonecrusher” and still have enough energy to put on eyeshadow and jewelry.  Now, I have a dream about spilling a cup of coffee on my favorite chair and I wake up needing about six Advil (the multi-vitamin of choice for moms).

So all I’m asking are a few understanding conversations like the one below from places of employment:

“I can’t come in to work today.”

“Why?” <–----- in my hypothetical situation, you are allowed to ask probing questions that are typically shunned by HR professionals.

“My husband is cheating on me.”

“With who?” <–------ see, like here.

“Charlize Theron”

“Seriously?” <–------ and you can make judgmental one-word responses.

“Most definitely…except she looks like our pharmacist.  Anyway, I’m exhausted, emotionally drained and my left foot is numb…I’ll be in tomorrow.”

See, you don't have to Ferris Bueller your way to a sick day and everyone is happy!  Except your husband, who you are punishing with the silent treatment even though you are fully aware of the fact that it was a dream.  

I'm the Kind of Girl Who Leaves a Trail

“You’re the type of person who could never have a secret double life somewhere,” My husband was telling me one day.

“Yes, because I am a good person who loves my husband.”

“No, I mean you couldn’t pull it off…because you always leave a trail. I would totally know.”

I sighed.  Sadly, he was right.  I mean, not sadly because that’s the only thing keeping me from a whole other family, but it means I just can’t pull off secrets in my house…good ones or bad ones...not happening (to quote "you Germans") :)

It’s because of things like this.

Minutes earlier, we had been sitting in the driveway watching our son play.  I was texting my mom a Christmas gift idea for Andy and I was being really obnoxious about it being a secret and that it was about him and he’d have to ‘wait and find out’.  As usual, I went back to read the message after it had been sent (I’m not sure why I do this…but I do it…and so do you).  It was then that I noticed that I had sent the message, not to my mother, but to Andy

I panicked but tried to be nonchalant…he can’t know I’m alarmed, “Hey honey,” I said breezily, “where is your phone?”

He looked at me suspiciously. 

Darn it, he knew

We bolted up out of our seats at the same time and raced into the house, leaving our 3 year-old in the yard to fend for himself.  Whatever, don’t judge, it will make him tougher.  

I had no idea where I was going…I didn’t know where his phone was, but I was hoping he didn’t know either.  That would, by the way, be the only reasonable explanation as to why he never answers it.  He doesn’t know where it is…ever. 

After a lot of racing around the house and yelling at him, I was finally allowed to delete the incriminating message. 

I wish I could tell you that this was the only time I’ve ever done this.  I wish.  But I’m not going to get into Textgate 2010 because we’ve just now started speaking again.    

But, he’s right…I am the sort of girl who leaves a trail.

In one instance, I “secretly” had my sister’s two dogs over at the house while Andy was at work one day.  I was SURE I’d get away with it.  I carefully collected their leashes and dog toys.  I meticulously combed the floor for chew treats and left the house exactly the way it was found so certain that he would never know.  And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for the dog dish of water and the baby gate blocking the stairs that I left on my way out.    

Yes, I’m like the Jason Bourne of wife sneakiness. 

Last night I told Sam we would play some music through the surround sound in the den that was somehow hooked up through the DVD player and looped into the speakers with the help of the 1.21 Jiggawatts of electrical power…I don’t know what I’m saying. All I know is that Andy had turned it on the other night and played his iPod through it…so I was sure that I could ‘figure it out’. 

Sam waited patiently while I confidently hit buttons, turned things on and off, switched red and green wires behind the tv, turned light switches on and off, spun the batteries in the back of all 6 remotes and blew imaginary dust out of crevices in the hopes of playing one Foster the People song. 

All of it was to no avail. The stereo kept looping back to the Finding Nemo DVD that was in the player and all I was doing was losing my patience and punching the buttons even harder. 

Because, despite what they tell you, punching buttons harder totally helps. 

Then I made the problem worse when I decided it was not a button-pushing problem (because I was pushing all of them) it was a sequence-of-hitting-those-buttons problem. 

Fast forward fifteen more minutes, the remote I was holding was hot from overuse and at this point I had hit so many buttons in the process that the display started questioning my abilities.  I hit input four times only to see the words, “you done yet?” flash up on the display.  “GAHHHH…” I yelled at the tv and tore up the paper I was using to track the button pushing sequences. 

Finally, Sam brought me a pumpkin spice latte that he had run down to Starbucks to get (I guess...I don't know, I was screaming at the t.v.) and suggested we take a breather. It was only then that I gave up.  I couldn’t even get the t.v. to turn back on correctly.

I was, as we say in America, screwed.

I had NO idea how to fix what I had just done. 

So I did what every honest, loving wife does.

I waited until my husband got home and said breezily, “Hey, can you teach me how to play the iPod through the stereo system?  Sam wanted to hear some music tonight but I told him that I wasn’t sure how to do that and I obviously didn’t want to mess with the t.v. and just hit buttons randomly.” I laughed at such a preposterous idea.

In addition to the nervous/guilty laughter, I was also holding my breath and crossing my fingers that whatever realm I had sent our electronics into could be easily undone with a few buttons being pushed and no knowledge that I had ever been involved.

But that was not to be.

Andy grabbed one of the remotes, hit three buttons, frowned, looked at me and said, “What the hell did you do?”

My eyes narrowed. How does he always know?