Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We have a saying in my family

"Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." 

We started saying that in joking reference to the way TNC can sometimes...embellish a bit when relating a story.  Apparently, my son is taking this saying to heart.  In fact, he is telling so many stories right now I think he's made it his mantra.

It's not just normal kid fibbing, you know this kind:
"WB - did you brush your teeth?"
"Really? Then why isn't your toothbrush wet?"

It's things like coming home from the airport with him and Pixie in the car.  Pixie is playing with her Zhu Zhu Pet.  WB pipes up with, "I have a Zhu Zhu Pet."
"Really?" I ask.
"Yeah...but I...lost it.  At Nana and Papa's.  So I couldn't bring it home."
To which I reply, "Hmmm."
"You don't believe me!" (Dead giveaway.)
"Of course I believe you.  Because it would be silly to make up a story like that. Right?  Why would you make up something like that?"

Silence from the backseat for a minute.  And then, "Sorry, Mama."

And this is just one of many, many examples we are coming across.  Some of it is harmless.  I happened to see a wild turkey yesterday while out in our yard.  I called to him to go look out the front door so he could see it.  Cool, right?  This morning he goes to the window and says, "A turkey!  (Mind you, I can see out this window too, which I don't think he realized.)  "I see a turkey...but it just ran away."  (News Flash - there was no turkey.)
But some of it requires investigation.  He told my MIL that some kids were picking on him at school and he was still upset about it.  She asked him if he told the Mr and me and he said, "Yes. But I forgot what they said."  So her initial reaction of something being really wrong was kind of tempered by his admission that whatever life lessons we had told him, he couldn't remember. (For the record, we are checking with the school, but I just don't think anything really happened.)

Which is the MOST frustrating part.  Boy who cried wolf, anyone?  And he KNOWS that story.  I have brought it up to him when he gets caught - yet again - talking smack.  I am seriously starting to worry...that I'm going to lock him in his room!  I can't take it.  The worst part is, he starts to believe himself!  Sunday - we take a bit of a drive to go to a BlockBuster because the one in our town shut down.  Apparently that's the way of things - because the one we drove to was also out of business.  On our way home he says to me,
"Mom, I actually went on-line to the BlockBuster site and saw that that store wasn't open anymore. I just didn't want to say anything."
"Yeah!  I'm telling the truth! (dead giveaway)  I did! I saw it on-line that they had closed it."
"Uh-huh.  So you found blockbuster on-line, managed to figure out how to locate a store on the website and found that the one we were going to was closed."
"Yes!" (And this is the WORST part - he starts to get upset! He's buying into his own bullshit!!!)
"Okay then, when we get home you can get on the computer and show me exactly how you did that."

Silence from the backseat for a minute.  And then, "Sorry, Mama."

It's driving me mental!  Is it just for attention?  Believe me, the kid gets attention.  Is he delusional?  I don't really think so.  But I am telling you - it is a 24/7 work of fiction at our house.  And I can't take it much longer. I don't know where to start with it.  The "why" of it all is certainly part of my struggles - but I do think the answer to that is the attention and maybe that other people will think he's cool or something?  Or be impressed?  I don't know.  I need to do some research on it, clearly.  In the meantime - if anyone has any advice I'd gladly take it.  Or just send him to your house until he's through this phase.  That works too, right? Right?
Hey! Come back here!


Aging Mommy said...

This is not going to help you exactly, but my sister did the exact same thing when she was about six or seven. She started making up stories, just little things at first, but then slowly they became more elaborate plots and I remember one or two involving school and questions over things that turned out not to have happened. My parents could not figure out why my sister did this at the time. I think it probably was attention seeking, mixed with a little bit of over-imaginative thinking.

All I can tell you, which hopefully is a comfort, is that it was just a phase, she grew out of it and I don't remember it lasting for very long.

I do think though that at the time my mother should have addressed it head on with my sister and have tried to find out, through talking to her, why it was she felt the need to weave such elaborate webs. Good luck in your endeavors to do so with your son. As you are a great Mom I know you will work through it.

Logical Libby said...

I was a horrible liar when I was a kid. Now? I can't lie at all. Imagine how great he'll be in later life...

Cheryl said...

Eek! While your patience has got to be wearing thin, the gem in all of this is that when you call him on his bull, he apologizes. No advice from this quarter but I'd be a heck of a lot more worried if he defended his position.

Carolyn...Online said...

Only kids with a really great sense of imagination can just randomly make shit up on the fly. Maybe he's going to be a writer. Like his mom.

for a different kind of girl said...

I'm with Carolyn. Sounds like he's stretching a fantastic imagination...though I suppose it can reach some frustrating levels.

Octopunk said...

Probably when you do some research you'll find out this isn't that uncommon. I've heard a few anecdotes like this from other parents of kids his age.

Now I'm NOT comparing the lad to grown-up compulsive liars, but I've known a couple of those. When you observe that behavior in an adult (and you know they're lying, which is mostly only in hindsight), you see that they do it for the initial reaction, with a complete disregard of the obvious consequences. I had a friend tell me that some friends of hers would drop off some furniture they didn't want while they moved to a new apartment; every time I called to see where they were she told me "they just got the truck" or "they only just now finished packing" when in fact she had told them I didn't want the furniture and they could dump it on the street.

I ended the friendship, and I'm still baffled by the behavior: each successive answer was useful only for the length of that phone call.

I think 1) WB is not actually in danger of pimping out furniture that doesn't exist, and 2) your instincts are correct: routinely confronting him with the consequences will teach him the difference between reality and fake-o reality. Sounds to me like he's already halfway there.

I'm wondering if we'll be dealing with the same issue down the road. My guy's only been doing full sentences for a few months, and some of them have been patently false. "I see moo!" or "I see a bus!" or "I see fire tuck!" when no fire truck, bus or moon are in evidence. And I haven't gotten any apologies.

振宇 said...


myfluffybunnies said...

Let me know if anything else works for you. Lollipop told her first lie recently (about me letting her eat chocolate for breakfast!). At least that's a lie I can get behind, well, if only it weren't, you know, a lie.

myfluffybunnies said...

Also, I just noticed my shout-out on your home page for the Sunshine Award. Yippee! Thanks! =>

Maggie May said...

i like Cheryl's reply :)

文辰 said...

you‘re really talented.!............................................................

anymommy said...

I have to agree, I was a bit of a liar too. I think it's a sign of a fabulous imagination. Course that doesn't mean it won't drive you bat shit crazy.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Get that kid a blog.

ElisaCe慈佐lestin0708 said...

Say not all that you know, believe not all that you hear. ............................................................