Before I had a child, I swore that I would always be honest. I’d speak the truth to him. I’d teach him things without covering up or rewriting the facts. I’d wear my heart on my sleeve and with patience and loving kindness, share the world with him…. one answer at a time.

Then he started talking.
A lot.
And because of this, and the fact that I am an advocate of encouraging childhood imagination and literacy, I have a confession that I’m not proud of:
I am so happy that Baby-Ko cannot read.
Take for example our trip to the beach a few weeks ago…. It was a lovely day… a beautiful day… a sunny day. Despite the fact that Baby-Ko developed an insane fear of seaweed leaving me no choice but to hold him for close to 2.5 hours, (truthfully, there was so much seaweed on the shore, I was expecting for Daryl Hannah to appear at any moment), all seemed perfect at Paradise Cove….. until we had to leave.
“Time to go, Baby-Ko. Help mommy, please. Carry your pale and shovel.”
“NO,” he protested. “I want to go look at the seaweed.”
“What?! The seaweed? You didn’t want to go near the seaweed….”
“I DO want to go see the seaweed. Let’s go, mommy,” he said taking my hand.
Baffled and still holding on to that “let’s build his imagination” BS, I walked with him back to the water, half knowing that this was all a stalling tactic.
“Okay, here’s the seaweed!” I said.
“I don’t want to touch the seaweed! No! Pick my up!” (That’s not a typo. He actually says “my” instead of “ME.”).
“What?! Baby-Ko, you said you wanted to see the seaweed. So Mommy took you to the seaweed…”
“No! I don’t like it! I too scared.”
“Fine. Okaaaaay. Let’s go. It’s time to go.”
“Noooooooooooooooo!” He screamed and squirmed out of my arms.
“Sorry, sweetheart. Time to go,” I said trying to hold on to him and our belongings.
“I don’t want tooooooooooooo!” He screamed louder as I started to drag him through the sand. I felt people staring.
“BABY. KO. That is enough. It is time to go. We had a fun day. It. Is. Time. To. GO.”
Now everyone WAS staring. That’s when IT HAPPENED:
“SHH! Do. You. See. That. Sign?!” I said sternly.
“What sign?”
THAT sign.” He turned. “It says: ‘Children under the age of 3 have to leave at 5 o’clock.'”
“Or what will happen?”
“What will happen if we don’t leave?”
“They’ll take away your paci’s.”
“Who will take them away?”
“The man.”
“What man?” He said looking around.
“The beach man. Let’s go.”
He started to walk and I started to feel the judgement of the tourists happily perched under this quaint little sign rip my parenting skills, or lack thereof, apart.
Whatever. Have a nice trip, A-holes.
Sadly, my sorry you can’t read sucka! attitude didn’t end there…. He gets too wild at a restaurant? The menu says “Your blankie will get taken away.” He starts to scream while we’re driving? The street signs say “no TV before bed.” He whines for more marshmallows, the ingredients say, “little boys may only have 10…. or their teeth will fall out.”
Obviously, my blame it on someone or something else tactic works now and will, at some point, need to be retooled. Of course, if I continue to tell him on P. 6 of 14 that it says “this book is over and it’s time for bed. The end,” then it may be a while before I need to come up with something better…. Oy.
FILED UNDER: A Little Life

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  1. Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
    Love this. Just tonight at dinner we were saying that we are in so much trouble when our kids learn to spell and read. I lie about what signs say. Kind of a lot. (I tell them everything says "don't touch.") And I occasionally claim that the park or pool is closed.

    We may have even told our oldest that the pilot didn't allow anyone on the plane to watch movies until after nap time. It worked! Once. He's on to us now.
  2. Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
    I think all parents tell little white lies to their kids. And some of us tell bigger lies. My son once asked me who discovered heaven. I told him Ponce de Leon did. Won't he be surprised when he learns the truth about Ponce de Leon :-)
  3. Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
    I love it - I actually think it was genius to use the signage to your advantage, nice work! But yes, you will have to re-work the approach as he gets older.

    I'm convinced that lying is a necessary part of parenting young children. For everyone's sake. It changes as they are able to reason and think more like humans, I'm honest to a fault with my 14 yr old. But for now, I think you're fine :)
  4. Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
    Ohhh boy am I guilty of this! Although now that my oldest can read, it's a little more difficult. At least I can still use it on his brothers while he's at school ... :)
  5. SoulSistahLa
    Thursday, August 5th, 2010
    OMG Jen. This is great. I'm not a mom but I am enjoying your blog.
  6. Saturday, August 14th, 2010
    I do basically the same thing - I never actually point at anything and say it's written down, we just tell them "those are the rules" like there are all these unwritten, special rules only parent's know regarding wearing your shoes, or not touching things or whatever. Love it!
  7. Monday, August 16th, 2010
    Hello! I am a new reader. Can't wait to see more from your blog! Please follow me back at The Nutritionist Reviews and Giveaways: http://couponclippingnutritionist.blogspot.com
  8. Lennox
    Friday, August 27th, 2010
    Cute, Jenny! So glad you and your son are doing well. And I may start misreading signs too!