My son who cried wolf

This evening during the pre bedtime play period my son decided to get his sister in trouble. I could hear them rumbling on the floor above me. The usual chaos prevailed with wrestling, things crashing to the floor and squeals of pain and joy. Suddenly it stopped and my son started to bellow. He trumpeted his pain and fear all the way down the two flights of stairs until he was standing before me.

“Carolyn punchdid me!” he explained crying copiously.

“Carolyn! Get your butt down here”

Carolyn stomped down the stairs, denying the coming accusation.

“I didn’t do it Daddy! I didn’t do it.”

I looked at the clock and saw that bedtime was twenty minutes away.

“That’s it. Put your pajamas on. You’re going to bed.” I instructed.

“I didn’t†do it! I didn’t do it!” she blubbered. I sent her off to bed and I could hear her protesting in the distance. In instances like this, with no direct observation it’s really a crap shoot as too which one of them, if any are at fault. They are both equally guilty and equally innocent. At ages six and four there is little that they can do that is truly bad.¬† My instinct told me that her continued wails had the ring of truth to them. This, certainly is not always the case.

I confronted my son.

“Did you lie about your sister hitting you?” I asked. Tears filled his eyes. He nodded.

“What really happened”

“She kinda punched me softly when she handed me the lego. It didn’t hurt.”

” So you lied.” He nodded and started to cry.

“Ok go apologize to your sister and tell her she can come downstairs. Then you are getting into your pajamas.”

As I changed him into his pj’s†I conducted the standard parental lecture on lying. I capped it off with the complete story of the boy who cried wolf.† By the time I had finished the tale he was sitting down on top of the washing machine with his head down and tears dripping on the white powder-coated washing machine lid.

“You gotta stop it dad.”

“Stop what Ian?”

“Stop telling me the story.”

“Really?! Why”

“‘Cause I’m a sensitive guy. And you almost crackdid†my heart! Don’t crackdid my heart Dad please….”

Who can withstand a plea like that from a four-year old?

I picked him up and he blubbered on my shoulder.†

“I told you that lies always hurt someone.”

His little voice next to my ear said “You’re sure right dad. It sure hurt me….”

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~ by Brad Morrison on February 14, 2010.

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