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Sound Familiar? I’m Going to Pull This Car Over (and Other Lies We Tell Our Children)

ParentinsYelling_400Parents will go and on about the need to tell the truth, but a recent study just reported that 100 percent of them lie—and you don’t know how crazy and desperate you look when you spin a story about leprechauns who love the taste of cauliflower. From The Honest Toddler.

“Vegetables Will Make You Strong”
This lie is coming apart at the seams as we speak. It’s ridiculous. When I see a pea lift anything over its head or an orange bell pepper break a cement block, I will believe that vegetables can impart strength. They’re not even powerful enough to taste good. They have little to no influence in the snack world and are hated by their closest relatives (fruit). When someone can’t get along with the people in his inner circle, that should give you pause.

I’m not a licensed doctor, but I have noticed that toddlers feel most powerful after eating doughnuts. Also, after some red drink, most toddlers can fly. I mean, they can’t fly, but they can definitely glide. Maybe not glide, but for sure they can get some decent air when jumping down a flight of stairs. Vegetables are strong enough to make children cry, but no one should praise a bully. Bottom line, parents, if you want to be respected in your home, bury this lie along with all the veggies in your crisper. Deep.

“I’m Going Right to Sleep”
You know you’ve said it. Your punkin is having a hard time accepting that she needs to be in bed. “Why should I be going to sleep when the party’s still bumping?” your toddler thinks. So you say it: “I’m going to sleep, too.” Stop. Just stop. You don’t think your toddler hears and smells popcorn popping from his bed? Is he supposed to believe that popcorn is for snack time tomorrow? And the sounds of Dove bars being unwrapped? Hmm? Television programs booming from the family room—laugh tracks, high-speed chases, GUNSHOTS—yes, we hear it all.

Toddlers know that the moment their heads hit the pillow, you release balloons and unwrap a cake. We are perfectly aware that when we’re trapped in our rooms, wearing the wrong pajamas, you are eating a second, more desirable dinner. Why else would you rush us off to sleep? So reluctant to read books, so often replacing bath time with a baby-wipe scrub-down. We’re onto you. Parents, you look terribly exhausted every single morning, and it’s because you stay up until two A.M., looking at wavy hair on Pinterest and eating Almond Joys. “I’m going right to bed.” Yeah, right.

“Soda Is Spicy”
Thanks to my now favorite uncle, I recently had the opportunity to sample orange Crush. I don’t know what kind of oranges this miracle beverage comes from—mandarin in heavy syrup, I imagine—but it was like riding a carbonated high-fructose wave with dolphins all around, and I loved every second of it. After my mind stopped screaming and my eyesight returned to normal, my exhilaration turned to anger as I realized how many sips of soda I’ve backed down from after being told, “Oh, no no, it’s spicy.” That’s how you share, huh? I hope you feel awful.

“I’m Not Eating Anything”
Every single toddler on the planet knows what it’s like to have a parent come around a corner with chocolate breath. When asked what they were eating, the parent simply says, “Nothing,” and tries to change the subject. Substitute chocolate for Hot Pockets if you must; you are missing the point. You’re hiding food and lying about it. It is in no way okay for you to have a secret stash of snacks. You add insult to injury when you consume goodies in your toddler’s face and then concoct the shakiest cover-up of your life. It’s obvious that there is something terribly wrong with you.

“There’s Nothing on Top of the Fridge”
YEAH, RIGHT. Then how come every single time your toddler turns around unexpectedly, you’re putting something up there? What is it? Bubbles? Gum? Today is the day when you put a ladder against the fridge and let your toddler see for herself. It must be done. End these lies, and for once show your toddler some basic respect.

“We’ll See/Maybe Tomorrow”
The phrases “We’ll see” and “Maybe tomorrow” mean “No” and “Never.” Parents, I don’t think the issue is that you’re afraid to say what you mean; I think it’s that you know you’re wrong for saying it and want to avoid a legitimate confrontation. What is your toddler asking for? A diamond-encrusted watch, or to go out and buy some applesauce? I know driving to the store and spending $4.50 on a fruit-based snack is daunting, but perhaps instead of saying “Maybe tomorrow,” you can take a very small step outside of your comfort zone and make your toddler’s day. I just… I just can’t.

“I’m Going to Give You One More Chance”
This is one of my personal favorites. Imagine me sitting barefoot in the front entry, with my dad trying his darnedest to get us out the door. I’ve been asked to put on my shoes. “I’m going to give you one more chance.” Are you sure? Just one more? Or maybe two? Or maybe ten, until you come over and put my shoes on for me. HAHAHAHA! You guys are so funny when you want to be.

“I’m Going to Pull This Car Over”
Backseat mayhem. Toddlers are known for getting crazy in moving vehicles. Taking off shoes, socks, and (somehow) shirts, throwing food, thrashing about—it’s all part of the lifestyle. Don’t take it personally, even though sometimes you should. When you make it about you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and start saying things you don’t mean, like “I’m going to pull the car over.” We all know you’re not going to exit the freeway and stop the car in some warehouse district. Even if you did, what then? Would you give your toddler a stern talking-to? Chances are, she can’t hear you over her inner tornado. Just keep driving. Pass back some fruit snacks if you have them, but keep driving.

“Santa Can See You”
This one is pretty tricky. Most toddlers have a very delicate relationship with Father Christmas and are aware of his surveillance techniques. What parents are unaware of is that the North Pole and the Toddler Council of Everlasting Gloriousness signed a treaty in 1983, allowing for a daily “no watch” period between three P.M. and seven P.M. local time, with summers off. Santa’s approval rating in the early eighties had reached an all-time low due to discouraged toddlers, and this agreement was instrumental in restoring holiday cheer and incentivizing good behavior by making the nice list more attainable. So the next time you tell your toddler “Santa can see you,” take a look at the clock. Are you sure?


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