Saturday, March 05, 2011

Chalk and Cheese 2

As I am around more with the children, I end up disciplining them more. Packrat and I have an agreed upon list of things that we will not tolerate and when either twin does it, we descend upon them with the wrath of Zeus, or one of the other mighty Greek gods.

One of the things on our list is lying. At this age, they haven't really figured it out yet. Most of the time, they give us the answer they know we want, so that they can have what they want. And when we catch them at it, we are harsh with them and we make it very clear that they must tell us what really happened. It's an ongoing challenge because I think their minds haven't really gotten to the point of understanding such moral lessons yet.

But even here, they display differences.

Jordan generally tells it like it is. I won't call it the truth because at this age, they don't know what the truth is yet. Ask her a question and she will tell you what she thinks.

Evan, call it diplomacy in action, will give you the answer he thinks you want to hear; whether or not that was what really happened. We often have to corroborate his story and when found out, we nag him about how if that wasn't what happened, he ought not to have told us that. This has happened a few times.

Yesterday, the boy's desire for what he wanted trumped everything else. He wanted to watch television while having dinner. I asked if he had watched television at all the whole day and he said no, thinking that I was likely to look upon the request more favourably if he hadn't. One questioning look at the helper revealed that he had so I asked him again and he insisted he hadn't.

I had to go wash my hands so I mentioned that I would ask his sister when I got back from the bathroom.

What transpired while I was away was him scurrying up to his sister and telling her this. Our helper was still in the vicinity and heard the whole thing.

Evan: Jordan, you must tell Mommy we didn't watch television okay?
Jordan: Why?
Evan: Tell Mommy we didn't watch television this morning okay? Then afterwards we can watch television and eat dinner.
When I returned, already being told by our helper that such a conversation had taken place, I asked Evan again if he had watched television in the morning.
Evan: No, I didn't. You can ask Jordan. .

Asking Jordan the same question, the answer I got astounded me.
Mommy: Jordan, did you and Evan watch television this morning?
Jordan: Erm, Mommy, the television was on. Evan was watching it. But Jordan was eating breakfast.
She gave the answer Evan wanted but did not implicate herself and called it as she saw it.

Needless to say, they didn't watch television while having dinner and Evan was told that the reason why was because he told me he hadn't watched television in the morning when he did. He was very disappointed and tried to bargain.
Evan: How about if we eat at the table but the television is on, over there?
Fat chance kid. You're lucky you didn't get sent to your room without dinner.

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