Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lies and Toothpaste

I have heard that highly intelligent children are more prone to lying than those of average intelligence. Presumably they think everyone else is too stupid to figure out they're lying.

Max is currently my liar. The other kids have gotten over it.

Fortunately for me Max's lies are awful--and by that I mean he lies miserably. Before Little Mark was old enough to walk, or to get into the mischief he is usually guilty of now, Max would blame him for complicated feats of destruction that would be impossible for a suckling to commit. Often he would tattle on LMark in order to make his lie more believable.

"MOM! LawMark climbed up da shelves in da pantry and got down da box of Cheezits and took dem into da bedwoom and dumped dem out and ate dem!"

Or he would lie where there was no need:

"Max, why was your underwear hidden in the basket next to the toilet in the bathroom?"
"LawMark did it."
"So Little Mark took your underwear off of you, and hid it in the basket?"
"He--uh--yeah."

Fortunately, I think, Max is beginning to discover either he's a bad liar, or his mother isn't as stupid as he thinks. The lies he uses now are easily discoverable. He might lie if he is told to change his underwear or to clean up his room or to do something that might buy him some time before I check up on him.

One thing he lies about is brushing his teeth, so I will often need to drop what I am doing to go corroborate the tale. One of the most obvious pieces of evidence is the state of the bathroom.

If the bathroom is clean, I will check his toothbrush to see if it is wet. One might think that the toothbrush-test should come first. But the fact is, when Max truly does brush his teeth, he gets toothpaste everywhere. In his defense, the type of toothpaste dispenser we use, if squeezed properly, can pop out glob of toothpaste in an impressive arc one or two feet away from its source. But this is the kind of toothpaste we like, so we live with the messy consequences. I find toothpaste on the counter all the time, sometimes on the toilet, sometimes on the wall, the mirror, the cabinet, and very often on the floor.

So this morning when I asked Max if he had brushed his teeth, he happily replied, "Yap!" And his evidence: "See I got toothpaste on mah foot!"

So I believed him...

...but I might still check his toothbrush in a minute.
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