I caught Gavin in his first lie last night. That's right...I caught my TWO-year-old (okay, almost three-year-old) in a lie. I'm still reeling.
Let me just set the scene for you:
There's a rule in our house that there are no treats after teeth brushing at night. Usually, whomever gives Gavin his nightly bath also takes care of teeth brushing, PJs, etc. and the other parent reads books, sings songs and puts Gavin to bed. Occasionally, one of us forgets a step (usually the teeth brushing) and the other will pick up the slack during the rest of bedtime routine.
Last night, I was in the middle of singing songs when Gavin interrupted with his usual, "I have to go poooottttyyyy." We got up, he did his business, and then informed me he also needed to go number two. He sat down, did that business, and then asked for a special treat. Usually, we oblige. He's still potty training after all, and he's doing so well that if a little treat after number two helps things along, we're all for it. But NOT after teeth brushing.
I smiled and said, "You know you don't get a treat after you've brushed your teeth." Usually he smiles back and knowingly heads to bed, but not last night. Last night he insisted Daddy had forgotten to brush his teeth. "He forgot?" I asked. "Yeah, he forgot," said Gavin convincingly.
Now here is where my mom instincts should have kicked in. But my child is TWO, and I'd just read this post and thought, "Phew! I have a few more years before I have to deal with the lying issue." Parenting FAIL! You now have permission to laugh at my naiveté.
Needless to say, I went ahead and gave Gavin the treat and said, "Okay, we'll brush your teeth after you're finished." Just then, Ryan walked through the living room and I asked if he'd brushed Gavin's teeth. "Yeah," he said. "Right after we put PJs on. Why?" At that point, I turned to Gavin and said, "Did you lie to Mommy? Daddy said you already brushed your teeth."
Gavin immediately burst into tears, spit out the candy and threw himself on the floor. I felt bad for him, but not bad enough that I wasn't going to make this a lesson. When he finally calmed down I said, "What did you do wrong?" Between tears he responded with, "I ate candy when I not posed to." Not exactly the response I was looking for, but close enough. "That's right," I said. "You told Mommy you hadn't brushed your teeth when you had. That's a lie, and lying is not nice. What do you say?"
"I sorry, Mommy," he said and I wrapped him in a hug, hoping with all my might that this little lesson sticks.