The Day I Lied To My Children


The Day I Lied To My Children | Duluth Moms Blog

I remember it well… Morgan was five and Ben was two.  It was a cool October morning and my children were just getting up for the day.  The sun was shining and the fall day was going to be perfect.  I went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the three of us and grab another cup of coffee as to appear less sleep deprived.  The kitchen and great room were right next to one another.  Only a small wall separated them.

As I poured my coffee, I heard a blood curdling scream.  Quiet, then another scream.  This took place as I took my eyes off of them for six seconds.  As I ran 10 feet into the great room, I saw large crocodile tears running down Ben’s chubby little face as deep gut wrenching sobs came out of him.  In her pink Barbie nightgown, bare feet and curly mess of bed head, there stood Morgan standing over her brother.  She looked up at me with eyes that seemed to be saying, “What?”  As her eyebrows raised in question, she showed me a sweet little smile. I was not fooled.  Not for a minute.  

This was the little girl who blamed Ben for shoving a purple bead up her nose that had to eventually be removed from her sinuses in the emergency room.  I was pregnant with her brother at the time of the “bead incident.”   Morgan had a really good imagination.  Perhaps I could top that.  How could I get the truth out of her? Ben barely spoke until he was three years old, so he wasn’t going to be any help. (He and his sister had this thing….he would look at her and she would speak for him.)  I could threaten a spanking, but that never worked.  Our stubborn little girl challenged us every day.  Every. Single. Day.  Usually more than once.

This would have been a good teaching moment, right?  A time to sit my sweet littles down, wipe Ben’s tears, put Morgan on my lap, and ask for the honest to goodness truth as to what happened to make Ben scream like he was being tortured.  A sweet Hallmark/After School Special/Dr. Phil moment, ending in the two of them hugging and playing together for the rest of the day with smiles on their faces.  Perhaps under a rainbow.  Did I do that?  Nope.  Not even close.  When asked what happened, Morgan just looked at me sweetly.  As she looked for an escape route, I blurted in my loud mom voice, “Do I have to look at the cameras?”  

WHAT? Why and how did that sentence come out of my mouth?  What cameras?  How was I going to back that up?  Who says that?  As I looked wildly around for help, any kind of help, I saw it.  A broken remote control that was in need of more than new batteries.  It was sitting on the kitchen counter.  I grabbed it, and without missing a beat, I looked at the two terrified children in front of me and asked, “Do you really want me to do it?  I will!”  They looked at me like I was crazy.  While Ben’s tears had subsided, and his sister stood there, shocked that I just might have had something on her, I gave them my best ticked off mom look and started pressing buttons and pointing the broken remote control to the vaulted wood ceiling.   I looked like a crazed maniac.  “Which one should I check?”  “How long were you standing here?  I can just check all of them.”  Ben quit crying.  Morgan looked at me with eyes as big as saucers.  

Then I heard it.  The sound of gravel under my husband’s Suburban tires.  He had just completed a shift at the fire hall and was ours for the day.  I wonder what he thought he was coming home to that morning. Probably his wife sitting down reading the paper while sipping on coffee, waiting for him so breakfast could be eaten together as a family?  No.  As he walked into the house, I caught him at the door and whispered, “I just lied to the kids and told them that there were cameras in the living room.”  He looked at me like I was nuts.  “Why would you do that?”  I frantically whispered, “It doesn’t matter.  They believe me.”  As I remember, my sweet husband played along.  He got trapped in the web of lies that I had just spun. For years.  I don’t know if he ever told them that there were cameras, but he went along with it.  

Those “cameras” served us well while we lived in our first home.  I would often hear Morgan whispering to Ben, “Don’t forget the cameras, buddy. Mom can see us,” or Ben yelling at Morgan, “I think I saw a camera!”  I would often come into a room and see them looking at a corner, trying to find one. I wonder just how many times those two stopped what they were doing and remembered that even though I wasn’t in the same room, I could see them.  They even challenged me years later, and asked if the cameras were real.  Basically, calling their mother a liar.  GASP!  “Seriously? ” I would say to them, “Let me pop some popcorn and put fresh batteries in the remote.  Make yourselves comfy!  I will be there in a minute and we can watch together!”  I said this all while holding that dead remote control in my hand.  They believed me. Every. Single. Time.  

When the kids were around 7 and 10 years old, we moved out of our Minnesota house to a new one in Oregon.  After being in the car for two days, sitting next to one another in closed quarters, they were wired like crazy.  The bickering and crabbiness came to a head in our new living room.  And wouldn’t you know, I pulled that broken remote control out of my purse and asked, “Do you want me to check the cameras?”  They both looked at me and laughed.  “Really mom?” Morgan asked.  I countered with, “Do you want to find out if new homes in Oregon have cameras?”  They didn’t want to find out.   

I bet if I look really hard, in a box that was neglected to be unpacked and just tossed into our garage, I just might find that remote control.  Beat up and held together with duct tape and glue. I still laugh when I remember walking into a room and seeing the kids look up at the ceiling, pointing, at a possible camera sighting.  My now 19 and 22-year old adult children bring it up to me every once in a while, too.  They say, “Remember when you lied to us, mom?”  I always reply, “Remember when you believed me?” 

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Cheryl Wisneski
Cheryl is a born and raised Minnesotan that married her college sweetheart 20 years ago. She is the mom of a beautiful and stubborn 22 year old daughter, a handsome and headstrong 19 year old son, and Vinny, the four legged king of the house. She recently started a furniture refurbishing business,, that occupies her time immensely and keeps her from dwelling on the fact that she and her hubby are on the verge of becoming empty nesters. A self proclaimed introverted extrovert, helicopter mom and clean freak, Cheryl is happiest when she has a paint brush in her hand, a chilled glass of chardonnay in the evening, and her family all present around the dinner table. She loves holding her husband's hand, Lake Superior, and the Pacific Northwest. Cheryl has a tendency to name the furniture she paints, over analyze everything, and carry on conversations with her yellow lab, Vinny. She is looking forward to helping her daughter plan her wedding and seeing her son graduate from the Marine Corps in the spring.