"Sure, baby. I'd love to watch Frozen again," I lie. A harmless lie, perhaps, but a break with truth to say the least. "If only it were for the first time," I think to myself, "for the first time in forever...."
If someone had told me when I was pregnant how many lies I would tell my children, I would have probably laughed in his or her face. I would have prognosticated on my relationship with the unborn with the authority of Nostradamus. "I will be completely truthful in all things with my children as there is no better way to communicate with others than with total and complete honesty. Children deserve our best self in all things, so lying to my child will be completely out of the question."
Please, add that to the list of things I had no idea about.
The stories I have concocted are numerous, nuanced, and occasionally nefarious, especially when it comes to the thoughts and actions of imaginary beings:
"I'm going to email Santa and tell him you refused to clean up your toys."
"The tooth fairy only leaves money for teeth that don't have any cavities, so you better go floss."
"The Easter Bunny knows we are going to be at Noni and Grandpa's house, so it will take your basket there. Don't even worry about it."
Really? Like I have a GPS sensor with a magical link to a life-size, egg-laying rabbit? Sure. Why not? That reality is just about as likely as the possibly that I have the slightest interest in listening to the Ice Queen reclaim her divine feminine power for the umpteenth time. Powerful women, I get; denial of the uncomfortable conditions produced by extremely frigid weather conditions? I think not.
I manage to avoid the lies that most frequently tempt me due to their ease and convenience, the lies that would only pass muster because of the very young age of my children: Target is closed on Saturday; it's still breakfast at McDonald's (at 12:30) so no, you can't have a Happy Meal; it specifically states in the rules for the play structure that you have to take turns with your brother.
Lies intended to manipulate behavior seem clearly morally out-of-bounds, but lies about what I do or do not actually feel like doing are much harder to avoid. Maybe it is because these lies represent the mythical creature that I want to be, the super-human mother who never tires of clever quips about a snowman's lack of comprehension in relation to the physical changes of dihydrogen monoxide, that makes the untruths more palatable. Perhaps I tell them because I so want them to be true, that I am willing to lie to myself. Maybe my "right intention" is getting in the way of my "right speech," and I am falling all over myself into my very own existential permanent winter.
"What is the best part of the movie?" I ask Boy One.
"When Princess Ana punches Prince Hans into the water."
"Why is that the best part?"
"Because it is so funny! Can we watch that part right now? On your phone? On the tv? Please?"
"Sure, baby. I'd love to."
And after all that, this time I really mean it.