Monday, August 27, 2012

Flight of the Bumble Bee

“You should always be honest,” my grandma would say to me.  “Or you’ll get lie bumps on your tongue.”

A perfect example of irony!

When I was younger, I always said that I would never lie to my kids (Okay, with the exception of Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, wishes, and other things that bring a little magic to childhood), but I’m sad to say that I’ve resorted to the motherly lie on more than one hundred occasions. 

You know what I mean:

Don’t make that face – you’re face will stick that way! (Not true.  But you look really rude when you scrunch your face up and roll your eyes at people. Okay, I’ll try to stop to doing it too).

If you sit too close to the TV, you’ll go blind (Nope.  But I can’t see through your head, so if you’d back away a little, we could all enjoy Good Luck, Charlie).

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game (Okay, it’s a little bit about whether you win or lose.  That’s why there’s a giant scoreboard above the game that reveals the winner.  It’s important for you to learn to participate, play fair, and to not be a sore loser though. Winning is just the icing on the cake.  And… um… cake is still good with no icing, right?)

Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you (Truth: Words can hurt you.  When people make fun of you, that hurt that you feel is real.  It’s just harder to bandage).

Sometimes we lie to Micah because there are just things he can’t (and shouldn’t) understand yet. For example, there’s a certain gentlemen’s establishment we pass on the way to the office.  Micah thinks it’s a restaurant that is never, ever open.  (How else do you explain the “Leggs and Eggs Buffet” sign?)

Sometimes we lie to Micah to keep him safe.  I’ve told him that if he doesn’t look both ways before he crosses the street, he’ll get arrested.  I’ve told him that I can look online and see everything he’s watched on television – just in case he ever gets ahold of the remote while I’m not in the room! 

Mostly though, we lie to Micah because we’ve done everything we can to reason with him and it hasn’t worked.  So for our own sanity, we go to the lie.

It happened this weekend.

I have mentioned before how very brave Micah is.  He rarely listens to any of my words of caution.  He runs full speed without looking ahead.  He jumps, dives, and flips into water.  He’ll ride every roller coaster his limited size will allow.  No dare is too daring for the Amazing Micah.

He’s also pretty acclimated to the great outdoors.  This summer he spent two whole weeks away at camp.  Early this summer, we went on a camping trip for a full week (yeah, that was me standing at an outdoor outlet, using my car window as a mirror while I flat ironed my hair), and Micah didn’t seem to be phased by anything in “the wild.”  He took his shirt off the moment we arrived at our campsite and proudly declared that he would not put a shirt back on until it was time to leave (and he didn’t!).  He went on a seven mile canoe trip, he swam in a lake, he walked barefoot around our campsite, he even (gasp!) used a port-a-potty, and often.  He, for the first time in his life, caught fire flies.

That is why I was so ill prepared for what took place this weekend. We were half way through our time at family camp, and were speeding in our golf cart toward all the fun that Micah had been waiting for the entire time: inflatable slides and obstacle courses, a GIANT swimming pool with GIANT water slides, putt-putt golf, and a canteen full of a free junk food and slushies. 

Suddenly, though, Micah started to scream.  And not an I’m-a-crazy-hyper-child scream or a wee-this-is-awesome scream, but a scream of absolute terror.  A bee had landed on the golf cart.  This kid, who has most certainly seen a bee before, totally lost it.  We shooed the bee away, but he just started freaking out.  As we arrived at our would-be fun destination, Micah was weeping giant crocodile tears.  He screeched every time his eyes caught any object that flew by – butterflies, dragonflies, regular ole’ flies, and even leaves in the wind.  His eyes darted around like a psycho.  He begged us to carry him.  People were staring.  Micah, who usually dries up the tears the moment any non-family member looks at him, couldn’t even pull it together when his friends walked by. 

We didn’t know what to do.  We tried to reason with him.  We assured him that it was very unlikely that he would be stung by a bee.  I shared that I’d never, in my entire life, been stung by a bee.  Jay told him that even if he did get stung, it wasn’t that big of a deal, and that he was tough.  Still, he was near hysterical.  We had to go back to our cottage and spray him down with bug spray (which I’m pretty sure does nothing to repel bees), and though it calmed him enough to go participate with the other kids, he never really let it go. 
He finally had some fun

It’s been two days, and still, tonight, he refused to go outside, and even in the house, has been peeking into rooms to do a bee-check before he would enter.  I’ve never seen him this way.  Finally tonight, Jay went to the lie.  And it was actually pretty brilliant… if it works.

As Micah was (still nervously) getting ready for bed tonight, Jay came upstairs with a bottle of raw honey that we’d gotten at the farmer’s market.  He explained to Micah that he had Googled how to keep bees away and discovered that if you eat honey (exactly one teaspoon a day for 3 days), bees will smell the honey and assume you are one of them.  You’ll be friends and they won’t sting you.  Micah considered this for a second, then seemed to buy it!  He took the honey like a champ and went to bed like normal. 

So buddy, tonight I’m praying for a little extra grace for the fibs we sometimes tell, and I’m definitely praying that you will NOT be stung by a bee, at least until this new fear subsides.  And just so the truth is out there for someday years from now when you discover that your mother use to share the details of your life with the world – here ya go:

All the times I’ve told you that GameStop was closed – it wasn’t.  But I didn’t want to go there.

The bunny who is always in our front yard is just a bunny.  He’s not “reporting” your behavior to anyone.

Spinach doesn’t make you stronger.  And it’s awful.  I’m sorry I made you eat it.

Wee Willie Winky is fake. He doesn’t care what time you go to bed. 

When the bad storms come and I say I'm not scared, I'm lying.  But I want to be brave for you.

And we’ve never been out of cookies, no matter how many times I’ve said that. 

I’ve told you a lot of fibs (and you’ll do that to your kids too), but one thing has always been true – I love you more than the world!

Okay, readers, let's hear it!  What little white lies have you told your kids?

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