Friday, March 22, 2013

R Learns to Lie

Today R told her first lie.

She almost always brings books to bed with her, partly because one of the things she likes to do in the mornings/after naps is read (for up to 30 minutes, so I definitely encourage the habit). Last night was no exception: she selected Amos and Boris and Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. This morning I went into her room to get her up, and she was already awake, reading Richard Scarry intently.

I soon noticed that the other book had been completely destroyed: all the pages had been separated from each other into a pile of loose leaves. I said, "R, what is this? Who did this [stupid question, but it was early and I wasn't thinking straight]?" She replied, "Ami", which is the name for her beloved elephant feely that she sleeps with every night (they like to go to sleep by having long conversations with each other), and gave me a convincing nod (the kind with the eyes wide open and fixed on you, as you move your chin up and down) while holding up the offending elephant to me.

I was very pleased, because lying is an important developmental milestone and R's (rather ridiculous) attempt at deception shows that her brain is developing nicely. (She knows that destroying books is going to make me mad: books are sacred R!!!) Of course I still scolded her, but my heart wasn't in it.

I will have to be more careful about phrasing questions now though, because I certainly don't want to encourage a habit of dishonesty!


  1. holy wow. ok P is nowhere near this. also 'reading' is just babbling in her world. definitely not intently.

    i'm so impressed with her. i wonder if P can lie yet. sometimes i give her less/more credit by assuming that she's confused when i say things like, did you poop? and she says, "NOOOOO" when she did.

    1. She's not really reading of course, just looking at the pictures. Richard Scarry is especially good because his pictures have so many small details.

      R does the poop thing too: I can tell she's deliberately trying to deceive (as opposed to not listening) when her reaction is more passionate (like "No!!!"), especially when she tries to prevent me from inspecting at the same time (covering herself, running away, backing into a corner).

      Around 25% of two year olds can lie according to studies, so it's not that uncommon.

  2. I can't remember have you read Nurtureshock? Your last sentence makes me think you have, as they have a chapter on lying and how we shouldn't ask our children leading questions that encourage them to lie (as you did with R in this instance).

    Oh, haha, just moused over your link and saw that it's a link to a Hellobee article about lying :)

    1. Yes! I love NurtureShock, and the section on lying was especially interesting.