Fact or Fiction

A typical weekday evening in the Nord household sounds something like this:

Mommy/Daddy: “Wyatt, how was Kindergarten today?”
Wyatt: “Oh brother. Fine.”
Mommy/Daddy: “What did you do?”
Wyatt: “Ummmmm…we went outside one time and we played in the warehouse two times.”
M/D: “Oh, yeah? Did you learn anything?”
Wyatt: “Nope.”
M/D: “Lovely.”

You can imagine my surprise and delight one recent evening when Wyatt responded to my “How was your day?” query as follows: “We had a program today at school. The first and second graders from the other campus came over on the school bus and did a program for us. Then we went outside to play and we had hot chocolate when we came back inside.” Though not exactly anacademic discussion, I was nonetheless pleased that he had something moderately interesting to say about the last eight hours of his life. I thought, perhaps, we were having a breakthrough.

Such hopes were quickly dashed, however, when I went to choir practice that night. You see, I happen to sit next to Wyatt’s Kindergarten teacher in the church choir. She’s a lovely woman, and we like to chat it up while the rest of the choir rehearses their parts. While our lone bass stumbled through a particularly tricky passage, I leaned to Wyatt’s teacher and said, “So, I hear you had a program today.” She looked at me puzzled. I said, “Didn’t you have a program from the first and second graders at the other campus?” She said, “Noooo…” I asked if they had gone outside. No. Hot chocolate? Definitely not.

Wyatt had made up the whole story. And with confidence! I was dumbfounded, and frankly felt pretty dumb. He had taken me for a ride on his imagination train, and I’d been a very willing passenger.

If this had been a single occurrence of truth-stretching, I probably would have shrugged it off. But unfortunately, Wyatt has been intermixing fact and fiction for several weeks now, and I can’t help but think that he enjoys pulling a fast one (or twelve) on the adults in his life. He hasn’t lied about anything serious, but there’s definitely a pattern of half truths, quarter truths and nonexistent truths going on here.

I stewed about Wyatt’s “program” story all night, and as soon as I could reasonably drag him out of bed the next morning, I did. We sat together at the dining room table, and I told him that he was busted. (He sulked.) I asked him why he lied to me. (Because he wanted to.) And I told him that he had made me sad. Did he like making me sad? (No, of course, he didn’t.)

I know this latest phase for Wyatt is perfectly normal. And I know it’s not the last time he’ll pull one over on me. He’s way too good at it not to try his luck a few more (hundred) times. There’s also a part of me that’s impressed by his imagination. The kid can spin a good tale, and there are lots of useful applications for such a talent. (Famous novelist, anyone?)

What this situation calls for is a little “channeling of energies.” Maybe a heavy dose of imaginative play will lessen his need to embellish his ho-hum life. Or maybe it will just make him better at his craft. Either way, he’s a good kid. And I love that little dude.

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Sarah Nord

Sarah Nord blogs about food, family and fine living at www.pen2page.me. Sarah loves to share recipes and life experiences that are all about the pursuit of health and happiness. By day, Sarah works in marketing and consulting for software startups. By night, she loves on her family, tends her home and juggles her many hobbies, including cooking, gardening, crafting and reading. Sarah is passionate about eating well, shopping local and giving back. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, two children, two corgis and cranky cat.