It’s no secret what a fantastic kid I think Gracie is, and also what a phenomenal grown-up she’s going to be. It’s also no secret that there’s this small flaw Gracie-girl is struggling with on her journey from Preteen Supreme to Badass Woman, one that’s felled thousands of preteens before her: the lying.
Oh, the lying. From whether she’s brushed her teeth to who left the mess in the other room, it doesn’t matter what you’re asking, there are days you can’t get a straight answer out of the girl. I get she’s testing her limits and just being a normal kid. But that doesn’t mean I stand for it, either.
Last night, we were sitting around, trying to make the most out of The Dinner That Wouldn’t Cook Right (we all have ’em, amiright), when Jeff started giving Gracie a hard time. “These are delicious brussel sprouts,” he teased, knowing how picky Gracie is about her veggies. “You should have some.”
“I already had one,” she answered. The grown-ups all caught eyes – or, rather, looked over at me, but I was looking straight at my eleven-year-old. After a full beat, I rather confidently corrected her that no she had not. Then I laid it down: “But since you lied about it, now you’re going to eat one.”
I might have told the girls when they huffed and puffed about chicken and rice for dinner, and then huffed and puffed (and I swear to god, nearly cried) over the fact that they hated their veggie options), that they had to have at least a few string beans. They might not care for string beans, but it’s not on their gag list. They could deal. And maybe when I noticed that neither had any on their plates, I pretended I didn’t notice. I was exhausted, dinner prep had been a disaster, and mostly I just wanted to get through the night and crawl into bed. But lying about eating a brussel sprout? When she had been on the couch all evening until she was literally called to her plate that I prepared? Yeah, no.
The preteen, of course, made a big production of sulking, quietly crying into her hands, and hiding for nearly an hour. When her sister finally finished her mandatory portions of dinner and headed towards the shower, I upped the ante. “If you haven’t eaten that one brussel sprout by the time Bee is done with her shower, you’re going to have to eat three.” And I meant it. I sat and listened to the Xman scream for two hours in time out the morning before; I could do another eight of quietly sitting at the table. But thankfully, The Dramatic One finished just as the bathroom door was popping out again, so no more stare downs.
And hopefully, no more lies for quite awhile.