One of the hardest things about being a parent is that you have to come up with increasingly complicated yet feasible white lies as they get older. It’s very trying.
I used to be able to stand and eat chocolate right in front of my infant son. He had never tasted chocolate because I was going to be one of those righteous parents who refused to let my children taste confectionary until they reached legal age, so he didn’t know what he was missing out on and he was too busy trying to yoink that fresh lump of duck poo into his open mouth to even care anyway.
As the delightful naivety of infanthood gave way to early toddlerhood and my previously iron will to deny my child sugar faltered, the lies had to start. People had already started slipping him stuff anyway, and then I discovered it was a great way to shut him up for a second or get him to do things he didn’t want to do. As a result, I soon had fierce competition for my chocolate and I would happily without conscience stoop to all kinds of deviousness and manipulation to keep as much of it to myself as I could.
My favourite stage of development was when my son was cognitively mature enough to ask what I was eating, yet still be credulous enough to believe me without a single ounce of suspicion when my reply was “It’s broccoli, you wouldn’t like it”, delivered in my most sarcastic tone and followed by epic bouts of maniacal laughter interspersed with moans of chocolate-induced ecstasy.
That was wonderful while it lasted, but they get so precocious so damn quickly that I was always going to have to amp it up a notch. I practiced secrecy and avoidance for a while, which basically entailed hiding in the kitchen and eating chocolate with my head stuck in the fridge, but not long after that he came to recognise the distinct metallic sound of chocolate being undressed. The game was up. I had to share. I didn’t like it.
I’d still try outright lies from time to time, but I was always fooling myself.
A-man: What are you eating?
A-man: It’s not grapes.
Hugzilla: It’s GRAPES!
A-man: No, it’s not. It’s chocolate. Can I have some?
Hugzilla: No. MINE!
He’d look at me with the same kind of weary exasperation that I often employed. It was like he was the parent and I was the child, insisting stubbornly and irrationally that my bizarre version of reality was the truth. I hadn’t expected to be so easily outsmarted by a three year old.