Lesson One: Lying and Pythons

Jenny Lawson
Being a Mom
38

Hi. My name is Jenny and I'm here to fix you. You may not realize that you even need my help and that's a sign that you need my parenting advice even more. I'm like your own personal Mary Poppins. But with more profanity and less spontaneous singing.

Also, you may be here wondering why someone sent you this link when you don't even have kids and that's probably because it's not entirely unlikely that a distant relative may die at sea and leave you with a passel of waterlogged orphans. Or maybe that someone is trying to tell you that you actually do have kids. Congratulations! You probably owe a lot of back child support. But enough about you. Let's get started, shall we?

The subject we're exploring today is lying.

Lying is a problem that all parents have to deal with eventually. Like when my daughter was 4 and she was all "Who got my hands all dirty?!" and I was like "Um ... you. You've obviously been playing in the mud even though I expressly told you not to" and she was all "No. It must have been ... uh ... elves" and I was like "Elves. Really? That's the best you could come up with? Elves are for making cookies in trees. They don't touch mud. Because that would be counter-productive. Think, Hailey. I mean, if you're going to lie to me at least make it believable. Like when I told you that Santa Claus was real. You believed that, right? BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT SHIT THROUGH."

Then she started crying. Probably because she realized that she'd never be as good of a liar as me, and that's good. This is what you want. You want your kids to not lie to you. Or to become fantastic liars and go into politics. Those are both good options.

Some parenting manuals claim that the best way to teach kids about lying is by example, but I think that's just because most parenting manuals are written by people who don't love their children enough to come up with imaginative and overly complicated lesson plans. Like maybe leave a box with a big bow on it in plain sight in the closet and tell your kid that they aren't allowed to peek until their birthday and then later stumble into their room and be all "Oh my God, I've been bitten by a python. Quick! Bring me the present from the hall. It's filled with powerful python anti-venom vapors. That was my gift to you" and then they'll bring it to you and you'll open it and breathe deeply from the box and then you look at them with horror and shock and say, "THERE'S NO ANTI-VENOM LEFT. YOU OPENED THIS AND NOW I'M GOING TO DIE. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. WHEN. YOU. DON'T. LISTEN." Then die slowly and agonizingly in front of them with a look of deep disappointment on your face. Then they'll be all "Why?! Why did this happen?!" and you'll be like "Well, it probably happened because you didn't listen to me" and then they'll be all "Wait ... I thought you were dead!" and you'll be like "Well, that's because you're 5 and you don't know how anti-venom works. Pythons don't even have venom. Why do we bother to buy you all those Ranger Rick magazines if you're not even going to read them? That's the second lesson. Don't just look at the pictures. The words are there for a reason, Hailey. This isn't Playboy. It's education." BAM. Two lessons in one.

Of course it's possible that your child will claim that they never even opened the box to begin with and in that case you should probably send them to their room for lying twice. Or perhaps they really didn't open the box, in which case you should tell them that you're proud of them and that the box was probably opened by the evil fairy that lives under their bed that grows bigger every time they accidentally knock over their milk or masturbate. Whichever ridiculously minor thing you think is most unforgivable.

Join me next time for my second topic: "Breastfeeding ~ frankly, we're all a little sick of hearing about it."


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