Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

alienWe’re having some veracity issues in our house. And I’ll give you a hint as to the crux of the problem: she made the alien finger puppet pictured above. Doesn’t he just look as guilty as sin? He’s currently residing in one of the plants on the kitchen window sill and more than once, as I ponder the sticky wicket of a fibbing child, my eyes meet his eye and he seems to know something I don’t.

It all started at the old house when I found a teeny tiny little bunny rabbit scrawled on the wall next to the stairs. Oh how I wish I had taken a picture. Devil Baby was far too young to have drawn it. Saint James seemed far too old to have taken a pen to the wall, so of course I suspected Supergirl. Keep in mind that this was a couple years ago, way before she became the girl graffiti artist she is today – although arguably the rabbit was the beginning of it all. I pointed at the rabbit and asked her if she had done it and her reaction surprised me. She denied it. But her denial was served up with gusto: two scoops of vehemence, topped with whipped sincerity and a sprinkling of indignation. I was instantly convinced by her wide-eyed reaction and stormed off to chew out Saint James. He in turn was so befuddled, so confused, so clueless that it became clear to me that I had been duped. I realized with a start that I had a little liar on my hands. It takes one to know one and I knew in that moment that she was a dangerous and formidable foe.

I shook my head in disbelief. It took me years and years of built up good will in the form of straight A’s, peppiness, responsible behavior, industriousness and all around goofiness to get my parents to the point where they would believe pretty much anything I said. And I didn’t really cash in until COLLEGE! And even then, I never actually lied to them, I just failed to mention certain things. Like taking their car to Mardi Gras. Um. Twice. And then there was that time that I went to Greece for a week by myself. I did send them a post card letting them know my whereabouts. I just waited until it was too late for them to object. And it’s not like they asked me if I took their car to New Orleans and I looked at them with giant shining unblinking eyes and slid a big fib sundae over to them which they gobbled up in an instant. No. My specialty was the omission. And I subspecialized in the overly complicated and farfetched white lie to protect someone’s feelings. But a bald faced cover your ass lie? ‘Fraid not. Four years old seemed so young to be so smooth. Danger Danger. It wasn’t that she lied. It was that she lied so well. We were going to have to be super crafty with this little one or she would be running circles around us by the time she was thirteen.

Fast forward to last week. Doctor Dash came up from the basement griping about finding the hand mirror and a tube of Cortaid with the top off on the basement rug. In most families you could probably narrow it down based on the Cortaid, but unfortunately, every one is kind of rashy right now and so it was anybody’s guess. Of course they all denied it, big to little. I’m ruling out Saint James because when questioned directly he crumbles like a house of cards. He’s no liar, my boy. Instead, he dips his head and confesses with such meek, hangdogness, such sincere regret that it takes all the wind out of your sails and you find yourself hugging him even though he just told you he broke the window. It’s an effective strategy, no doubt. Devil Baby could have tried to sooth an itch with the Cortaid, but I just can’t see her having had the forethought to take a mirror, all the better to see that hard to reach itchy spot. So that left Supergirl, but she wasn’t giving up the goods. 

And then a few days later someone took the cap off of my new nail polish and left it open. Prime suspect: Supergirl. Saint James was sleeping. Devil Baby couldn’t reach. Again, the big eyes. The look of shock. The swearing and heart crossing and inscrutable face. I gave her my good cop bad cop routine, switching back and forth like Sybil, trying to knock her off balance, but she’s nimble as a cat. And she seems to know that as parents, we have an absolute horror of a false accusation. So in that sliver of a doubt she finds her foothold – her safe spot. As long as I can’t prove anything and as long as she doesn’t crack, we are stuck in an uneasy stalemate. 

As if coming full circle with the residential graffiti, a couple days ago we found Devil Baby’s name written backwards on the bathroom blinds. Devil Baby can write most of the letters in her name, but certainly not backwards. Obviously it was the work of the Mad Scribbler, but we can’t prove it. I even tried the whole freaky witchy I can tell when you’re lying, I can see it, I can sense it! But obviously it only takes one successful lie to sink that claim. I also tried some good old fashion Catholic guilt – lying is a sin, right? I can’t remember. Nada. She’s a tough nut to crack. But crack her we will. And if we can’t crack her, we’ll just keep reminding her we are totally wise to her ways. Ya, that’s good. We’re onto you, Supergirl. We can’t do anything about it, but we’re onto you.

By the way, this penchant or skill or foible or whatever you want to call it comes from my brother, Golden – a master whopper teller and ass coverer. A master. Man oh man, are we in for it.

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