"Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth."
These are some of the very first words in the book "Eat, Pray, Love." I just started reading it last night...and it is really good.
And as I stood, telling my children that Santa may not make it this year due to all the snow, I began to wonder if there were exceptions to the rule "thou shalt not lie." When I speak of exceptions, I am thinking specifically of how to respond when one's children uncover the gifts "from Santa" in her closet.
The twins remember last year's Christmas. We didn't make it to the family gathering due to a blizzard. And they've been a bit worried that this year -- the snow that falls on a near weekly basis -- may interrupt our travels once again.
And so, when I was faced with the prospect of them not believing in Santa at the age of four due to my inability to hide gifts, I did what I always do in a pinch. I ruminated on ethics, right vs. wrong, and then settled on lying.
"It has been so very snowy this year, right?"
They eye me and together they tell me "yes."
"And Santa was really worried that he might not make it. You know like how we didn't make it to gramma's last year? And how Santa almost had to cancel Christmas in the Rudolph show because of all the snow?"
They are following my line of thinking, though Sophia is eyeing me a bit suspiciously. I continued.
"So Santa gave me a couple gifts when we saw him at the mall and told me to bring them home. If he is able to make it, he'll get it all set up for us, but if not, at least we have the gifts."
Sophia looked at me. "Really?"
I kept a straight face, dug deep into my psychopathic personality traits that allow me to lie with a completely straight face and said, "Yes. Really. I mean it."
Dave and I never would have known they found the gifts in our closet except that Sophia told Dave, under the belief that he would keep her secret, that Ella had been in our closet and seen "a vanity."
When I first confronted Ella about this news, she looked at me, crossed her arms, kept a straight-face and said "What?!" I repeated my assertion that Ella was a snoop only to be met with an incredulous, "What. are. you. talking. about?"
Damn. That kid is good.
I came in the kitchen. She had won. Tears streamed down my face as I dissolved into laughter. Dave decided he'd try and called both girls into the kitchen to discuss the snooping that had gone on. Sophia denied any wrongdoing, as did Ella. Dave confronted Ella with Sophia's confession that Ella had told her what was in the closet. "Why would Sophia know that you were in our closet?" Dave asked the snoopy little liar among us.
"I don't know why she would say that. Maybe she saw me coming out of the closet."
Dave dismissed them to the living room so that we could hide our tears...of laughter.