Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Zoe vs. The Truth

Are all toddlers lying liars who lie? I'm wondering. And hoping.
Lies, damned lies, and Pinocchio.
Hoping that it's just a stage she'll grow out of. Because I don't know how to relate to this. I am painfully honest at times. Honest about things people might rather I lie about. 
Just ask a co-worker of mine who I had take a photograph of me when I was four months pregnant holding a giant container of Metamucil. Did he need or want to know about the intestinal struggles of pregnancy? I'm going to go with "need." I was suffering. People needed to know. Plus if I was away from my desk for a while and anyone asked where I'd gone, my co-worker could roll his eyes and point to the bathroom.
Zoe's grandmother is even more painfully honest, which must be where I get it from. 
Quick story: Atlantic City, early '80s. My nuclear family goes to one of those Dinner and a Show Tune Revues. They start singing "Hello, Dolly!" and before you can say "long-running Broadway musical" it becomes a full-audience participation number. The singers head out among the tables, working the two-drink minimum crowd into a show-tune frenzy, and then one of the singers kneels down by my mother, hands her the mic, and says: "What's your favorite song?" Without batting an eye she answers, "Right now it's 'Memory' from Cats."

Hello, Dolly: 7/5/96
Good-bye, Dolly: 2/14/03

Returning now to poop. Because that's the main thing Zoe lies about. Potty training is still a pipe dream, if pipes do in fact dream of poop.
Here's the nightly scenario: Six o'clock, time to poop. Aware of her schedule I prompt Zoe. "Do you have to go to the bathroom, my precious angel?"
Cut to one second later when she's retreated to the other side of the dining room table (but still in view of the TV). Her face has gone red, and she's emitting grunts.
"Zoe, dearest one, are you, perchance, pooping?"
"Grrrr. NO!"
When I eventually approach to change her, I'm met with cries of "Not done yet!" (But I thought you weren't pooping, I want to say.)
Or sometimes she just puts out her hand, turns her head away, and shouts: "Nothing!" 
"Nothing!" is the one-size-fits-all scream she uses for other situations, like bedtime, bath time, mealtime, getting dressed/undressed. Basically it means she's extremely busy and cannot be interrupted. Gotta respect the evil geniuses; they have a process and I'm pretty sure it's not "nothing."
I suppose I should be thankful that Zoe's lies right now are so transparent. One day she'll be a teenager and I will be even less of a match for her. In the meantime her lies are kind of funny in their obviousness.
My favorite mealtime lie is for when she clearly doesn't want to eat her vegetables and so she claims they're "too hot," no matter that she hasn't tried it, or that it's been sitting there for several minutes, or that it's a salad.
Zoe's bedtime lies would take a book and have been well-covered previously in this blog.
Recently, Zoe has been exploring Munchausen syndrome. Not the one "by proxy." It's all her. And it's all drama.
Remember Zoe's three-year doctor checkup, where she would not submit to being weighed, measured, examined, or generally checked up on? Well, since then she's apparently been turning the visit over in her mind and has come to realize the benefits of being or at least appearing sick, and not just because of the direct correlation between the degree of sick and the amount of attention received but in the quality of that attention as well.
When children are sick, she noticed, mommies give them stuff. Or let them get away with stuff. Being sick means more juice (all mommies fear dehydration). More TV. More of Mommy saying, how do you feel and delivering sympathy pats.
So the last time Zoe was sick and I brought her to the doctor, she was ready to perform.

The tragic case of Hieronymous Carl
Friedrich Baron von Munchausen, never
to have his towels monogrammed because
they assumed he was exaggerating.

First, two young student doctors came in and asked her how she was.
Zoe hung her head sadly, the physical embodiment of a sigh.
They asked if her throat hurt. She nodded sadly.
They asked if her head hurt. She nodded even more sadly.
A headache was a new symptom to her mother, who was bringing her in for possible pink eye and a longstanding cold. And who'd just been waiting over an hour in the waiting room with a child who was not acting sick but was instead running back and forth from the "sick" to the "well" side of the waiting room no matter what punishments I threatened her with.
On to her game, I told them to ask her about her foot.
"Zoe, does your foot hurt?" one of the doctors asked.
Zoe nodded. Very Very Sadly.
They looked at me. I looked at them. They looked back at Zoe.

A caption would be egregious.

"Zoe, does your knee hurt?" the other doctor asked.
Zoe nodded Very Very Very Sadly.
When the doctor came in and she repeated her performance, claiming to suffer from all manner of afflictions, I fake-sneezed "Munchausen."
The doctor may have just handed me the tissue box but I think Zoe got my point. 
Zoe: 37; Universe: 0


  1. HA!! You are awesome. Beat them at their own game, that's what I always say! Okay, I don't always say that, but it seemed perfect for this post. :)

  2. Sorry, I wrote this comment inthe wrong place. Feel free to delete it there. ;-) Hilarious, as always. If it makes you feel any better, Henry totally uses the "it's hot" excuse, and he also says "no" when I ask if he is pooping even though he is all red in the face. I haven't gotten to the all-purpose NOTHING, although I'm sure it is coming. Maybe I should start using that on my husband. Hmmm... Zoe might be on to something.

    1. Haha. Just always comment "hilarious, as always" and you can put it anywhere! I'm easy like that!

  3. Am cracking up! Personally, I think Zoe was just making sure those student doctors got their money's worth that day. How else are they supposed to learn?! ;)-Ashley

    1. You might be right about that! Haha. Except that would make her considerate. Nah!