I’m becoming like every other parent.
I tried to tell myself that I was going to try and change the scene, even if only a little. Hold myself to a higher standard. Don’t be like all the other parents out there. High aspirations in this Fatherhood Game, I know. Especially as a rookie.
Yet, I caught myself doing it just the other day. I may as well have worn a Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, and had socks under my sandals like so many other suburban dads. I was one of them.
I was lying to my daughter.
Why? Well, because I could. And she didn’t know any better. So I could get away with it.
But I had a nagging sensation in my head as I was doing it.
This is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong.
I was trying to put my daughter to sleep, which isn’t really that tough of a task. She wears herself out, doesn’t usually fight it and lays right down and sleeps. Hearing about other monsters, we are quite lucky.
The other night though, she kept answering every mention of “night-night?” or “sleepy?” with “No.”
It’s not often that I get to be in charge, so I kind of relish the ability to set some rules over another human being – even if it’s something as simple as a bed time. I took her into her room and as I sat on a rocking chair with her as she held a bottle (I’m not kidding – this is what we do. It’s so cliche.) and she started going through her mental roster.
Mommy is sleeping, I answered.
Grandma is sleeping, too.
Yes, Milo and Roxy are sleeping too, even though I could hear our two dogs panting just outside the doorway.
And so it went. My year-and-a-half year old asking about the small circle of people she knew and if they were sleeping. Of course they weren’t. It was 7:30. But I was telling her that they were. And in my mind I was thinking Dude, you are such a liar.
In the grand scheme of things this ranks right up there with a gnat dying somewhere in the world, but to me it was the first lie I had told my kid. At least the first one she could somewhat comprehend. And I felt guilty about it.
The next day I was talking to a fellow parent at work and I confessed. She almost fell out of her seat laughing.
“Wait until you have to worry about Santa!” she said.
And that’s how my child, in about four years, will be the first in her class to know the truth and ruin it for all the other kids.