web analytics

Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

From the Frying Pan… to the Fire

I know that my kids will turn into a scrumptious gourmet meal one day, but how many times they fall into the fire before that day is anyone’s guess.  It’s not necessarily that they’re trying to buck the system, it’s that they still don’t understand what that system is.

“Has everyone done their homework?” I ask, having been lenient and assigning only a couple of small items, instead of a full-fledged barrage.

“Yes, Mama,” the cherubs respond in unison.

We are going to visit a cousin and I have let them know that all of the homework has to be completed before we arrive at their house.  They have agreed, but I have the nagging suspicion that some are not with the program.  Goofing around in the back of the car, they are unaware that Judgment Day is coming.  There is no escape.

“Okay, then let’s pass it in now, and you’ll all be free to play with Emma….”

“What-!!!???” screams one of the Pretenders in the rear.  “Now-!!!???”

“Yes, everyone said they had finished, so let’s pass it in now,” I reply sweetly.

A minute passes.  All of the papers are collected, except one.

“I don’t know where it is.  It’s GONE-!!!” protests my child dramatically.

“Gone?” says Benedetto.  “How could it be gone?  We’ve been in the car the entire time.”

“It was here, and now it’s NOT-!!!  I can’t help it, it’s not my problem-!!!”

Recalling Shakespeare’s line, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” got me to thinking.  Not that the word “protest” meant the same as today at all, but I fell back on the common misinterpretation of the phrase:  insisting so much about something that the hearers feel the opposite is true.

“You will lower your voice, and calmly look for your schoolwork.  This is the third time in a week that you are claiming that homework has suddenly disappeared, and you know what?  It’s not our problem, either.  It’s your responsibility to take care of your own things.”

Whereupon the person in question starts escalating more and Benedetto steps in.

“If you can’t find the essay to make the necessary corrections, then simply rewrite the essay, and the problem will be solved,” he suggests.


“Rewrite the essay,” he repeats calmly.

“I found it,” comes the voice from the rear.

“A true miracle,” I mutter.

This is not the first time for lies.  I hate lies.  I never grew up lying.  It was Wrong.  Period.  It was seen as Sneaky.  Deceitful.  Unnecessary.

Whereas my kids grew up in Russian orphanages learning that it was Necessary, Beneficial, and Good to lie.  They try their Siberian snow jobs on us on a daily basis.  I envision them on chain gangs, telling their tall tales to others who might actually believe them because they were “framed by the authorities”, as well.

It’s not non-stop.  One of my children did have a reputation that, whenever the lips were moving, lies were emanating.  That was rather accurate shortly after arriving home.

But most of them only use lies to their advantage, whenever it suits the situation, and whenever they cannot own up to their own choices.  That might be frequently, or it might be sporadically.  It all depends.

Similar to a child’s toy where the pop-up people must be hammered back down into place… only to have another pop up nearby… the lies popped in and out of our family life according to their every whim.  They knew nothing about preserving a family’s honor, nor living on the straight and narrow.

I wondered if I had ever lied to them, or if adults tended to lie less, or cover up their lies better than children.  I considered all of the lies of their birthfamilies, and how the children could not come to terms with the fact that adults had lied to them for years.  Maybe now that they realized the lies of the past, they felt that they should continue the family tradition-?

From one issue to another we careen.  If it’s not that they don’t want to wear deodorant, it’s forgetting to brush the teeth, or stuffing wads of paper and trash under their bed.  Not all of them do this, and the ones that do, do it only enough to keep us off-balance.

Which I would imagine is the intended result:  help us feel the uncertainty that they live with every day and what it’s like to go from the frying pan into the fire on a regular basis.  Rather than face the difficult issues of the past or present and work through them, they often elect to eject, creating a smoke screen diversion in the Kitchen of Life.  We pray that they’ll become willing partners in the process, embracing change, and ending up “well done” rather than “half-baked”.

It’s what I’m working on, anyway.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Gwendolyn says:

    When dealing with these issues, we always TRY to praise the kids when one of them ‘tells the truth and shames the devil,’ particularly if she is telling the truth about something that will get her into trouble. I also try to remember / imagine (as you do) that the children are trying to re-create the environment that was normal and even comfortable for them, however strange that seems to our sensibilities.

    Yesterday I found a cordless telephone handset stashed between the lower and upper mattresses on older DD’s trundle bed. I think it was accidental; DH thinks she was hoarding it. 🙂

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s great advice, Gwendolyn. My natural hard-guy persona wants to nail them, but I agree to lighten up when they tell the truth… about the lie…! I want the lines of communication to be open. Sounds like your daughter’s phone lines are already open, lol….

  2. avatar Sybil says:

    It has been an issue for my wonderful daughter too. There is no point in asking them if they are being truthful because they will swear on YOUR life they are. I think it is better to say something like, “Mom and Dad know better than that so let’s see how we can make this better – what do YOU suggest? We are not looking to give you consequences unless we can’t come to an agreement about this very quickly. Do you want a minute to think it over? ” As the mental knife plunges into your patience!

    • avatar admin says:

      Ooh, I like that approach, Sybil: “What do YOU suggest?” Today we were talking about habits (supposedly) taking 21 days to make or break, and imagine this, not one of them could come up with one thing “to work on”… but they could all suggest ideas for the others-! Finally I said, “We’re thinking about OURSELVES, too,” and led with one of my own issues to work on.

      The patience part is a biggie. It really helps if we can keep our cool, doesn’t it?

  3. avatar Phyllis says:

    Wow, this is very close to home on just about everything you said! My boys lie just as naturally as when they breathe. I liked both of the responses, too! I am currently enrolled in “Mercy’s Boot Camp.” This is just another area that needs to be covered there. : )

    • avatar admin says:

      Isn’t it amazing, Phyllis? It helps ME to think that they don’t always know HOW to tell the truth, rather than they are choosing to be serial liars. And it has gotten a lot better, so when it happens, it’s still shocking. So we end up doing a lot of role playing, showing how blame-shifting and lying were normal survival techniques, but how now they might say X, Y, or Z, instead. I’m trying to get them to pause before they speak, also, to buy that nanosecond of rational thought, lol….

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.