When we first begin to deceive. That’s what I was always taught anyway. But as I am now a grown up and a mother, I have found myself questioning this logic. And so….I find myself crying “BS!” at the source of this so-called wisdom.
As a child, I had fond memories of playing a little game called ‘Candyland’. We didn’t get to eat a lot of candy as little ones, but the supply was unlimited with Candyland. I remember my game piece quickly traveling around the candied color squares, with nary a backstep. Playing Candyland with my mom meant two or three chances to claim victory (and way superior CL skills!) And so armed with these wonderful memories, I felt prepared for any Candyland battle any day, and against anyone.
Back in the day, I had a very brief interest in babysitting. (Very brief. To this day, I maintain my mantra developed during those difficult afternoons: “If it’s not mine, I don’t really care/like/want to hold/pick up/listen, etc.” (However, if you are my friend and I love you, then I do love your children, even if they are misbehaved/whiny, and even though my own child is perfect in every way.) Anyway, back to babysitting. My client has just left me in charge of her two darling (hateful) boys, who are staring at me and getting ready to WHINE. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot my salvation- Candyland! I grab the box, set up the game, and shuffle cards under the watchful eyes of my charges. I’m so excited because I just know this will be the easiest $5 an hour (BTW I now pay over $10 an hour for sitters. CASH!!! I might be in the wrong business… although again with the not liking kids thing…) I have ever made! Only things don’t really go as planned. The first problem is the amount of backwards movement on the game board. Huh? I don’t remember ever going backwards. The reverse momentum of game pieces is directly proportional to the amount of complaining, whining, and disinterest in the game. And that’s just me! In a desperate move, I hide in their coat closet and call my mother. I explained the situation to her, and I can practically hear her nodding over the phone. She acknowledged my fond memories, and then asked me a key question- “had I ever seen her shuffle the cards?” OOOH! No way! I never had! She explained the key to a successful Candyland experience- Always Stack the Deck. Made sure the kids are always moving forward, and that all obstacles are removed. No Molasses Swap (now the Chocolate Swap. We are raising sissy children, but that’s another post.) She said to make sure the cards played out in such a way that the game was less than 10 turns and that the kid won every time. Armed with this knowledge, I marched back into the family room and announced a “re-do” because I had not followed all the rules when shuffling the cards. I explained that the shuffling must be in absolute secrecy, and only one person could in charge. I ran to kitchen, did some creative shuffling, and BAM! Instant success. I worry a little that when those boys grow up and try to play Candyland with their children that they will have the same panicky sweaty palms when the memories they have of Candyland aren’t matching up to their situation. (BTW according to Wikipedia, in 2004 the rules to Candyland were changed. The new rules make it easier to win and shorten the time the game takes to play.)
I never thought I would be one of those holier than thou parents who Never Lies To Their Children, and who believes in Total And Full Disclosure. In my estimation, one of the best perks of being a mom is getting to say “Because I’m the Mommy, that’s why”. Recently, the Today Show did a segment on “When is it OK to lie to your kids?” (This post could suddenly take a turn for the worse and become a soapbox for the special type of stupid that exists today. I’m going to try really, really hard to not have that happen.) For this Mommy, it’s OK when it avoids both danger and temper tantrums (especially in public and/or in front of extended family); when the truth isn’t really relevant (does it really matter if one needs 4 pink pieces or 2 to win a boring long drawn out game), or when one is defending Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny (should be self explanatory). I fully plan on shuffling in the kitchen, stacking the deck, hiding batteries, and using “BECAUSE I SAID SO”.
BECAUSE I SAID SO.