Monday, December 29, 2008

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Chris and I just lied to our daughter.

It started out innocently enough. On Christmas eve we visit Aunt Camille's house for the traditional family dinner and white elephant gift swap. In past years we put Ada to bed at Camille's and then woke her up for the drive home. This year we decide Ada is old enough to stay up, and on this score she is a champ. No tired tantrums, no complaints, just dancing and cheerful present shuttling.

We get home, and it is hours past Ada's usual bedtime. Chris shepherds her though an accelerated bedtime routine. But then he pops back downstairs because Ada's nuk (pacifier) is nowhere to be found. [As an aside, I know that 3.5 is kind of on the old side to be using a pacifier, but (a) she only uses it for sleeping and (b) I sucked my thumb way past when it was considered acceptable and I turned out okay. My teeth did too. I am one of the few people my age who never wore braces.]

When Chris tells me the nuk is missing, I am completely annoyed. We'd had a little temporary nuk crisis before nap and I saw Ada put her nap on the shelf when I got her up that afternoon. At home she is great about leaving the nuk in a little basket between sleep times, but I wonder if being at the grandparents' had confused things a bit.

Chris searches everywhere he can think of, but can not find the nuk. Ada is upset, but also very tired, so she yawns and cries while Chris explains that there is no nuk, but that we'd look for it again in the morning. She goes to bed just fine that night (again - it probably helps that it is two hours past her bedtime). Right after Chris comes back downstairs, I remember that in preparation for the trip to Camille's, I'd packed up bedtime supplies - jammies, a teddy bear, and the nuk - just in case Ada got pooped early in the evening. I had completely forgotten the bag sitting at the bottom of the stairs, and Chris had not known to look for it. He'd just used a different pair of pajamas when he got her dressed.

So ok, we could have put the nuk in her stocking the next morning. We could have "found" it at nap time. We decide to do neither. We decide to do what we did when we did actually lose Ada's nuk a few months ago.

At this point I should mention that not only does Ada use a pacifier, but she is very specific about which pacifier. For the past year or so we had ONE acceptable pacifier, dubbed the "cat and moon" nuk for the picture on the nub. When that one started to break down, I had to talk her into a different brand and style, because the old kind was no longer available.

Right, so: a few months ago we put Ada to bed at Monkey Boy's house, and when we took her home the nuk got left in her carseat. We didn't realize that it was there, and we did not use the car for several days. Ada was sad, but got over the loss fairly well. But then we finally got into the car, and Ada exclaimed: "I found it!" Chris and I groaned, but we went back to our old nuk-napping ways. But now we have a second chance at a nuk-free lifestyle! Everything went smoothly at the grandparents' house. Ada accepted that the nuk was irretrievably missing, and slept just fine without it.

Tonight (back at our house) we move smoothly through our usual routine, until we get to the part where we tuck Ada into bed. She asks for the nuk, and we remind her that we've lost it.

"But what about the green nuk?" (the beloved purple nuk had come in a two pack with a green pacifier)

And this is where we betray our sweet daughter's trust. I say: "I don't know where that one is."

"Is it in the basket? Can you look for it, Papa?" (I love that she calls us Mama and Papa, but in these moments it makes her sound even more innocent and sweet and breaks my heart even that much more.)

Chris makes a perfunctory examination. "Nope, I don't see it."

Sensing this could go either way, I reassure her that she'd done so well without the nuk, that she was such a big girl. So she snuggles into bed, and with a quick negotiation about a water cup on the shelf, she goes to bed.

So the nuk is gone, hopefully for good. I just hope Chris can hide the green nuk from Ada before she goes digging in the basket tomorrow morning.


  1. Well call me the worst parent in the world because I lie about that kind of stuff a lot.

    I'm glad we're finally out of the nuk stage, but it was not so fun getting out of it completely. I'm worried about regression when the new baby gets here, but that's a battle for a different day.

  2. We had almost exactly the same experience w/ our son, at age 3 yrs 3 mo. Truly by accident, left the nuk in the car, parked at the airport, when we visited grandma for 4 nights. He really did OK during that time (change of scenery probably helped). When we got home we quickly grabbed the remaining nuk and stashed it, then just kept saying "I don't know where it is ... guess it got lost ... " etc. We then proceeded to have a miserably difficult month--travel, other kid hospitalized, etc.--and he was so fine. Here's hoping it's the same for Ada. (Well, minus the miserable month, of course.

  3. I would have handled things exactly as you did. And I still would have felt guilty about it.
    My kids call us Mama and Papa, too.

  4. I think you did a great job handling that! Lizzie loves her Soothie pacifiers and mainly only uses them in bed and in the car with occasional use at the end of the day. I dread trying to wean her off them. I can only hope it is as easy for me as it was for you.

    I hope everything is going well for you. I'm starting to feel the babies quite a bit these days. I'm looking forward to my Level II ultrasound on Friday. I'm hoping to find out the sexes!

  5. It's not lying. It's parenting. CREATIVE parenting, perhaps, but she'll be alright . . .

  6. Too bad you can't just lose the diapers.

  7. Thanks for your comments over on twinutero. I only wish we had thought of your approach during the many, many times we looked for lost soothers.

    I wish you all the best with your twins and Ada. Don't forget to take care of yourself!