My identical twin boys are terrible liars. Friends brag about their price-cheating efforts: how they prep their kid to tell a ski lift operator that they’re five instead of six, or to convince a flight attendant they’re “just under two.”
In addition to being bad karma, this just isn’t in my boys’ natures. I can’t even convince them that white lies are good manners. The upside of this is I always know what they’re up to. Without much questioning, I can usually get the full accurate story. (“Yeah, I called him stupid, and then he wacked me in the pee-pee, then I grabbed his Transformer and pulled down his pants and then he cried.”)
The downside is they tend to embarrass me on a regular basis.
I got an email one New Year’s when the boys were seven from a lovely neighbor who is also the Neighborhood Christmas Martha Stewart. Her tree is perfectly done up in white and gold ornaments like a display at William’s Sonoma, and despite two small children and a full time job, she manages to bake and deliver cheesecake pies to everyone on the street.
The email from this neighbor said she was pleased to receive the personally delivered thank you note along with the empty pie tin, but that she was pretty sure her conversation with my son did not follow the script of my coaching. Excerpt:
Neighbor, opening the door: Oh hi! What’s this?
Takes pie plate and opens hand made thank you note.
Neighbor: What a lovely note. Did you enjoy the pie?
Axel: No. I didn’t have any. Only Daddy and Grampie eat the pie.
Neighbor: Really? Why is that?
Axel: Mom says it’s gross.
Somehow we managed to get left off the pie distribution list this year.
A more recent front step encounter with a different neighbor and my other son occurred while I was getting out of the shower. Excerpt:
Mother: Oh crap! (Yelling down the stairs) Get the door!
Sound of door opening. Enter neighbors Tom and Simone.
Simone: Hi there! We’re having a Super Bowl party next Sunday and wanted to stop by and invite you.
Aidan: Oh, well, you know, we already have so many Super Bowl parties to go to, I doubt we’ll be able to make it. We have a lot of friends. There’s Jackson’s party, and Thomas’, and of course we have to go to Grampie’s house because he loves the Patriots…..
Mother (frantically grasping at too small towel and projecting her voice down the stairwell): OK Aidan! That’s enough! Of course we’ll stop by, thanks for including us!
While I’m not sure any of our neighbors will be speaking to us by the time the twins reach high school, I just have to hope that I will still get the full scoop on keggers in the woods, who’s using their mother’s medical marijuana prescription, and who got to second base behind the bleachers.