So, I've been having a mothering problem. Namely, Bianca has been lying to me. Not about important stuff; no it's about the trivial, really unimportant stuff. Yesterday, she lied to me about practicing Wohlfahrt Foundational Studies (which is the boring exercises on viola that help strengthen fingers). She hates Wohlfahrt , throws the book against the wall and the cover has come off on both editions she's gotten through already. That's fine. I'll allow her to hate it, but she still has to practice it when her teacher assigns it to her. I knew she was lying to me because the music on her stand was the exact same that had been there the afternoon before when I was tidying up her room (yes, I know I shouldn't be doing that but I just can't stand the mess anymore). She then said it was because she had it memorized. So I grabbed the book, opened to the correct page, and said, "Okay, let's hear it." She got about two lines through it and stopped.
This made me realize this isn't the first time. It's just a culmination of other instances: "Yes, I brushed my teeth" disproven by dry bristles; "Yes, I made my bed" only to see sheets thrown about in bedlam (one of Bianca's vocabulary words this week); "Yes, I put my clothes away" only to discover them all shoved behind the bean bag chair or hidden underneath the dirty clothes never even taken out of the laundry basket. It's a problem. And I have to fix it NOW! (The messy problem will have to be a fix for another day.)
So yesterday, I was visiting with Wendy, my husband's cousin's wife whose parenting skills I admire. I asked her what I should do. Her answer, "Go to a higher authority." She told me a story about some parents who schooled their kids at under two years old about where liars go--straight to hell. When Bianca's not brushing her teeth, tell her you're taking her straight to the dentist (or I thought maybe I'd show her pictures of teeth on the Internet of people who don't brush).
So I picked Bianca up from school. I told her that I had failed her as a parent. I hadn't taught her about lying. I hadn't told her what happens to people who lie. And I would have a lesson with her--and Portia. In fact, I had already started teaching Portia so we could start early. I turned to Portia and asked her, "Where do liars go?"
Portia responded emphatically, "Hell!"
"Where will you go if you lie?"
"Hell." It became a chant.
So I asked Bianca, "Okay, lessons over. Let's see what you learned. Where do liars go?"
Bianca couldn't do it. She couldn't say it. Maybe she felt so wrong uttering a swear word (it is, right?) that she wouldn't say it.
"And look what you've done to your sister," I said. "She's now the swearing queen."
Portia chanted "Hell, hell, hell, hell" all the way home.
I hope Bianca gets it. I explained to her that she's been baptized; she's accountable for her mistakes now. Does she really want to waste it on lying about worthless things that I'll figure out anyway? I guess we'll see how this goes. Either Bianca will be whipped into shape and stop the lying or I'm going to have a four-year-old who swears like a sailor and a nine-year-old liar. Let's hope for the best!