One of the most surprising things I’ve found about parenting more than one child is that they aren’t always alike. I just assumed whatever I did for my older daughter would be the same for my second daughter, with the same results. Well, I certainly was wrong.
My firstborn daughter was inquisitive, talkative, and always wanted to be in on the action. In short, she had total FOMO from day one. Because she was a total busybody, she was always right in the middle of things, and I used to call her my little reporter. She would come home from daycare each day and tell me who did what to who, who was in trouble, you get the idea.
And if we ever, EVER, caught her not telling the truth, she would immediately cry and rat herself out. For the most part, she was a very easy child (she’s only 10, so stay tuned for future not-easy moments!).
When I had my second daughter, who is four years younger than her big sister, they really looked like twins, so of course, I assumed I generally would have the same experience with daughter number two as I did with her big sister.
Go ahead. You all can laugh at me now. These children could not have been more different.
While my older daughter hated going to sleep (there’s that FOMO again!), my little one would ask for her bottle and lay herself down to sleep. Even now, at the age of six, when she’s had enough for the day, she’ll look at us and say, “I’m tired,” and go upstairs to get ready for bed.
Between her love of sleep and her selective mutism (making her quiet in social settings), you would think she would be an easy child. And she is, for the most part.
She’s adorable, affectionate, and my little best friend. But also, as of late, she’s a liar.
That’s right, a down-and-dirty liar. Sounds harsh, right? I get it. No one wants to call their cute-as-a-button six-year-old a liar, but she is.
They always say the second kid will keep you on your toes, and this one sure does. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t lie about super important things, but this latest round of trouble makes me laugh and concerned about the years to come!
My dearest younger daughter had a playdate recently where the girls built a fort that they named the “candy fort.” That should have been our first sign of trouble, but my husband didn’t realize something was amiss. That is until after the playdate was over, empty candy wrappers were strewn all over our house. We asked her, “Did you take candy from the cabinet” and with those big brown eyes, she emphatically denied all wrongdoing.
Even when we pointed out there were empty wrappers everywhere. And even after we cleaned the smudged chocolate from all over her face. She completely denied it.
So we pointed out that though candy isn’t off limits in our house, the sheer volume of what was clearly eaten was enough to make her and her friend sick. Still, denied. So we left that conversation with a stern, “We don’t lie in this house,” and went about our business. This isn’t the first time we thought she was lying about something, but it was the first time she looked us right in the eyes and told us an absolute lie.
Just a few days later, my older daughter brought to our attention some NEW candy wrappers hiding in the kids’ play kitchen. But this time, with some sound advice from my own mom, we tried a different approach. This time we discussed honesty and the truth and why it’s important. We also reminded her we would never be upset if she told the truth, but we would correct her if she’s done something wrong.
And she slowly climbed into her dad’s lap and told him all about her candy snatching. And guess what? She didn’t get in trouble. She didn’t get punished. Instead, we talked about when it’s ok to eat candy, when we should wait, and how we should always tell the truth.