I’m not lion.
Being three years old is hard. I don’t remember much from that part in my life, but I’ve observed enough three year olds to know that it’s not easy. The schedule is intense:
6:45: Wake up way too early and spend an exhaustive amount of energy waking up the rest of the household
7:00: Cry because you’re tired and don’t want to be awake.
7:15: Cry because your sister slept longer than you and you wanted to sleep in.
8:00: Scream because you got EXACTLY what you asked for for breakfast (the nerve of some people to listen and then give you what you want).
9:00: Stomp up and down the hall screaming out “IT’S NOT FAIR” until you realize you’ve forgotten what is not fair.
9:30: Cry because you forgot what is not fair.
9:45: Plead for lunch because you didn’t eat any of your breakfast because you passionately hate whatever it is you asked for.
10:00: Ask your sister to play with you.
10:02: Let out a blood curdling scream because your sister is trying to play with you.
Do you see? It’s only 10:00 am and already aren’t you exhausted? And that’s just the day for a typical three year old. Lulu has even more strenuous days than this because on top of the standard three year old regimen, she has to live the life of a liar.
This is how you can immediately know that the child is a liar. She starts off most stories with “I’m not lion”. Which translated into adult English means “I’m not lying”.
It started off at a very young age. As soon as she could talk she started spinning stories. There was poor John, the little boy from her daycare who got blamed for everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Not just Lulu getting in trouble and blaming another kid. I mean Lulu PEEING HER PANTS and saying John peed them. One time we were at home and Lulu tripped and fell down and I later heard her retelling the story saying John pushed her. John who goes to daycare with her. John who has never set foot in our house.
Sometimes the lies are so funny that I can’t help but encourage them. They are magical, nonsensical, and most often they are hilarious. I record them. I make her retell them so others can hear too. I look at Evan and we double over with laughter at the crazy statements that escape her mouth. The thoughts that have been caged up in her mind and have somehow worked their way down into her vocal chords and are giddy for the chance to be released.
Sometimes I don’t laugh at all. Last night, when she was supposed to be brushing her teeth it was eerily quiet. A quiet that I should know better than to trust. A quiet that I’ve heard many times before, even in her younger years. A quiet that leads to mustaches being drawn on faces. But of course I’m sure it was John that did it that time.
This time it wasn’t marker mustaches, it was worse. It was me calling out down the hall “Lulu, what’s taking so long?” It was her angelic voice pausing just a second too long before responding “I brush my teeth really good”. This time it was blue nail polish spread over the entire tips of fingers and toes. It was a spilled bottle of blue nail polish speckling the floor with streaks of Lulu magic. It was heaps of towels placed over the spilled nail polish to try to cover up the incriminating evidence. It was a full sprint down the hall when I came to check on her. A leap from the corner of the bedroom into the bed to hide the blue stubs of shame. It was blue smears of tears and paint covering a bedspread and sheets. Tears not because she knew she was in trouble. Tears because she got caught. Tears because she realized that she couldn’t talk her way our of this one.
She really was lion.