liar, liar, pants on fire

I have always taken solace in the fact that while my children can be total handfuls, they do not lie. I figured it was a maturity thing, and the day would come when they could lie to my face without compunction. But up until now, they have had a complete inability to do so, even when they knew the truth was not something I wanted to hear.

MOMMY: Cooper! Did you dump out this hot cocoa all over the floor?
COOPER: (his face crumpling, in anticipation of what is to come) Ye-essss…. (abject sobbing)

But those halcyon days are, apparently, over. As of this week, all three of my children have become pathological fibbers. Exhibit A, from yesterday morning:

MOMMY: Fergus, did you brush your teeth?
FERGUS: Yup.

His toothbrush is completely dry.

MOMMY: Fergus, I KNOW that you didn’t.
FERGUS: Why? Were you wooking?

I convinced him that it was my mommy superpowers of perception that tipped me off, and that I had seen him through the door.

MOMMY: We don’t lie in this house. What should your punishment be?
FERGUS: (not too concerned) Hmm. I not sure.
MOMMY: How about we say no TV show before school today?

Fergus felt that this was excessive. I disagreed. It wasn’t the lack of tooth-brushing that got me, it was the baldfacedness of his denial.

Cooper overheard me talking to David about this, and as the eldest, felt obliged to put in his two cents:

COOPER: Mommy, let me just tell you one thing. If you wonder if Fergus is telling a lie, don’t wonder. Because he lies ALL THE TIME.

He was being a tattletale, but I couldn’t resist.

MOMMY: What does he lie about, Cooper?
COOPER: Well. Every time he says I hit him? It’s a lie.

Clearly, Cooper was himself turning out to be an unreliable source. Then, this morning, Exhibit B. Cooper had not seen bath water in a couple of days, so I shooed him off to the shower while feeding his sister. Ten minutes later, he emerges in a towel.

COOPER: I took my shower, Mommy!

He is completely dry. His hair has a few wet spots on top, apparently added in haste from the bathroom sink.

MOMMY: No you didn’t.

COOPER: Yes I did, Mommy! Look, my hair is wet.

MOMMY: Your hair is like one percent wet. I don’t think you can take a shower and have your hair only get that wet.

Cooper’s eyes dart around madly, searching for a backup story.

MOMMY: I think you’re lying to me.

COOPER: (sighing heavily, and returning to the bathroom) Ohhh-kayyy.

Anyone want to tell me what the hell this is about? And how long have they been opting out of showers and tooth-brushing? Are they really such onerous tasks, so oppressively burdensome, that my children need to resort to subterfuge?

Maybe they learned this from Maddie. She’s been lying for months now:

Maddie stands pushing against our coffee table, red-faced.

MOMMY: Maddie, are you making a poopy?

MADDIE: NOOOO!!