Ella had to take some medicine this morning. A powder consisting mainly of salt dissolved in a bit of water. She errggh-ed and yuk-ed for ages until I got fed up and walked out to get ready. When I came back the cup was empty and she was rummaging through the fridge to find her recess snacks.
Me – Ella, did you drink your ALL your medicine?
Ella – [silence]
Me – You didn’t did you? Did you pour it in the sink?
Ella – No, I did not pour it in the sink.
Me – Did you drink it all.
Ella – … Yes.
Me – I don’t think I believe you. Tell me the truth Ella. Did you drink it or pour it out?
Ella – I did drink it.
Me – I still don’t think I believe you.
And I had to leave it there because I could not prove that she was lying.
Fast forward to tonight.
Me – Ella, tell me honestly now, did you drink all your medicine this morning? I won’t get angry if you tell me the truth.
Ella – No, I poured it out outside.
After that followed a few conversations about me not being able to believe her anymore now and that it would take a while before I could again.
Me – If you always tell me the truth every time now, I’ll believe you again. But you must never lie. If I get cross over whatever it is you’ve done, so be it, you’ll just have to deal with that.
Ella – But never hit me for no reason!
Me – [laughing out loud] Have I ever hit you? And for no reason? Imagine. ‘Whack! What did you do that for? No particular reason.’
We’ll see how we go with the lying. It’s a tricky one. I always thought that lying should be regarded as worse than whatever they’re trying to hide. But that implies that if they choose to tell the truth it cancels out the bad thing they’re supposed to have done. It confuses me. So I think all I can do is appeal to her sense of morality… And develop a better bullshit radar!