Parent/teacher conferences are pretty low-key in our family, these days. Our first event of this type was an open house at my daughter’s preschool. The teacher greeted my husband and me, pointing out those areas that interested our child: music, animals, art. One wall was covered with paintings that each child had made of their family. The teacher took down our daughter’s. As she handed it to me she said, “I didn’t realize you have a baby at home.”
“We don’t,” I replied, staring at the sweetly off-kilter painting of “mommy, daddy, me, sissy, doggy, kitty.”
I turned it over. It was clearly labeled with my daughter’s name. She appeared at my side.
“Is this your painting?” I asked, and immediately I knew it was. It’s not every day one sees a 3-year-old’s face convey the series of emotions typical of James Cagney in a Prohibition-era gangster movie. I half expected her to shout “The jig is up!” and run out the preschool door.
There was no little sister at home, and no doggy or kitty either.
A friend of mine told me that when she was a little kid she wanted to impress an older neighbor girl. So she told the girl all about a late night TV show that she watched. Of course, she wasn’t really allowed to stay up late watching the show, and the show didn’t actually exist. She invented the premise and the episodes.
When my daughter was 5, I picked her up from a playdate.
“I didn’t know that you teach at Pinckney Elementary,” the little girl’s father said.
“I don’t,” I replied.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children.” Maybe so, but children have also been the tellers of a good many whoppers.