How many of us have an “almost” true story? How many of us convince ourselves that what is almost true is really true? Our minds are very powerful things. It always amazes me how God made us all so different yet so much a like. Here is an interesting story (very true) about my 7 year old. First let me paint the picture for you all.
So here is my beautiful spunky fun little 2nd grader. Glasses, big front teeth, just adorable. Usually she is wearing some concoction of an outfit. Like a ratty dress up and tap shoes or something that mimics the pilgrim era. Very comical if you have no where to go, not so funny when she was dressed for the day and now she’s not and you have to leave like yesterday (not easy for “fly by the seat of your pants” kinda Mom). That’s Ella in all her glory.
On this particular day I was not on my “A” game. I was tired from lack of sleep, worn down from some family medical problems and honestly my mind was just totally preoccupied. That is probably why I didn’t notice Ella’s hair sticking straight up that morning before school. Or that I ignored the comment about “why her hair just won’t stay down today”. I was in that 7:15 am fog of “whatever, let’s just get moving” mode.
Off to school she and her sister went. Still in my “fog” most of the day I didn’t seem to piece together the puzzle that was soon to unfold little by little later that afternoon. How did I miss the hair on the bathroom floor or the scissors on the bathroom counter? I was totally unaware of any of it.
Fast-forward to 3:30pm. Ready to start the “madness” of after school life.
So off the bus she hops. As I look at her the fog slowly is lifting and I see a chunk of hair sticking straight up. Hmmmm, this is different I think. “Hey, Ella why is your hair sticking straight up”? Completely innocent and nonchalant she replies “what do you mean?” Now Ella is very expressive so as she says that she touches her hair in shock that her hair is sticking up. “Um, Ella did someone cut your hair?” “What, no, my hairs cut?” “Uh, yes, your hair is cut and sticking straight up, did you cut your hair?” “What, no, I didn’t Mom.”
Now the fog is almost completely cleared out at this point. We are still in our driveway and the conversation starts to get heated. As I continue to question she continues to get more and more irate. “Ella Danielle, did you cut your hair?” I demand. “NO I SWEAR (which we aren’t allowed to say) I DIDN’T, I PROMISE 100 PERCENT.” (Here is where the “innocent mommy” kicks in and in a split second I see my adorable little innocent baby standing before me, she can’t possibly be lying to me. She is too young, too sweet.) As I begin to think of what could have happened I have a story forming in my head of some mean boy at school who took a pair of scissors to her head and cut it, and now she is defending him so he doesn’t get in trouble. ERRRRR….put the brakes on! The fog is TOTALLY clear at this point. I snap out of “innocent mommy” to “OH NO SHE DIDN’T” mommy.
Now in the middle of the driveway with my out of control daughter the flashbacks start happening. Clue #1 hair on the bathroom floor, Clue# 2 the hair on her head sticking straight up. Clue#3 Her comment earlier that morning about “how am I gonna get this piece of hair to stay down.”
Oh man, we got a liar on our hands. Ugh, where is the parent handbook. Shoot no time for that. Here it goes…
“Ella you had to have cut your hair.”
“NO MOMMY I DIDN’T, I PULLED IT OUT!” Whoa, that came out of left field. Then she proceeds (dramatically) to show me how she “pulled it out.” “See like this!”
I yell “DON’T DO THAT.”
Finally just to get some time to pull my thoughts together I send her to her room. Not before telling her not to yell at me again. She flies in the house yelling and stomping and repeating over and over again, “I didn’t cut my hair, nobody believes me, I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, why won’t she believe me.”
There I am still in the driveway trying to figure out what just unfolded in the last 10 mins. Now I am on a mission. I walk up to the bathroom. Hmmm, Clue #4 sitting on the bathroom counter. Purple scissors with hair on them. Interesting…..
I go into her bedroom. “Ella do you want to tell me what happened?” “And before you do I am just letting you know I know what you did because I have the hair and scissors.” “Now did you cut your hair?” *Sniffling* she says…”NO MOMMY, I PROMISE.”
Now at this point you probably could have pushed me over with a leaf. Is this child for real, I mean for real? I have all the evidence and not to mention when you “pull” your hair out it wouldn’t stick straight up like that. Oh man, we are in for the long haul tonight.
Still in complete shock and then anger I slam her door and tell her when she is ready to tell me the truth then I will talk to her.
Now looking back I can totally see some of her SPD in this. That girl has a wild imagination. And I believe she had herself convinced all day what happened. At that point I really believe she believed she “pulled” her hair out. But hindsight is 20/20 and I am new at this.
So what unfolded the rest of the evening was about 2 hours of me going in her room asking for the truth and being told once again she pulled it out. It was exhausting, I even had to take a break and call in some reinforcement via phone just to make sure I wasn’t crazy.
Finally after some sound advice from my sister and best friend. I proceed to end this once and for all.
Here we go….”Ella you need to tell me the truth, I know what happened, but you need to tell Mommy what happened. What you are doing is lying and that is a sin. We know what the Bible says about sin. I know you didn’t pull out your hair.” “Now, Ella, did you cut your hair?” “No” she replies. (oh Lord help me I pray in my head). “Ok, so you are going to continue to tell me you “pulled” out your hair.”
“Yes” (she is completely sobbing at this point, breaking my heart with ever sniffle, but I held strong.)
“Ok, well Mommy doesn’t believe you, can you tell me why you would pull out your hair?”
“Well, Daddy yells at me.” “Ok so because Daddy yelled at you, you pulled out your hair? “Yes”. “When did Daddy yell at you?” “When you go to Mary Kay work, Daddy yells”. “What does Daddy yell about?” “If we don’t clean up and our room and it’s messy he yells” (to myself I am processing all this information, stay calm I say, stay calm, she is still trying to convince you and sway you from the truth, very creatively I must say). So I continue to repeat what she says and keep asking questions. Finally after some far fetched story that doesn’t add up. I say, “Ella I know that is not true and I know you cut your hair.” “Unfortunately because you chose to lie to Mommy and yell at Mommy you will not be able to go to your activity tonight.” “You will also have another punishment because lying is serious.” I then read her a couple scripture verses. She is sad and crying and this is the point where I had to let her convictions set in. Finally after a lot of yelling, screaming, crying, back and forth story telling. I gave her one more chance. “Ella did you cut your hair?”
Now I would like to jump for victory, but I couldn’t it wasn’t about winning. The whole ordeal broke my heart, from the yelling to the persistent lying. I was sad for me, I was sad for her.
As comical as it is looking back, it is so frustrating to know all that took place. Again, I know that some of it is her disorder and some of it is just normal sinful nature. I know I did some things right and some things wrong. But the victory was knowing that the Lord was glorified as I walked my daughter through the steps of repentance and forgiveness. Yes, it would have been a whole lot easier to say “Oh she didn’t know, she didn’t understand, it was her disorder, it was this it was that”. But that would not have helped Ella in the long run. I know all that will pay off as she continues to grow. And she will see that there is no such thing as “almost true”. There is no gray area when it comes to honesty and integrity. I am sure we will have this battle over and over again, but each time will be easier and more effective for her to continue to mature and grow in the biblical principles we are trying to instill in our children.
I hope this was helpful to someone out there. Perhaps we all can learn a lesson from the “Almost True”.