I pulled the mother of all holiday parenting gaffs the other day. I might have mentioned before that I scored an opportunity to take a whole day recently to do some Christmas shopping. I had several shopping bags when I got home, and Evan was already home from school.
Darn. Can't bring the bags in now. "I'll do it later, after the kids have gone to bed," I thought to myself. Well, you know me, if it's not written on my handy-dandy, ever-present, so-very-necessary "To Do List" then it simply doesn't happen.
Fast forward to the next day. No big deal, I'll just bring the bags into the house after Evan and Jenna have left for school and Owen is upstairs getting dressed or something. I'll kick into stealth mode and he'll never know, as long as I can keep those pesky shopping bags from crinkling and rustling around.
Again. Not on the list. Not going to happen. It's really a wonder I remember to brush my teeth or use the toilet. Those things. Not on the list and yet they still manage to happen.
So, Owen and I are about to head out and run some errands. I decide to go to the bathroom before we leave and I tell him to, "head on out to the van and I'll be out in a minute."
Don't go there yet. I hadn't gone there, so you can't jump ahead. It's like in the horror film when you know someone/thing is hiding under the bed, but you can't jump, because the girl has yet to drop her leg down to get out of bed!
I come walking out of the bathroom and Owen comes running into the house like it's Christmas morning, big smile on his face, upturned eyebrows. "Mommy! You bought the things I asked for!"
F. R. O. Z. E. N!
I was FROZEN in my tracks. You know those television sequences they show where the person says
"No-oo-oo-oo!" in slow motion as they kind of lunge forward and their voice is all morphed and almost scary sounding?
That was me, only with no voice morphing mechanism.
Owen's sweet little happy face quickly turned horror-stricken. "What did I do Mommy?" his poor little, hopeful 5-year-old self wanted to know.
And then. Just as quickly as it all happened, I moved into damage control mode.
Reassuringly, I calmly explained, "Owen, you didn't do anything wrong. I'm sorry if I scared you. You really didn't do anything wrong."
I continue quickly with a lie that would impress the best of all con-artists. "Those things you saw in the van, those aren't ours, they aren't for us. I'm just keeping them for someone else. I'll be dropping them off at a friend's house later today while you're at school."
What is it they say about lying? The more details you add, the less believable it is? So I stop there. Realizing I'm talking to a 5 year old.
Then, he asks, as innocently as you can imagine, "Can I play with them for now until you drop them off?" Thankfully, we need to be leaving so I tell him no and move the bags out of the van.
F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! A little too late for that little chore, but done, nonetheless.
Owen climbed up into his seat, buckles up and says, "Can you buy me some of those things?"
Thankfully, Owen has never mentioned these turn of events since it happened. It's been one week now and my guess is that if he were going to remember it and talk about it, he would have by now. I just may have pulled off one of the all-time greatest lies to one of my very own flesh and blood.
Almost frightening what I am capable of!