Monday, January 21, 2008

Ainsleigh: truth v. fiction

It's 8 degrees outside. EIGHT. Last night Joel asked, "Why do we live in such a cold place?" I didn't have a good answer for him.

Last year, in preschool, there were 8 kids in Ainsleigh's class. Three of them were boys. One little boy was named Ben. Ben, and all the boys really, loved to make Ainsleigh giggle. She's one of THOSE girls. It was kind of sad when she graduated from preschool and only one of those kids was going to be in her school. And he was attending afternoon kindergarten. Imagine my surprise when, after returning from Winter Break, Ainsleigh told me that Ben was in her class.

Me: Did he move here just now?
A: Yep!
Me: Huh. Interesting. Who did you play with at recess?
A: Ben! He's funny.
Me: That's nice that you're making him feel welcome.

The next day I looked for Ben's mom after school but didn't see her. Plus, it was freezing, so I didn't look that hard. That day I asked what Ainsleigh did, and who she played with. Again she said Ben. I commented that I hadn't seen him or his mom in the line-up that morning and Ainsleigh said he was late. That happens.

The next day. I mention that I didn't see Ben's mom after school. "Oh, he had to leave early because he wasn't feeling good." Oh, bummer. Throughout the week I made a comment every now and then that she would correct.

Me: I didn't see Ben and his family at church.
A: He said they don't go to church.
Me (woops, on assuming they went to our church): Oh, well that's fine. Not everyone goes to church.

Me (talking to someone else): Ainsleigh has 21 kids in her class.
A: Now it's 22. Because of Ben.
Me: Oh, right. 22.

Honestly, at this point I was getting a little suspicious. I remember reading a story in high school about a kid who always came home and talked about a kid named Charlie who was always getting into trouble or making poor choices or acting out and then the mom finally went to talk to the teacher and, turns out, there was no Charlie in their class. It was HER kid being awful. Now, Ainsleigh wasn't reporting any "wrong" behavior by "Ben," but I just thought things were weird.

Fast forward to last week, the night before I was going to be volunteering in her class. We were all eating dinner together.

Me: I'll be in your class tomorrow.
A: Yay!
Me: And now I can say hello to Ben.
A: Ohhhh...well you probably won't see him because he's always late.
Me (thinking, Ok, the jig, she is up. WHAT is going on?!) (smiling, I say): Oh that's fine, because I'm not coming in until the last half of class anyway. And I'm staying until you all go home and I can walk out with you.
A: Wellll...he'll probably be in the bathroom.
Me (eyes huge): The WHOLE time?
A: Yeah. He likes to stay there.
Me (just playing now): What happens when other kids want to use the bathroom?
A: They don't. Just Ben does.

At this point, I stopped the whole thing. Joel was dying from not laughing out loud. Donovan is shouting from the bathroom that he needed help because he ALWAYS goes to the bathroom in the middle of whatever meal he's eating. I'm getting a little miffed about how she has kept this story up for so long. And incorporated it into her life on several occasions. I explained that making up stories for fun is a great, but when it comes to telling me what goes on at school, she needs to tell the truth.

I have these visions of her making up all sorts of things to tell the kids at school or her teacher, and I shudder to think what she might have said. I'm trying to laugh at all of this, but isn't this WEIRD?!

So anyway, we had a nice little family lesson about truth-telling and when it is ok to make up stories. I just worry that if she is able to make stuff up so convincingly now, how much trouble are we going to be in when she becomes a teenager? Yowzah.

I think it's more like 7 degrees now. I look forward to our projected high of 30 tomorrow.