Friday, May 23, 2008

Fact or Fiction?

Yesterday when I picked Hannah up from school her teacher was busy making a birthday crown. For Hannah. Whose birthday is in October. This is not the first time she’s told people a bit of a tall tale: So far this school year, Hannah has had at least three birthdays; I have given birth four times—once to twin boys; we went to Hollywood so Hannah could audition for a movie; and she used to have a brother, but he died when he was twelve. And these are just the doozies.

As you may have guessed, Hannah has a tough time differentiating between fact and fiction. That or she’s already figured out that fiction is often way more entertaining. Assuming that her flights of fancy don’t hurt anyone or result in a visit from CPS, I don’t want to crush that spirit. So now whenever I’m not entirely sure about a story (or even sometimes if I’m absolutely certain that it’s not true), I’ll just ask if it’s the truth or her imagination. This worked for a while but now she has started adding “For real Mom!” to the end of pretty much everything.

So as we walked home, pink birthday crown set jauntily on her head, I decided that it was time that Hannah heard the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I even gave her both endings, first “and the wolf ate him” followed by the more benign, Disneyfied version that has Peter running all the way home, the wolf snapping at his heels. “And he never lied again.”

I let it sink in for a minute before asking if she knew what the moral of the story was.

“Well . . . I think probably that he should never go up that mountain again.”

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