Yesterday, as my girls and I were making our way to the car after jazzercise, Rae announced, loudly and purposefully within earshot of my friends’ children, that we were going to McDonald’s.

Since we made no such plans, I reacted.

“No, we aren’t!”

“Mommy! Don’t say that!” She barked at me.

And then her face crumbled.

For 30 minutes after the incident, I tried to demystify my five-year-old’s actions (by talking her ear off). Her decision to suddenly make something up for no reason, had shocked me to my very core. Why did she lie? Was it to make her little friends jealous? Isn’t that kind of…bad? Cruel? Evil?!

Is my five-year-old evil?!

When we picked Lokes up from the office, I ‘reported’ the incident to him. He was as shocked as I was – and a little scared as well.

“Did you talk to her?” he whispered worriedly in Cantonese (the girls were napping in the car but we didn’t want to take chances).

“Of course. I asked her why she did what she did,” I whispered back.

“What did she say?”

“She didn’t know what to say so I asked her if she was saying we were going to McDonald’s to make her friends jealous. She didn’t know what jealous was, so I gave her an example, that if I said I was going to McDonald’s, and I told her that she couldn’t go, I asked her how she would feel.”

“What did she say?”

“Sadlor.”

“And then? Did you tell her not to do it again?”

“Of course I did. I told her if she doesn’t want to be made to feel like that, that she cannot do it to her friends. I even asked her how she would feel, if someone did it to you and me. People she cared about. But don’t expect it to be fixed overnight.”

Lokes sighed. We sat in silence for a while.

“Do you think all kids are like that?” I asked. Hopefully.

“I don’t know…”

“Seems so…cruel. Like she’s evil.”

“Maybe they are.”

“Yea, kids can be cruel, right?”

“Right.”

 

Imperfect parenting rule #22: When there are no answers, assume the worst.