INNOCENT WHITE LIES

When is a lie acceptable? Are there degrees of lying? It is less of a lie if it’s a “white lie”? Or is lying just plain old lying?

What about telling your children that Santa exists? Or the Easter Bunny? Or the Tooth Fairy?

And if you choose to do so, when do you tell them the truth? That you have indeed, lied to them.

My parents didn’t give me fairy tales or half-truths. We were poor. If I got a present, they made damn sure I knew that they had scraped and saved every dollar to get me that ONE present. That one item would be a necessity – no frivolous toy, no gift wrapping, no card. There was no illusion of some old jovial fat dude climbing down a chimney in the middle of the night to place a beautifully wrapped gift under a Christmas tree. No Easter Bunny was pooping chocolate eggs on our lawns. And the Tooth Fairy? I was lucky to see the dentist.

Maybe that’s why I overcompensate as a parent. I want to give them the magic and fun that I didn’t get as a child. I want them to look back fondly at their childhood memories.

I’ll admit that a small part of me wants to conform to society norms. I don’t want my child to blurt out, “It’s a lie! Your parents are lying to you! There’s no such thing as Santa.”

I can ponder away the day trying to find reason and rhyme for my parenting choices. Inevitably, I will have to come clean about my lies.


We placed the baby tooth into a plastic bag and put it under Mandy’s pillow.

“So the Tooth Fairy will come, take my tooth and give me a coin?” Mandy queried.

I couldn’t look her in the eyes. “Yes, so I’m told.”

“What does she look like? How does she get my tooth if I’m lying on the pillow? How much money will I get? What happens with the teeth?”

Oh boy.

My brain scrambled for answers. I hadn’t recalled seeing a “How to lie effectively to your child” section in the parenting manual I received from the maternal health nurse.

“Uh, no-one has seen the Tooth Fairy, so we don’t know the mechanics or logistics,” I replied. “Also, you get ONE gold coin per tooth. That’s all I know.”

Mandy contemplated my answers for a moment.

“Mummy, do you give me presents as well as Santa or are you pretending to be Santa?”

I paused. She was at an age where her friends were probably discussing the rumours. This was the perfect opportunity to come clean, but then she’d likely to ruin it for her little brother.

“No, Mummy and Daddy give you presents as well as Santa,” I reluctantly replied.

“What about the Easter Bunny? Are you putting the eggs in the lawn for us to find?”

I felt the weight of her accusing stare. I shifted uncomfortably. Mandy would become an excellent cross-examiner one day.

“Me?” I exclaimed in feigned shock, “I don’t have time for that!”

“Hmm.” Mandy responded. She was onto me. The jig was probably up.

“If you have any further questions, ask your dad. He’s the expert,” I deflected. “Hey, let’s read a book.”

I was the Master of Deflection and Timely Distractions.

“I think I’ll ask Ally tomorrow if she thinks the Tooth Fairy is real,” Mandy casually stated. “She knows everything.”

I shuddered at the thought of things to come.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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HALF-PRICED DISCOUNT STILL NOT ENOUGH

“Make time for yourself.”
“It’s not about having time. It’s about making time.”
“Have a break. Have a Kit Kat.”

Life is just damn hectic. It’s go-go go from the moment I wake up and doesn’t end until I’m passed out in bed. I’m like a lab rat running on a wheel, only I’m not having fun and I can’t get off. Every so often I need a time-out, sit on the bench, press the pause button on life and give myself some self-love.

Everyone has different ideas when it comes to self-love. Some people go away on retreats. Some people do treks to reconnect with nature (*shudder*). Some people simply need a night without the kids.

My choice of self-love comes in the form of discounts, coupons and bargains. So when a business card for fifty percent off hair colouring and cut was thrust into my palm, I decided I was well overdue for some me-time.


I leaned back on the comfy chair and closed my eyes. The warm water washed over my poorly maintained hair and the caressing hands of Salon Lady massaged my scalp. It felt divine.

“Mummy.”

I ignored the voice. The smell of sweetly scented shampoo wafted towards my nose as it was slathered on my hair.

“Mummy! I’m bored.”

I couldn’t remember the last time I got a head massage. It felt great. I almost fell asleep. Almost.

“Mum! Are you even listening to me?”

I opened my eyes and peered over to my six-year-old fickle pickle.

“Darling, I told you that I would be here for a few hours,” I told Mandy. “You insisted on coming with me.”

Mandy gave me The Look. A perfect combination of apathy and boredom expected from an adolescent.

“Why don’t you get some crayons and paper from the massive bag you made me carry and create something,” I said as I closed my eyes. I desperately tried to emulate feelings of being pampered and relaxed. You know, the ones you’re supposed to have while getting hair treatment at an expensive boutique salon.

Salon Lady left to get the heating towel.

“Mummy, you should see how much of your hair is in the sink!” Mandy exclaimed, peeking into the basin.

“What?” I asked. There wasn’t any point pretending to relax anymore.

“So so much hair. Mummy, that colour doesn’t suit you,” Mandy remarked as if she was a hair colouring expert.

“It’s my natural hair colour,” I replied dryly.

Salon Lady placed the towel on my conditioned hair and asked me to chill out. How on earth was I meant to ‘chill out’ with a Debbie Downer in my ear?

After what seemed like an age of listening to Mandy whine and getting a crook neck from being forgotten by Salon Lady, I shuffled over to the chair to have my hair cut. I saw Mandy spinning in circles on a salon stool.

“Mandy! Stop that!” I yelled out. “Jeez Louise.”

I continued chatting to Salon Lady about the real estate market. From the corner of my eye, I could see Mandy draped over two seats and doing horizontal leg presses.

“Mandy! Seriously!” I yelled again. At the rate I was jerking about, I’d become a trendsetter in sporting lopsided haircuts.

As Salon Lady prepared to blow dry my hair, Mandy jumped up and down in front of me.

“Mum, I need to go,” Mandy muttered. “Like now.”

The salon didn’t have a toilet.

Self-love total bill = 50% discount + 10% whining surcharge + 10% negative commentary tax + 100% quick exit fee

Not much of a win, right?

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THE SMELLY BUSINESS OF RAISING A BOY

Staring at the two young boys rubbing their crotch against my leather couch, I tried hard to mask the horror on my face. In my mind, I could see only two solutions to this problem: bleach the couch or get a new one.

“They do this all the time. Boys are obsessed with their penises!” laughed my friend, brushing off the strange behaviour as a common problem all mothers of boys experienced.

At the time, having a well-mannered and mild-tempered four-year-old daughter, I could not imagine any son of mine being different. Honestly, if someone had told me that raising boys would involve a ton of toilet humour and penile fascination, I would have scoffed at their ridiculous suggestion. But five years on, with a four-year-old son of my own, I am eating my words.

Now I scoff when anyone tells me that raising boys is no different from raising girls (e.g. my mum, who tells me that my inferior parenting skills are the reasons behind my son’s mischievous nature). Parenting a boy is like being a circus trainer, tasked with corralling a crazed monkey hyped on natural adrenaline. Imagine a cymbal clapping monkey with no off button and short-circuited.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Perhaps it’s just my son, and I’m giving circus monkeys a bad name. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. He is very loving and sweet, but man does he test my limits in ways my daughter never did.

When I complain about grey hairs as a result of raising a boy, I don’t think people truly believe me. So I think the best way is to give examples of how raising a boy has been different from raising a girl.

Example 1:
My four-year-old son and I are sprawled on the couch with a blanket on us. We chat about random topics. Out of nowhere, he pulls the blanket over our heads. Thinking it was a new game, I go along with it. He gives a suspicious giggle. A second later, I’m throwing off the blanket and gagging from the foul-smelling odour hitting my nostrils. Where my daughter finds bodily fumes disgusting, my son thinks it’s funny to Dutch oven his mother.

Point here: Little boys are fascinated with flatulence. They love doing farts, wielding these smelly fluff fluffs like weapons of mass destruction. If my son could use his putrid puffs as currency, he would be rich.

Example 2:
Every night I give the kids a goodnight cuddle and a kiss before they hop into bed. One night, my son asks me to crouch down to his level. Thinking that he wanted a big cuddle, I bend down. Instead of receiving a goodnight cuddle, my son turns his back to me, bends at the waist and proceeds to fart in my face. He laughs like a crazy hyena before scooting off to bed.

Point here: As a mother, I should always be on high alert for any signs pointing towards a fart attack. See previous point. 

Example 3:
We meet up with another boy my son’s age for a play date at the park. The minute we hit the playground, it’s like game on. My son turns everything into a pissing contest.

“Mummy, my water bottle is bigger than his!”
“Push me higher! I want to go higher than him!”
“I got here first, this is my steering wheel!”

Point here: Little boys are competitive. Whether it’s innate or not, expect roughhousing, aggression and most likely, tantrums.

Example 4:
Since my son has been out of nappies, he’s become obsessed with his penis. Sometimes he uses his peen as a hose. Sometimes it’s a toy to explore.

Oh, there’s a hole… I wonder if I can put something in it? Oh, what happens if I pull the skin really far out? Oh, I wonder what these two bumps are?

And now that he has better control of his bladder, he waits until shower time and uses my clean shower screen as his canvas for a pee drawing. A penis art brush.

Point here: Little boys love their penises, almost as much as potty humour. I bet this is a life-long love.

There are many examples I could write about but then this post would never end. And now, there is an eerie silence in the house, which is rarely a good thing when parenting a boy.

Let me sign off by saying there’s a certain charm to raising boys… and smell.

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