Recently my son’s been talking about some kid that he plays with on the playground at school named “Pepe”. I’d never heard this name EVER mentioned before, so I thought I’d pull out the school directory, and see just who this little “Pepe” boy was. Turns out, though, that there isn’t a single freaking soul in the entire first grade with the name of Pepe. Upon further investigation, I found out that my son took it upon himself to change the name of his friend (who, by the way, has absolutely no Spanish ties WHATSOEVER) to Pepe. Seriously? WTF, dude? Unfortunately, it seems that this is just something that kids do — they make shit up.
Take, for instance, the imaginary friend. Many of us had one when we were growing up, right? (Come on, don’t make me feel like I’M the freak show here, people!) Maybe it was a product of me being an only child and wanting a sibling, but yes, I, too, had an imaginary friend as a kid. Her name was Sally, and she lived in the coat closet in the foyer. Everyone in my family was required to engage with Sally, and she went everywhere that we would go. If we went out to eat, Sally would dine with us. If we went to the grocery store, Sally would ride in the cart with me. People often looked at my mom like she was a damn nutcase when she’d fuss at Sally (aka: the air) for trying to steal things off the shelves. And God love my mom for playing along with the whole gig, too.
Things all came to a head though one day when my mom came to pick “Sally” and me up at the babysitter’s house. The babysitter frantically raced to the door with a look of anguished frustration on her face. She nervously admitted to my mom that she’d been searching high and low for my lost doll — under beds, in closets, inside drawers, all to no avail. As she proceeded to explain how absolutely terrible she felt about the situation, I stood there in the wings with a shit-eating half-grin on my little punk-ass face. My mom put two and two together and asked if the doll’s name happened to be Sally, to which the babysitter said yes. Trying desperately hard not to bust out laughing, my mom told this very frazzled, very unsuspecting woman that she could search all day and all night and never ever find her because SALLY WAS INVISIBLE!!! You can probably imagine just how relieved (and probably just how pissed) the babysitter felt after learning the real deal.
But, you see, pretending is just a part of being a kid. And as a parent, I’ve learned that it’s best just to question every damn thing my kids tell me. Who knows when they’re telling the truth and when they’re telling a fib. Unfortunately, their noses just aren’t equipped like Pinocchio’s. Therefore, I’m actually thinking about having a lie detector station installed in my house as a precaution for the teenage years. It never hurts to be one step ahead of the game, ya know.