Thursday 24 July 2008

Ten bad lies in twenty seconds

We all lie, right? I know I do. I'm brilliant at it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm something of an expert in the field, and wouldn't have got where I am today if I hadn't, on occasion, told the most enormous whoppers. Or would I? Perhaps I'm intrinsically honest. But maybe not. Am I lying now? Who knows. Do you? No, you can't tell, because I'm so damn good at it. Or am I? Etc, etc...
So: lying. An important life skill. It's a bit disappointing, then, that Amelie is so terrible at it.
Let me illustrate...
We are sitting in the car, waiting for Nini to come out. She only went back into the house to check the back door was locked and the windows shut, but has been gone for a suspiciously long time. I am starting to wonder if she has completely forgotten we are out here, and is idly wandering around the house doing whatever she does in there when alone: I picture her singing along to the ever-appalling Dixie Chicks while trying on hats in front of the wardrobe mirror.
I glance back into the car to where Amelie is strapped in her car seat. "What's that on your legs?" I ask.
"Nothing" she says, in the most unconvincing manner possible.
"It is not nothing. It's ink, isn't it?"
"What is it, then?
"I don't know."
"You do know. It is ink. Where did it come from?"
"I don't know."
"Amelie, you are holding a pen. Right there, in your hand."
"I just found it."
"You did not. You brought it into the car with you. To draw on your notebook. Which is in your other hand. Have you been drawing on your legs?"
"Amelie, you have. Look, it's all over your legs!"
"Neve did it."
I look at Neve, who is fast asleep in her own car seat.
"No, she didn't. You did.
"I didn't."
"YOU DID. Stop telling lies."
"It was an accident."
I look at her legs again. Amongst the repeated horizontal scribbles, which have been tastefully coloured in so that her leg wouldn't look out of place on a young zebra, is the name 'Amelie' written in her trademark looping scrawl, with the letter 'e' written so it looks like the number '9' in both cases.
"You accidentally wrote your name on your leg, did you?"
"Amelie, I want you think very carefully about this, because Daddy is getting cross. Tell the truth. Why have your drawn all over your legs?"
She looks out of the window and sighs loudly, as if my repeated interrogation is really rather trying and unnecessary, and the sooner I just turn around and shut up, the better it will be for everybody. It occurs to me that its is entirely possible that she is lying so badly not out of ineptness, but because she simply cannot be bothered to try and do better - almost as if I am not worthy of her best work. This is an uncomfortable thought and I quickly decide to dismiss it.
"Amelie, why have you drawn on your legs?" I thunder.
She turns to look at me properly. "Because you won't put any music on and I was bored" she says.
This is awkward. It seems genuine, and only a few minutes previously I did point-blank refuse to play 'Scouting for Girls' for the 753rd time since we bought it. I should probably acknowledge that Amelie has finally told the truth, but am in fact quietly enraged, because she has somehow made me complicit in her covering her legs in scrawled Biro. I turn back and grip the steering wheel tightly.
Time passes. Nini fails to appear. Amelie hums tunelessly, and very slowly and conspicuously starts to draw on her notepad.
"That's good", I say. "You should draw on your notepad."
"I am drawing a picture for Mummy" she announces. She does not actually add the unspoken "...but NOT for you", but instead leaves me to draw that implication for myself. I tragically decide to meet this head on.
"Will you draw one for me? " I ask.
"No" she says, emphatically. "Just for Mummy."
"OK" I say.
"And for Neve" she adds, tearing off a scribbled page and laying it carefully in her sleeping sisters lap.
"That's fine" I say, through gritted teeth.
There is a lengthy pause. The stack of torn pages in Neve's lap grows higher. Nini remains conspicuous by her absence - she is presumably eating chocolate in the bath at this point.
"Daddy, can we have the music on now?" asks Amelie.
"No. The CD player is broken" I lie, hoping I'm a damn sight more convincing that she is.


Misterimpatient said...

You best not be dis'in my Dixie Chicks!

Anonymous said...

Amelie probably just couldn't believe that you were sooooooooooo dumb that you had to actually ASK her what she'd done- and how she'd done it!

Anonymous said...

...and I expect to find out exactly what had happened to Nini, in next week's installment!!!

Talk about a cliffhanger!