Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Lie
A few months ago we had a big wind storm. It blew things over and in general, made a big mess. But not as big of a mess as my 9 year old.
You see, during said wind storm, he scared Baby Girl by telling her all about tornadoes. I would like to think that he was just sharing information, but I know better. I walked in on this lovely conversation just in time to hear him say (in his most dramatic voice and with that twinkle of mischievousness in his eyes), "First, the wind spins faster and faster and then it tears down your house, picks you up and blows you away!"
GAH! I wanted to wring his neck at that very moment! But I refrained and explained to Baby Girl that there wasn't going to be a tornado and that she was safe. And then I lied to her... it wasn't a true lie, well, sort of. I told her that we don't get tornadoes in California. Which is MOSTLY true (kind of like being "mostly dead" - movie trivia, anyone?). California is not part of tornado alley. They are a rare sight, but, um, actually? They do happen. There was one this spring less than 100 miles from us. It only touched down for just a few seconds and didn't cause a lot of damage, but still - there was a tornado. Which means that TECHNICALLY, I lied.
But, she just can't this fear go. Since Red filled her in on the tornado phenomenon she has gone into a panic over the slightest breeze. Almost every day she asks about tornadoes. Last week we were out shopping and there was a storm on the horizon. She freaked out and wanted to go home immediately in case there was a tornado coming with the storm. Last night she had nightmares. She got up this morning and said, "I had bad dreams about tornadoes last night. The wind took away our house and I was holding onto Red's ladder (on the bunk bed) and the wind was making me stand on my head to pull me away." It just makes me so sad to see her so frazzled about this. The lie does seem to help, and so I let it stand... but I wonder if I should.
What would you do? Do you think I should tell her the truth? Should I explain that tornadoes can happen almost anywhere, but they usually don't happen here? Or should I just leave it till she's a little older and can understand a little better? Do you ever lie to your kids to help them calm down?


Kristina P. said...

Honestly, I think that this is a harmless white lie. I can't remember the last time I heard of a major tornado in California.

Jill said...

I agree with Kristina.

We had a similar problem with our daughter a while ago. She watched a show on TV about aliens abducting people, and then she didn't want to sleep in her room, because she was sure that the aliens could come and get her.
We assured her that our security alarm would alert us before any aliens could take her.
However, the mischeivious (and probably a bit sadistic) side of me made me think of the big alien head from my son's old Halloween costume, just sitting there in the closet, not doing anything.........

No, I didn't use it to scare her. I'm not THAT mean.

Holly said...

"Mostly Dead"...Miracle Max says it to Inigo and Fezzik in Princess Bride. "...your friend is mostly dead..."

We get some terrific windstorms in Idaho and J remembered one from last year. He was convinced that it had happened in September last year and was going to happen again. He gets scared that our house is going to blow away. I have no problem with "white lies" when it soothes my kids. Sure, the tree outside could blow over, but I'm not going to let him think it will.

Tracey said...

LIE. I have those nightmares and they suck. Poor baby! Hope she gets past it sooner than I did, which is, well... Never. :(

They always have SOMEething to be afraid of, though.

Adena and Greg said...

I would definitely lie. At least wait until she is a little older and able to think rationally.

Jean Knee said...

I think it's absolutely okay to tell white lies like that

flip flop mama said...

Seriously that's not a lie...We don't get tornadoes. I've lived here the majority of my life and last year was the ONLY tornado I have ever heard of. I would comfort her as much as you need to. She has nothing to worry about. Especially since you live in such a windy place. She needs to know she's safe.

"where did my head go?" wynne said...

Wait until she's older! There are some things that are true that kids just don't need to know about. Poor kiddo.

Interestingly enough, Jake is big into tornadoes, too, but he rather likes them. "Look, mom! A tomato blew down my cars!" (Tornado has too many syllables, I guess.) Maybe if she were a boy, she'd like 'em too?

Kimberly said...

She's too young to watch The Wizard of Oz but maybe you could tell her a milder version of it? In that story the tornadoe caught Dorothy up and whisked her away to a magical land?

Um. No. That would probably make it worse, actually. I'm no help, I'm afraid.

Rachelle said...

Whatever you do, don't show her the Wizard of Oz!

Seriously, I've live in CA a heck of a lot of years (I won't tell you how many, cause then I'd be telling my age.) But I've never seen a tornado or heard of a tornado anywhere around here. You need to tell her that tornados are a real non-issue. You can tell her that what she really needs to worry about is an earthquake and all of SoCal breaking off and sliding into the ocean. I'm scared of that! But tornados - no way.

My boys are actually disappointed that we don't get tornados here, as they think they are cool. But that is boys for you.

Amber said...

I'd wait but you can be honest. That they don't happen there and she doesn't have anything to worry about! I went through the same thing with Hadley and Hurricanes.

Oh wait. Except her nickname is Hurricane Hadley. So, I guess they do occur in Colorado. :-)

Bonnie the Boss said...

I was thinking Princess Bride on the movie trivia.
I think it is okay. Sometimes it is just so hard to explain in detail. Good luck.
Love the new blog look Btw and the wittch jars.

Nancy Face said...

I love the "mostly dead"...I'm always trying to find sentences to use it in! ;)

I would wait until she's older to tell the WHOLE truth! Poor Baby Girl, to be so traumatized by her big brother! (Why are big brothers so skilled at such things?!)

diana said...

for this one, i'd probably just leave it. like others have said, what are the real chances you'd get a tornado there in california.

but i do think you have to be careful. if your child realizes at some point that you lied, they're less likely to believe you in another situation.

Tonya said...

I think I would just leave it alone right now and you explain more when she gets older. All she really needs to know is that no matter what happens, you and dad will be there to take care of her.

Great new look on the blog. Love it!