The Perfect Child – A Fairytale

I need you to know that when I hear you utter words “my child would never”, I feel a jolt of terror shoot down my spine. First of all, I admire your confidence. Kudos. That’s pretty impressive. I do not have that. Instead, my poor kids are bearing the brunt of my (slightly) wayward youth. ┬áLets just say that OVERALL┬áI was a ┬ápretty good kid – ┬áBUT my mom thought I was at Chrissy’s studying…and I was not. ┬áNot at Chrissy’s. Definitely not studying.

With three kids, I spend a lot of time making small talk with people I don’t know very well. At games, meets and various kid events. In the past few weeks, I’ve heard:

“I’m just happy to know that Rachel would never be mean to anyone. I would hate to be the mom of a ‘mean girl’!!”

“Chandler would never cheat or lie. He loves rules too much.”

“Oh…I know exactly how it happened. Monica told me. And it wasn’t her fault AT ALL! She had nothing to do with it. It was the other girls…”

*All names have been changed…of course.

When this first started to happen, I would laugh. And slyly look for the hidden camera. And then step away in case of lightning. I thought they were joking. Because if I said something like that, I would most definitely be joking. (Just an FYI – laughing at someone after they’ve regaled you with tales of their child’s upcoming candidacy for sainthood…? You laugh alone – and it ends with an awkward silence.)

The thing is, there seems┬áto be a universal law in play here and I can’t be the only one who’s noticed it. Saying “my kid would never” appears┬áto be the parental equivalent of the kiss of death. I don’t know why. I don’t make the rules. But I do pay attention and, much like wearing white on a first date, it guarantees that things will go wrong. That mom who knows her daughter, Rachel, would never be mean? I have it on good authority that she is, in fact, a ‘mean girl’. Of course she is. ┬áChandler, The Teller of Truths? I can’t say that I know firsthand, but there was a big study that came out recently showed that the VAST majority of┬ákids lie. The upside? Those lie have better memories (well…that makes sense…they have to keep all the lies straight) and are better thinkers. They’re just thinking up, well…lies. ­čśë So….while I know catching your kid lying is a huge buzz kill right now, apparently we’re all going to end up with a bunch of creative geniuses who never forget our birthdays…woo hoo!

Listen, I know their kids are awesome and I think that’s what they’re trying to say. I know this because kids ARE awesome. They just are. They’re full of their own wonkiness and candor and potential and they just want what every other person on the planet wants…to be seen and known and loved as they are. Which makes it particularly difficult to listen to their parents talk about how perfect they are. That’s a whole lot of pressure for a kid. I mean…what if they just turned out to be great kids who mess up sometimes….that would be okay too, right? I hope that’s ok. I’m pretty sure that’s the crew we’re sporting over here…

Anyway, my kid came home from school the other day. She told me that Chandler is running a gambling ring out of the janitors closet. He sells answer keys on the side. Rachel is the muscle behind the operation…that child is fierce. And Monica? The mastermind behind the whole thing. Of course, my kid isn’t involved AT ALL…she was too busy studying…

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