It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The Truth will Out

A wail from the living room.

“What’s wrong, Zach?” More wailing. Now, Zach is perfectly capable of talking, but if he can get copious snuggling by increasing shrieking, that’s what he’ll do. Why talk if it decreases your snuggle time? I kneel in front of him, he makes a lunge for my lap, his wails increasing exponentially.

“No snuggles, Zach. No snuggles until you use your words.” I hold his shoulders, keeping him a foot away from me. “Are you sad, or are you hurt?”

“Yeeeesss! I hurted!” Okay. Those are words. Loud words, but words. I draw him onto my lap.

“Where does it hurt, sweetie?”

He points into the next room where George and Arthur are playing with trucks. “Over dere! It hurted over dere!”

“No, Zach. Not where did you get hurt. Where does it hurt on Zach?”

“Over dere. Ar-ter hurted Zach!”

Ah. Arthur, however, begs to differ. He looks up from his tow truck. “I din’t hurted him!”

I opt to ignore this for the moment. I’m more invested in seeing if I can get Zach to understand the question. I tap him on his sniffling, but otherwise unharmed nose. “Does it hurt on your nose?” I’m aiming for a “no” answer, the first in a series of “no’s”, so as to narrow the field and teach him the meaning of the question.


Hmmm… Evidently, comprehension is not dawning. Any further questions will be pointless, except for my own amusement. Which is one of the perks of the job, after all.

“Does it hurt on your ear?”


“Your elbow? Your knee? Your chin? Your toe?”

“Yeah. Yes. Yes. Yeah.” Apparently, this boy’s entire body is one giant bo-bo. Zach is calm now, enjoying our back and forth, loving the little taps he’s getting on elbow, knee, chin, and toe. Arthur, meantime, secure in the observation that Zach’s accusation has passed unnoted, has drawn near. I continue to play the game.

“Does your eye hurt?” I touch his face gently above his left eye.


“Does your belly-button hurt?” I give it a poke through the bib of his brown courderoy overalls.

Zach giggles, wriggles in my arms. His acute sense of the ridiculous has completely overcome the pain of the long-forgotten bo-bo. His giggles bubble out.

“Yeah! My buddy-budn!”

Arthur, now standing and leaning against my shoulder, huffs indignantly. “He doesn’t gots a bo-bo on his belly-button,” he declares scornfully. “I hit him onna bum!”

January 9, 2006 - Posted by | aggression, daycare, random and odd


  1. Ha!

    You are so right! The truth WILL out!

    We are talking to Ben about telling the truth vs. telling a lie right now. He is very, very interested in the concept. So interested, that he has begun telling lies about stupid things. For no apparent reason other than he wants to see the outcome.

    Curious child!

    Comment by Andie D. | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  2. LMB is always falling over (she has wonky legs), and the ensuing wail will burst eardrums three blocks away! When I ask her where she hurts, she invariably tells me “over there”, even though she does understand the question just fine when calm:-)

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  3. AND he almost got away with it! Poor Arthur, you’ve got to learn not to give yourself away!! I like the over there answer to where do you hurt… I’ve never gotten that before…

    Comment by Angela | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  4. Ah, yes, the truth shall set ye free!

    Comment by misfit | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  5. Andie: I confess I’m never quite sure what to do when I know someone is lying to me, but I have no idea who. It’s a distressing position to be in, particularly when it’s your own children doing the lying. *sigh*

    Let’s hope Ben soon tires of the random, experimental lying, and never goes for the real thing!

    MrsA: Zach doesn’t understand the question, calm or agitated. He’ll get it eventually, I know, but in the meantime, I have to look for blood, blisters, or bruising to have any idea!

    Angela: Oh, no, he didn’t. I was just deferring that issue till I’d tried to get the language confusion sorted. He thought he had, though: too bad he gave himself away!

    Misfit: And you shall know the truth, and, if you have any sense at all, the truth should be kept to yourself…

    Comment by Mary P. | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  6. “Are you sad, or are you hurt?” sounds like a loaded question to me! I guess you have to be a kid to answer spontaneously.

    Comment by L. | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  7. Loaded? I’m not sure I understand. It would be loaded if one of the options was preferable. Is that what you meant?

    Zach knows me well enough to know I don’t ask loaded questions. Or maybe he doesn’t: he’s only two, and twos generally don’t “get” loaded questions. So he answered it at face value, which was how it was asked. I just needed to know! 🙂

    Comment by Mary P. | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  8. Zach sounds like Quinn – just wants some lovin’ and is easily distracted from pain or anger if he gets it. That cracks me up that Arthur gave himself away. Ah, pre-school logic.

    Comment by Kristen | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  9. Again, my son would get along fine with your charges!
    Every time he gets hurt and I ask “where did you get hurt” he shows me the cabinet, the table, the toy he stepped on…by the time we get to the actual injury, he’s fine!
    He also admits his own mistakes…accidentally! His favorite comment these days is “she started it!” (referring to his sister). When she denies it, I hear “oh yes, she did! She started it! I only hit her two times!”
    There is logic in there…somewhere

    Comment by LoryKC | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  10. Oh, that is great!!!

    Comment by jen-o-rama | January 10, 2006 | Reply

  11. Kristen: Zach is generally an easy read, for sure. Let him feel neglected, and the petulance comes out. Keep a steady flow of positive energy coming his way, and he blossoms. The only trouble arises when he wants more than is available…

    Lory: I am reminded of a charge a few years back who came to me in great indignation because another child had hit him. Upon investigation, it turned out that the other child had indeed hit him, so into my “we use our words, not our hands” speel, with 4-year-old Colin at my elbow, nodding away vigourously.

    “Yeah!” he says. “You don’t hit. Never. Not for any reason. Even if I hit you first, you don’t hit.”


    Jen: 🙂

    Comment by Mary P. | January 10, 2006 | Reply

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