Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies
Last Wednesday evening, Husband and Gabriel fell into a pair of tickets to our local Triple A baseball team. (A team made famous the world over by a certain cross-dressing corporal on a wildly popular military-themed sitcom from the '70s and '80s.)
Husband and Gabe were going to catch some hot dogs at the ball game, so, when I picked Lana up from school, I told her she could pick where she wanted to go for dinner, and I was a bit surprised when she said, "Let's go eat pancakes, mommy."
So we went to a pancake house and we each ordered some pancakes and scrambled eggs, and we played tic tac toe while we waited for our food, and talked about Lana's day at school.
When her eggs arrived she attacked them like she hadn't seen food in weeks. (This is her usual reaction to scrambled eggs. It's pretty much been her reaction to scrambled eggs since the first time we ordered them for her at a tiny little restaurant in Hanoi fifteen months ago.)
When she finished her eggs, she asked me to cut up her pancakes.
As I was cutting the pancakes into neat squares, she said,
"Mommy, I don't like bad men."
I was startled.
"What bad men do you know, baby?"
"In Vietnam," she answered.
I think my heart skipped a beat or something. Some deep and ugly fearsome thing shoved it's arm down my throat.
"What did the bad men do?" I asked her, my hand shaking a tiny bit as I placed the plate of perfect bites of buttered pancakes in front of her.
Lana picked up the strawberry syrup and carefully poured a puddle of it onto the plate her egg had been on. (She likes to dip her pancakes into syrup as opposed to pouring syrup on them.)
Lana speared a bite and dragged it slowly through her syrup puddle and said, nonchalantly,
"They hit me. The bad men. In Vietnam. They hit me. Hard."
I am choking on my pancake and the pecan syrup I love so much suddenly tastes like battery acid.
"Did they have a name? Did they live at your house?"
I try very hard not to sound alarmed or concerned. I probably failed.
"No." Lana studies the five kinds of syrup on the table and the waitress pours more coffee into my cup.
"You want more yellow sugar in your coffee, mommy?" (Lana likes to pour in the packet of Splenda into my coffee when we are eating out and I am drinking coffee. She especially likes to do this when we are alone because she doesn't have to fight with her brother over who gets to put the sugar in mommy's coffee.)
Lana opens the packet of fake sugar and pours it into my coffee cup. "Jessica going to wear a pretty dress to school tomorrow, mommy. Maybe I wear a pretty dress too?" she asks me.
I know then we are done talking about the "bad men". And I am conflicted - is she lying about them?
This girl CAN confabulate with the best of them. I am not kidding. She can look me in the eye and tell a lie the likes of which would bring a flush of blushing red shame to my cheeks, and she can tell it without batting an eye.
What am I to do, with this conversation, exactly?