Little Green Lies

By Nora Heston Tarte

I’m going to preface this story by saying I’m lucky; since birth my three-and-a-half-year-old has been a (mostly) healthy eater.

Some nights he refuses to eat anything but hot dogs and French fries, but for the most part getting him to eat green vegetables and fresh fruit isn’t a battle.

However, his generally good eating habits make those days he refuses anything resembling real food more difficult. Like most mothers, I feel an intense need to get at least some nutritious calories into his body before he eats ice cream for dessert. Sometimes those desperate moments lead us to do things we aren’t proud of. For me, it led me to lie.

Little fibs are part of parenthood and I thought this one was no harm, no foul. With a hunk of avocado on his plate that he poked at and exclaimed he did not like before even attempting a taste (this has to be the most annoying toddler habit, right?), he insisted he was done with dinner. So I got creative.

That’s not avocado, that’s Hulk poop, I told him. I mean really, how else do you appeal to a three-and-a-half-year-old boy? And to my surprise, he bought my little white lie, complete with the fact that he would grow super strong like the hulk when he ate it. Without hesitation he got wide-eyed and shoved the entire hunk into his mouth and swallowed. No grotesque noises, no protesting. I thought I had won this battle.

Then, without skipping a beat, he hopped down from his place at the dinner table and ran full speed ahead into the wall, fist out, his entire body colliding with the wall, as a green streak appeared against the textured cream paint (which was not easy to clean by the way.) “Ow! Ow! Ow!” he yelled as he jumped up and down holding his fist. “Why didn’t I punch through the wall? I ate the Hulk poop!”

It was a valid question, and one I hadn’t yet considered an answer to. I mean, I really didn’t anticipate him trying to break through solid wood and plaster.

“Oh, well, you have to eat it everyday for a really long time before you get as strong as Hulk.”

“Oh.” He sounded a little dejected but he also seemed okay. Although, he must have decided it wasn’t worth the commitment because he hasn’t eaten avocado since. And I learned a valuable lesson…

Not all little white lies are harmless.

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