Thursday, May 14, 2009

MG Speaks: Three Stories

The Mermaid Girl has been talking fluently for almost seven of her almost nine years now, and for that entire time it has been like pulling the proverbial teeth to get her to spill more than a monosyllable or two about what happens during the day while she is away from us. Back when she was in preschool, sometimes her teachers would give us some good dirt, but these days we have to resort to sidling up to her friends, on playdates, and asking them what they did today, hoping they come up with a couple good nuggets of info before MG shuts them up.

Well. Today, I finally figured out how to get her to sing like a canary: Two Truths and a Lie About Your Day. We went around the table at dinner. When it was her turn, she put on her best poker face and said, "I watched TV at Rosita's, I got two new pencils at the book fair, and we had a substitute teacher." The watching TV was the lie. It was a very good one, since she knows we know that TV is the thing she usually loves most at her babysitter's.

She turns out to be extraordinarily talented at coming up with lies that sounded ordinary and likely, and weird truthful occurrences that sounded made up. And I now know more about what she did today than I know about any school day of hers in the past four years, at least. Like: She and her friend found an old rusty penny and worked on the "poison" they're developing to kill dandelions (we agreed that since it is made out of flowers and bark and dirt it is probably exempt from our town's new ban on pesticides); they had gym indoors and had to ride on weird scooters and play badminton, which she hates; her class did a reprise performance of one of their Reader's Theater plays from the Open House last night. There's even more, but I can't remember it; in fact, she insisted that we go on playing Two Truths and a Lie until RW and I begged off, insisting that we simply couldn't come up with one more thing that had happened to us today, never mind concocting more lies.

MG is just the way she is: she hates, hates, hates being coaxed or interrogated or pressed for information; but she loves the chance to trick us and make things up. I wish I'd thought of this years ago.

2. [swiped from Facebook update of a few days ago]

Me: "You just don't care about the dishwasher getting fixed because you aren't the one who washes the dishes."

MG: "I care as much about the dishwasher getting fixed as a potato cares about an onion getting sliced."

Right then. That would be a D for household responsibility, and an A for similes. I'm not sure if this says more about MG's own proclivities or the values we've transmitted to her.

Last night we rolled MG into bed early, after an eventful and meltdown-laden School Open House (two out of the three members of our family had meltdowns, in fact, so it was even more exciting than such events usually are.) Then in the middle of the night I was resting and reading and getting over myself when I heard her cry out loudly "Mama! Mama!" the Renaissance Woman, a/k/a Mama, was sound asleep, so I ran in to MG. Her eyes were closed, and she was lying down in bed, but her face was mobile and she was talking. "Mommy," she said, sounding frustrated, "I can't, I can't get the white won't...would you please just..."

"Sure," I said. "Sure I can. Don't you worry about it." I kissed her on her creased little forehead and she seemed to relax a bit. "Is it okay now?"

"Mmm-hmm." She nodded in her sleep.

"Okay. Goodnight, bun."

If only everything were so easy to fix. I wonder what she was talking about. She had no idea today, when I asked her.


Blogger Anna said...

Two Truths and a Lie: brilliant! I'll have to try that on my guy, who is similarly closemouthed about his day. Thank you!

(Hi, remember me? Still think about you folks from time to time... ;)

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Arwen said...

My god I LOVE the game of Two Truths and a Lie.

Ripley often will tell fictions that have something to do with something he's learning or thinking, and we had to figure out how to set those apart - because a few times, it sounded like situations at school in which parents would have to intervene. Except that he was just working through his own reactions to things like bullying or teachers getting grumpy.

So now he talks about "Nowhereland", and we talk about "what happened in school, what happened in Nowhereland." Which I really love.

But we never played the game of trying to make ME guess which was which. I bet he'd love it.

10:01 AM  
Blogger susan said...

Two truths and a lie? That's brilliant! We do apples and onions (more recently renamed roses and thorns, since a news article about the Obamas said that they call it roses and thorns, talking about something you liked and something you didn't like about the day). But two truths and a lie would be very fun.

5:31 PM  
Blogger liz said...

You are a brilliant mama

My word check is "sperm".

6:03 PM  

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