In the past, when Jeff and I went on a date night or out to dinner with friends, we would tell the boys we were heading out to a “business dinner”.
It was just easier to use the word “business” to avoid the nagging and cries of wanting to join us and the guilt trip that we were not including them. The word “business” was also understood by the boys that it was work related, and only for grown ups. It was an accepted concept which yield very little drama when used.
However, we learnt recently that if we were to teach the all important lessons of why the boys shouldn’t lie, we also needed to set an example. A friend suggested that I used language that the boys would be familiar with and called those dinners or outings “grown up play-dates”!
So the other night, before Jeff and I left for a dinner party, I told the boys just that!
“Hey guys, so mommy and daddy are going out to a play-date tonight, okay?”
“A play-date?!” laughed Joshua
“Yes, a grown up play-date!” I emphasized.
“You can’t go on a grown up play-date!!” Joshua challenged
“What not?” I inquired.
“Cuz you are so OLD!” Joshua stressed.
Amused and wanting to know what his further thoughts were on this topic, I probed further: “If you guys can go on children’s play-dates, why can’t mommy and daddy?”
“Well, grown ups only sit down and eat when they have play-dates anyways!” Joshua replied observing that sitting down and eating was the most boring thing a child can imagine!
Laughing, I countered that he gets invited for lunches and dinners during his play-dates also! By then, he seemed to have given an unspoken blessing to the newly coined concept of “grown up play-dates” and to my surprise, we had no tears, no dragging us from the door or taking our shoes away when we left.
In the morning, Joshua asked me sweetly: “Mommy, how was your grown up play-date last night?”
I answered “It was really fun, thanks for asking Joshua!”
So now, I guess I should stop using the “business” lie and recognize that the boys are at an age that they can take the truth, spoken with everyday terminology they are familiar with!