Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

U is for Untruth

with 6 comments

I have two very different children. I mean that in the sense that they are different to each other, but also that they are, or can be, different. Atypical. Not the norm, whatever that is. And just to keep me a even higher on my toes (toe-walking!), sometimes they behave very typically, and that confuses me the most of all.

Lately in our house, we have been dealing with a lot of untruths. Cubby is a gifted story-teller, and has been from an early age. I sometimes question whether he can tell the difference between fact and fiction, so immersed is he in his alternate reality. He’ll even assure us that he is not lying as he states things that aren’t true…such as his assertion one evening this week that his school is teaching him to speak Norwegian.

Back when we were in the U.S. a couple of months ago, a lady at the park started speaking to me in Spanish, and after a couple of sentences revealed that I am not exactly a native speaker, she told me that Cubby had informed her that we came from Mexico (he has never been there) and he spoke English because his nanny (we’ve never had one) is from Australia (again, never been there).

I’m puzzled by all of this, because our real backstory is just as interesting as this one he chose to create. I struggled to find a purpose for him telling a complete stranger this misinformation. A friend suggested that it is just more interesting to him, and our reality, even one that spans the world, is mundane to him. He has been there, done that, and other locations are new to him, and therefore intrinsically more exciting.

Pudding is different. I used to believe the myth that autistic children don’t tell lies, but Pudding has disabused me of that, and many other ‘facts’ about autism over the years. She just doesn’t lie on the same scale as her brother. Her more recent untruths have been more pragmatic in nature. They have a function that is very clear to me. Unlike her brother, I understand why she lies. Often it is for the same mundane reasons of most children: she wants to avoid getting into trouble for something she knows she wasn’t supposed to do, or she wants to get something she wants.

But while easier to understand, and certainly easier to deal with than Cubby’s untruths, Pudding’s simple lies are the ones that scare me the most.

As you may know, Pudding has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. We’ve known this since she was a baby, and her whole life we’ve taught her that she must always avoid these items, as well as many other foods that look safe, but may contain items that are very dangerous to her. She has been able to say from the age of three that she is allergic, and will sometimes volunteer this information about herself to others.

While she carries an epi-pen, and her school cafeteria doesn’t offer nuts, and her classroom is “nut-free” for snacks, we still rely on her to keep herself safe. An incredibly challenging thing for any young child, but more so in the case of one with the additional mix of autism and ADHD.

Imagine then, how scared I was at this story her aide recounted to me last week. It was snack time, and one of the other girls had cookies. A most covetable item at the best of times, but when compared to the healthy choices I’d sent with Pudding (carrots and cucumber sticks with rice cakes), the temptation had been too much.

Noticing Pudding’s gaze, the girl wanted to share. But what is more, before she did, she actually asked Pudding if she had any allergies.

And Pudding said no.

A lie that could, quite literally, kill her.

In this instance, there were no dire consequences. Her wonderful aide was right there, and intervened immediately. There were no nuts in the cookies (thank you, parents who obey nut-free rules), and we know to continue to reiterate the dangers of taking food we don’t know to be safe.

It is messy, this parenting thing. Allowing our kids to be themselves, develop naturally, and yet keep them safe is the hardest thing to do. And that, my friends, is no lie.

This post is part of my A-Z series. You can read the rest by clicking >here<.


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

September 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm

6 Responses

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  1. The lying is so funny to me because our oldest went through that stage in kindergarten. He told his teacher that his dad was a police officer who he didn’t see much because he worked the nightbeat. His dad is a web developer and we’re not even sure how he knows what the nightbeat is! Knowing him now, I think it is because he is CRAZY creative. He has just so many ideas and concepts rolling around up there! At an early age it would just kind of come out. 😉


    September 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm

  2. Children really are amazing, aren’t they!
    Our grandson, who is 31/2 and currently staying with us, tells any and everyone that he is from Africa. And that he has a little brother who is still there but will be coming any minute! While my daughter, his mother, and I have both spent lots of time in Africa, he has never been there!
    We do read a lot and even for his young age he is a very creative soul – but this does give us pause and is the cause for chuckles, needless to say!
    And, by the way, our daughter had an imaginary best friend when she was little- a werewolf named Joe.


    September 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    • A werewolf imaginary friend named Joe? That sounds like an awesome storybook! Thanks for visiting. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      September 6, 2014 at 11:40 pm

  3. I am just seeing this now and cracking up. Our daughter had a huge imagination and had her daycare convinced, at age 3, that she had a sister named Sissy who lived in Mexico City and only spoke Spanish. That sister was a teen and had a baby. Her imaginary brother was Hanken and they were supposed to get married when they got old enough. People were sure either my husband or myself must have had a prior marriage and we were sure it was time to leave North Carolina.

    Nomads By Nature

    November 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm

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