Marriage, kids, how to lie, and all that other boring stuff

Dorothea’s fifth wedding anniversary is next Friday, which means that I’ve been married longer than her and David, which surprises me slightly. Meanwhile, Mark’s got married as well. Congratulations to both of you.

Aside: would it be unworthy of me to mention how dodgy Mark’s phrasing sounds when taken out of context? “My ring feels very strange. I’ve been twiddling with it all day and now it’s chafing.” What’s that? It would? Oh, I won’t mention it then. :-)

In other news, Niamh, my daughter, has come up with a new trick, which allows me to unleash my fearsome powers of child psychology. Most recent example: I said, “what’s this mess all over the TV screen?”, and she replied, “I don’t know, I didn’t put cream on it.”

Ah-ha. That explains that, then. Similarly, “What’s wrong with this cake?”, responded to with “It didn’t go in the bin!” Again, bit of a giveaway, there. Apart from being heartstoppingly cute to listen to, I think that this comes about because she sees two answers to the question “What’s wrong with the TV?”, one of which (“There’s cream on the screen”) is a thing of reality, and the other (“I did it”) is a thing of guilt. Now, she thinks she might get into trouble for doing it, and she doesn’t want to get into trouble, so she’s not going to admit to doing it. But the first thing, that there’s cream smeared on the screen, that’s just reality; lying about that would be silly, because it’s obviously true. To lie about that, you’d have to say that there was something other than cream on the screen, or that there wasn’t anything, neither of which would be believed, so she tells the truth about it. I don’t think that the “third option” of denying all knowledge even occurs to her: she does know about it, and can therefore either tell the truth or directly lie: a black-and-white decision. Sort of like those puzzles where you’re told that one of the people always lies and the other always tells the truth; you can logically work out what’s going on, but that doesn’t work in life because most of what people say isn’t the truth or the exact opposite of the truth but something else. It’s interesting to watch her picking up these sorts of adult attributes like lying in a sort of ill-formed way. Child psychology must be fascinating.

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