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Excuses, Excuses

by Mihal Levy

October 19, 2009 | 2:00 pm

Have you ever used your child as an excuse to get out of something?  Come on, we have all been guilty of it.  “Sorry we have to leave so soon (from your boring party), but Junior has to take a nap and he went to bed late last night.”  “We’d love to come to your Pictionary tournament, but we don’t have a sitter.”  Or how about an excuse to do something?  “He’s watching The Backyardigans for the fifth time today, while I work, because he loves it, he doesn’t want to do anything else.”  “We had to get an annual pass to Disneyland because HE loves it there so much.”

I have to admit that I try not to use my son as an excuse, but find that it often comes in handy, and I’m not really lying…maybe just stretching the truth a little. 

For instance, I took him to the park the other day and there were friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in a long time, picnicking with their children and another group of friends.  They called us over and I really was not in the mood for mingling much, so I decided to leave the decision to my three year old son.  What is wrong with that?  I asked him, “Do you want to go over and say hi to Mommy’s friends, or should we go to the sandbox?”  Lo and behold, he chose the sandbox…who knew?  So, I waved to my friends from the other side of the park, shrugged my shoulders and said. “Oh, sorry, looks like he’s headed to the sandbox.”  And that was that.  It was the truth, after all; that is what he chose.  I did go over and say hello afterwards because the guilt was killing me, but that’s not the point.

Then there was another recent incident.  The other day I was out on a play date with two mommy friends that I had met at a class at the park.  (And good thing they don’t know about my blog.  Please don’t Google me, please don’t Google me!)  We met at the park and the play date seemed to be going fine.  Then I realized that one of their sons kept taking toys away from my son, so I would keep jumping in and making sure that everyone was sharing…blah blah blah.  But then I noticed the mommies retreated to the park bench and began chatting while I started running around the sandbox making sure the kids were okay.  This must have been great for them, Mihal’s Babysitting Service.  I ran after their two boys, while mine was just riding a bike around and they were headed every which way, since I felt they had entrusted the supervising to me.  I stopped and approached the moms, not wanting to interrupt their conversation.  But they finally noticed me standing there, as I was blocking their sunlight.

There I stood sweaty and out of breath and could barely see under my sweat-filled baseball cap as sweat was dripping into my eyes.  They spoke as I stood there like a deer in headlights,“Thanks for watching our boys.  We haven’t had time to relax all week.”

I wanted to say, “It’s a good thing that all I do is relax all week.”  But instead I muttered a “You’re welcome.”  Then pulled an excuse out of my hat, a very sweaty drippy one at that, “We’re going to head out because my son is getting tired…”  You know how when you lie, you keep on going and going because essentially in the end you are trying to convince yourself that you are, in fact, not lying.

Good thing they interrupted.  “Oh, no problem.”  And I’m glad that they couldn’t see my son running around on the other side of the gigantic slide blocking their view.  He was having a great time and didn’t seem tired at all.

Was I wrong?  I probably should’ve come out and told them the truth.  But, sometimes honesty is not the best policy…excuses are.  Thanks, son…and sorry.

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