I swear, this is a direct quote of what the director of Tae's school said to me this afternoon when I came to pick her up:
"Eliaday, I made your daughter cry today. But you have to hear why. She snuck her purse to her cot at nap time. And I found her sitting cross-legged chatting away on her cell phone. I had to tell her to put it away until the other kids fell asleep. She looked more like 13 than 3. I had to keep myself from cracking up. But she can't talk on the phone during nap time."
Tae overheard the end of the conversation and said, "I was PRETEND talking!! And I was talking quietly!!" (on a pretend cell phone.)
I suggested that maybe she write a letter instead.
Or that if she's going to pretend to be on the phone, that she at least pretend to be listening to the dial-a-story at the public library.
We have recently rediscovered dial-a-story (I remember these from when I was little). At the Boston Public Library, there is a Cantonese dial-a-story that we call in to. Neither of us actually understand the story, but it's fun anyway.
Today, I tried to explain to Tae why sending mail FOR REAL involves putting a real stamp on the envelope so the postal carrier can bring the mail to the recipient. First Tae asked me, "Why didn't you give me a real stamp before?" and then she got really upset about the concept of the postal carrier bringing the mail instead of her personally delivering the mail. All the letters that she writes me when I'm gone get personally delivered to me by Tae. I guess the idea of a third party (ie the USPS) making the delivery was kind of upsetting to her. Either that or she was just overtired... well, because she was talking on her pretend cell phone when she was supposed to be napping.
I have a new approach to things that I'm doing as a parent now. It's called "always tell the truth."
Example 1: When Tae asked tonight why she couldn't go outside even though it was still light out, I told her that because she didn't nap today, she had to go to bed early so she could get enough rest. Yesterday, she got to stay up later, and had had a nap during the afternoon.
Example 2: Tae asked why someone was smoking in a car that pulled up next to us during our car ride home. She told me that smoking was bad for the earth, and asked why that person was smoking if it's bad for the earth. I replied, "Some people do things that are bad for the earth. Everyone gets to make their own choices and sometimes good people make bad choices. You can make your own choices about what you want to do."
I've decided that the trouble I get in to by giving Tae misleading stories is worse than the trouble that I get in to from telling the truth. We'll see how far this gets me.