You are here

Awesome development of the week: Nora is a liar

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Remember the research that said the earlier your kid starts lying, the smarter he or she will turn out to be? Well, watch out world we’ve got a genius on our hands!


Nora, who turned two last month, officially tells lies. Lies of omission and out-right, bold-faced lies. It’s kind of hilarious, kind of frightening and—I guess—kind of a good thing. That study—read more about it here—basically says that lying is a developmental milestone and that the complex brain processes involved in formulating a lie are an indicator of a child's early intelligence.


The most disturbing example of Nora’s superior cognitive function: Last week when I was sitting at the breakfast table with the kids, Nora said, “I don’t want to go to fool today, mom.” I told her that fool would be fun and she’d see all her friends and I’d be there to pick her up. She went back to eating her eggs but five minutes later, when Nick came downstairs, she said this: “Mommy said I don’t have to go to fool, Dad.” We were seriously dumbfounded. Not only was this a blatant lie it was a very clear example of how this little angel already thinks she can play us.


Some of her other recent doozies:


“I don’t have anything in my mouth. I’m not eatin anything, mom.” (This was when she walked into the kitchen with a conversation heart in her mouth—she got into the V-day stash. A. I didn’t ask her if she was eating anything and B. I could see the candy in her mouth and she had pink drool on her chin. Liar!)


“Greggy bit me, mom.” (This was when I asked her why she was whimpering. We were in Florida and Gregory was in New York. She blames everything on her cousin, Greggy. “Greggy did it” is pretty much her response to anything she gets in trouble for. For a while I thought Greggy was a little you-know-what. Then I realized that my daughter is the you-know- what.)


“I already pooped, mom! I pooped!” (She did not poop.)


“I’m just talkin to my baby over here, mom. She’s cryin. She needs her blanky.” (What she was really doing: eating her way through an entire pack of gum that Nick had left on the front table. She was being suspiciously quiet which is why I inquired. And then I watched her lie to me as she stuffed the gum into her mouth before I could stop her.)


“I didn’t fwallow it, mom. I didn’t fwallow it.” (After she swallowed every piece of gum she’d stuffed in her mouth.)


“I cried at fool today, mom.” (This was yesterday when I picked her up. Her teacher looked at me and shook her head and then told me she didn’t cry once the entire day. This feels a little more like storytelling than lying, but, once again, the girl is playing me.)


I definitely don’t remember Alex fibbing at this age. I also don’t remember him standing up in his chair at the kitchen table saying, “Get mad mom, get mad like a monsta!” which Nora does several times day. (Yes, we have our hands full with that one.) Most kids eventually tell lies. According to the study, at the age of two, 20 percent of children will lie. At age three it’s 50 percent and by four almost 90 percent of our kids are not 100 percent honest. And the researchers say it’s nothing to be worried about. Hmmmmm…. Have your kids told any whoppers lately? Do they worry you? Do you feel better now that you know it’s a sign of intelligence?! Is this just something we say to make ourselves feel better about our kids’ less-than-ideal behavior? Like how Nick and I always justify the ants in Alex's pants by saying he's just extraodinarily curious. “It’s just that he’s really smart so his brain is always working!” Yeah, that’s it.