There’s this three-year-old I know who is really special. She’s creative and funny and kind. And she’s also starting to become a little bit of a fibber. I really have no idea what started this. It’s not like she’s making up stories for entertainment – she’s telling fibs about her responsibilities.

Annie has a few chores around the house: pick up your toys, put your dirty clothes in the hamper, throw away your trash, and put your shoes in your room when you get home. Simple stuff, really. Last week, she pushed back on some of her responsibilities…typical willfulness of a kid her age. But it made me watch her a little closer when it was chore time to make sure everything got done.

Yesterday, I was doing the laundry when Annie popped her head through the door and said, “Mama! I put my toys away!”

“Really, Annabel? Wow! Will you show me?”

“Um…I need to go try again.”

A few minutes later, “Mama! I really put my toys away this time!”

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We had a sit-down so I could explain to her why lying is bad, but it didn’t sink in because I caught her in more fibs a few times throughout the rest of the day. When I ask Annie why she’s lying, she gives me confusing answers, which makes me think she doesn’t quite understand what she’s doing.

She’s officially reached “warning status,” which in our house means she loses a toy or privilege whenever she’s caught being naughty – in this case, fibbing.

I wasn’t expecting her to stretch the truth until her teenage years. How the heck do little kids learn how to lie?!