Wouldn’t that be a good title for a children’s book? I told one of the other mothers at the school the story I’m about to tell you, and she said that I should make a story out of the title at least! The only problem being, I’m not quite sure where the story would go. I have trouble seeing a happy kiddy story coming out of that title, more like a tale of mutilation and cruelty to sea-creatures! Whereas this other mother suggested a story about an octopus who finds his legs through the course of the story. Much nicer than my version. I’m a little worried that it says something about my mind that I can’t seem to think in terms of cute and cuddly where there is the slightest suggestion of blood and gore!
Anyway, I started to make a point, and so, gosh darn it, I should get back on track. Where was I?
A few days ago, Cheeky came home from school full of stories about his day, each more improbable than the last, until he culminated his Pinocchio-esque raconteur with a story about a treat they had been given in school. I’m sure I won’t do it justice, but I’ll do my best, so bear with me.
“In school this morning, after dissembly [assembly], and after fruit time and play time, my teacher said that there was a treat for us, and that the winner would go first. Well, I won, and I got a secret toy and a secret sweetie that I put in my school trouser pocket, and then because I won I got to go on the octopus first.”
“On the what?” I said, thinking that maybe my hearing had been confused as I was trying to concentrate on my driving at the same time.
“On the octopus,” Cheeky said, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to have in his classroom. “It was ENORMOUS”, he said with great emphasis, “about this big,” measuring out about a three inch gap between his finger and thumb. “I won, so I got to have a ride first. It had a strap for me to hold on to, and it wasn’t slimy, just sort of warm. No, it didn’t mind not being in the sea, it was so happy to see me and my friends. Oh, and it had one leg, so it had to hop around with me on its back.”
To my credit, I think I realised that it was a tall tale as soon as I confirmed that I had heard correctly when he said ‘octopus’. however, he was adamant that he was telling the truth, and that it was a real octopus not a figment of his imagination, or some bizarre ride-on toy that had been given to the school. And so I decided to call his bluff. This worked every time with Handsome when he was the same age, as I’ve discovered that while most young children don’t seem to mind annoying their parents, they will do a lot to stay on the good side of their teacher! So, I told him that I thought he was a ‘fibberoony’ (our, gentler, word for a liar, especially when I think the lie is told as a joke or in play) and that maybe I should talk to his teacher and ask her about the octopus. He agreed that would be a good idea, so I pulled out the Mummy card which claims to have the phone number of everyone in (and out of) the world, including Santa and the tooth fairy, and said I would phone her and ask her. And he still didn’t bat an eyelid! I don’t know what is more worrying, the fact that he could tell me such a bare-faced fib without even so much as blink, or that he managed to repeat it, more or less exactly word for word, without further embellishment, to his father when he saw him an hour later! Oh well, I’ve heard it claimed that the child who can lie fluently is the more intelligent child; I just hope that I can continue to sort the truth from the fiction, otherwise I foresee that the future may be just a little more trying for me!