Have you heard that saying “I opened my mouth and my mother came out”? Well, one day when my older kids (now 18 and 15) were little, I opened my mouth and my grandmother came out.
My grandmother on my Mom’s side was a force to be reckoned with. She was half-German and half-Italian, born and raised in New York City. She could intimidate a truck driver and at the same time call you her “goo-goo baby.” My sisters and I spent our summers with her and my grandfather as kids. I adored her.
My Noni Mom passed away when I was 18, many years before my kids were born. Imagine my surprise, about eight years later, my grandmother’s words came into my head and out of my mouth.
At that moment, I wasn’t thinking about my grandmother or what she said to me and my sister more than a few times. Instead, I was thinking about the little stinker standing in front of me defiantly and lying through his pearly-white baby teeth. I can’t remember what he was lying about; all I remember was being an exasperated parent.
I’m convinced it was divine-Noni-intervention when all of a sudden I said to my little story-teller, “Stick out your tongue!”
I remember thinking, “Where in the world did that come from?” I’m pretty sure my son was also thinking, “Where in the world did THAT come from?” (or, “This woman has lost it!”) I said it again, “Stick out your tongue,” and he complied.
I examined his tongue as if I had a medical degree and declared, “You are not telling the truth! I can tell!”
My son went into the bathroom to look in the mirror at his tongue to try and understand how I KNEW he wasn’t telling me the truth. Just like my sister and I did when we were kids, he found nothing out of the ordinary.
However, the next time I caught him in a lie and asked him to stick out his tongue, he refused.
And that’s the trick.
Innocent darling angelic children will gladly stick out their tongues; guilty little stinkers will NOT stick out their tongues.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit how long it took me to catch on to Noni’s trick. But I’m so grateful that she placed that memory back into my mind at the moment when this tired and exasperated Mama needed it.
Thank you, Noni. Love you.