Charlie has discovered lying.
I've suspected this for a while but have cut him a lot of slack given how easily confused a 4-year-old can get about even the smallest things, like remembering what they had for lunch, for example, or where they left your telephone, or which bed they're supposed to sleep in...
Anyway, so when he says something that sounds a little hinky, I've been giving him the benefit of the doubt, however clearly, this has backfired.
We are big fans of star charts here. We incentivise pretty heavily - for every 10 stars, he gets to choose a new Chuggington toy. It's not a give-away though, oh no. The criteria is tough and every day in which he doesn't earn a star we actually take one away... it took him nearly a month to earn his last one. I know, call me Cruella.
While this has moved certain behaviours of his along in leaps and bounds, it's also a pretty keen incentive for him to tell a few big fat porkies - I don't want to damage his dignity here, but I'm certain he's having things done for him at nursery that he's supposed to be doing himself and he's earned a star or two off the back of it... and inspired him to try out lying as, essentially, his default position.
Luckily, while he's got a face that'll do him proud around a poker table later in life, currently his lies are pretty unsophisticated - here's one from tonight:
Charlie: 'I'd like to play for 10 more minutes Mummy'
Me: 'OK, I'll set the alarm for 10 minutes'
Charlie: (realising he bid too low) 'NO MUMMY, I said TWELVE minutes'
Me: (laughing) 'No you didn't, you clearly told me10 minutes'
Charlie: (even louder) 'NO MUMMY, I SAID IT TO DADDY I SAID TWELVE MINUTES TO DADDY'
Me: (to Frog) 'Did you tell Charlie he could play for 12 minutes?'
Charlie: (Makes general freaking out sounds, shouts, pouts and then gives up when he realises he's done for) 'OK Mummy, you set the alarm for 10 minutes.'
Me: 'It's 8 minutes now'.
It's a bit worrying; we need to teach him to tell the truth but I'm not quite certain how... He's never been punished for telling the truth but we've not exactly made a big deal out of it either; we've sort of assumed a natural honesty in him that perhaps should have been rewarded.
So, perhaps I need to reward him for telling the truth more often. I smell another star chart...