Weirdly, M doesn't know how to lie.
Maybe it's all four-year-olds, like he hasn't reached that developmental milestone. Or maybe he's just that way by nature. I wish I could say that he got it from me, but while I always try to be honest about big things, I am sometimes not honest about little things. He doesn't even exaggerate or bend the truth.
If I come on to the scene and find L crying, I can ask M what happened and he will tell me the truth. Even if the truth is, "I hit L in the face with my roller skate, two times." The closest he comes to avoiding telling the truth is sometimes, when he is truly contrite, he says, "I'm sorry I did that. I don't really want to talk about that right now."
It's nice, though. We never have to doubt him.
I remember one time we found a toy dragon in his pocket after we had been visiting friends. I asked him about it, because I knew it wasn't his, and he told a ridiculous story about how, "Uncle said I could have it and I said no thank you, but he put in my pocket." I could almost understand a three year old taking a toy because he wanted it, or maybe not even fully understanding what stealing meant. But I was furious that he made up a lie about it instead of admitting he took it.
We went back to the friends' house to return it, and on the way I gave M a long talk about how when you make a mistake or break a rule when you're a little boy, you have a little boy consequence. But if you keep making mistakes like that when you grow up, there are grown up consequences that are much worse, and that grown ups who break the law have to go to jail. When we got back to the house, I marched M up to the door to apologize and return the toy and.... you guessed it. The other boy's father really had put it in his pocket. I apologized to my sweet boy over and over, and all he said was, "That's ok. I don't have to go to the jail, right?"
So yesterday, when M and L came home from a visit to the neighbor's house, the first thing M said was, "Auntie gave L junk food." It wasn't actually a tattle, per say, because he would have told if he had eaten it, too. It's just not his way to hide things. And he didn't just sit back and let him eat it so he could come home and tell, either - good old M spoke up and told her they couldn't have those kinds of treats. When she gave them to L anyway, M went as far as to snatch it from his hands so he wouldn't eat it and get sick. (Maybe not the best of manners, but I have to give M credit for looking out for his brother.) But she took it back and gave it to him again. I think L probably knew he shouldn't have eaten it, but what kind of 2 year old has that much resolve? The most frustrating thing is that when she asked if the boys could come over visit (she's recovering from surgery and must be a little stir crazy), Whim said "Of course, just please don't give them anything to eat."
We watched him closely all evening, and he was fine. No seizure yesterday and none today. But, what the heck? He could be diabetic or have anaphylactic shock reactions or we could have religious reasons for avoiding certain foods. Or we could just be parents that don't let their kids eat ice cream, chocolate, and jelly candies all in one quick visit? Whim was angry, and given what he saw the day before, he gave her a piece of his mind .
Clearly we need to work with L to help him know what foods he should not accept when offered. And it wouldn't hurt for them both to have a lesson in politely but firmly turning down foods they can't eat. All I know is it feels like I can't trust anyone, but I refuse to return to the helicopter mindset, that I need to keep them in my sight all them time or they won't be safe. If only everyone was as honest as M...
Update: I spoke too soon. L had 2 seizures today. Of course, I can't prove, even to myself that it was the junk food. He had one the other day when everything was fine, which makes it hard for me to say it was definitely the food. But even in a bad streak, I can't even remember the last time he had two in one day. It might have been last Easter.