Learning to Fib

“Lillian, do you know what a fib is?”

She looks at me, uncomprehending. “No…”

“A fib is when you deliberately say something that isn’t true.”

Oh-oh. Even as I’m saying this, I’m realising that if she doesn’t understand fibbing, she probably doesn’t understand “deliberately saying that something isn’t true.” Conceptually, they are just the mirror images of each other. I’m not sure she’s got the concept of “true” or “truth telling”, so defining one in terms of the other isn’t likely to help much.

“Ok, here’s an example. Lillian is wearing a blue top.” She’s not, of course. She’s wearing her usual pink. So now she’s confused. It shows on her face. Why would Daddy say something that’s so clearly wrong?

“That’s a fib!” I say.

She’s still not sure.

“Ok, here’s another one. Lillian is three years old.”

“Noooo!!!!” Her face lights up with a smile – she’s got the idea.

“Can I do one?” she says.


“Daddy’s got a bottom on his head!”


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