So Brandon and I have taken to teaching our eldest about money. She has a list of chores that are *her* responsibility: cleaning her room, putting her toys away, throwing her dirty clothes in the hamper, brushing her teeth (and, yes, that is a chore for a three-year-old). But there are also a few chores for which she gets a quarter: setting the table, feather dusting, sweeping the patio (with mommy, of course), and throwing away diapers.
One of the thing I love about this process is that it gives me an "out" when she asks for a toy at the store. I don't have to say "no." I simply say, "Sure you can buy it, if you save enough quarters."
Sometimes she'll ask me how many quarters something costs, and if it's a number outside of her comprehension (like 23), she responds, "Woah... that's too many monies for me." End of discussion. No weeping, wailing, or gnashing of teeth. No begging, pleading, or puddles of disappointment. It's too many quarters, and that's that.
We're quite proud of this system, her father and I, as we feel it is setting her up to manage her finances for life.
Tonight we went to the store because she decided that the money in her bank was burning a hole in her pocket... or something like that. She chose five shiny quarters (about half of her supply) and clamored into the car, chattering away about all the many toys she would buy with her five quarters.
Of course, by the time we got to the store, I had explained that she probably could only get one small toy with five quarters, but she was undeterred.
Off to the dollar section of the local Target, and right to the small basket of balls. She picked out a sparkly purple ball - the kind that's filled with air and looks like a porcupine. She carried it around the store, happily taunting her sister with it for about 45 minutes.
We checked out, and she paid the cashier herself. She was thrilled to get a few "golden" coins back right before we headed to the car.
In the car. Seat belts snapped. Last-minute decision to stop and get ice cream on our way home. The perfect outing.
I looked in my rear view mirror to find a purple, sparkly, porcupiney - completely deflated - former ball.
I braced myself and prepared for the wailing that would soon ensue.
No such thing.
"Aw, mooommmmmm," she said. "What happened to it?"
After a round of questions, we concluded that, in an attempt to help her sister get the toy she dropped, Chloe had put the ball between her teeth in order to free her hands. She bit a hole in the ball.
We were already halfway home, and Dave Ramsey said that kids have to learn tough lessons like these.
"Can we go back and get another one?"
What would you do, moms?
*In that moment - due to the sprinkling rain, and the fact that bed time was approaching fast - we did not turn around and get her another ball. After discussing it with my Sweet Hubby last night, we decided not to get her another one - yet. We are in the final stages of potty training, which means (cue dramatic music) no pull-ups at night! She has been doing great, but we still have some work to do. So... we have told her that if she can go two weeks without an accident, she will get a secret surprise. Guess what it will be?