Tuesday, March 10, 2009
So, Man-Cub walks into the kitchen today and says, quite seriously, "I want to spend my birthday check." EGOD gives each of us a $100 check for our birthdays and he got his last week. He all but held his hand out and tapped his foot.
I turned to him in surprise, "You want to spend your check?"
"Well, you know, you don't get the entire $100, don't you?"
I suppose he did not, in fact, know it. His sly, little face registered complete shock and dismay. "WHAT?!"
Let me interject. We have never just handed over the kids' checks to them. In fact, I don't think they've ever seen any of the money bestowed upon them each year. We simply deposit the money and use it to pay for whatever festivities we've decided to host. You may cry, "Foul," but that's how we do. Believe me, they get enough gifts from the rest of their relatives that they do not miss it.
Sadly, this was very disillusioning for Man-Cub. He has recently become aware of money and has quite an interest in it. He's either going to be a Master Swindler or Master Financier when he grows up, I can feel it. He saves his pennies and dimes and dollars and plots and plans what great things he will do with them (those plans almost always involve the Hobby store). He keeps meticulous records of just how much he has and always has special hiding places for it. Apparently, he had great things planned for that $100 birthday check.
He was beginning to well up in frustration and disappointment so I grabbed him gently by the arms. I said softly, up into his face, "Don't you know it's not good for an eight-year-old boy to have all that money all to himself? What on earth would you do with $100?"
Do you know what the little shyster said? "Buy something for you...!"
I just laughed and laughed and even he had to laugh cause he knew I was onto him. He tried to hide it but he couldn't help himself. A guilty grin kept stealing, unbidden, across his lips! I teased him for a bit, excitedly asking if he would buy me shoes and bags and new dishes. He just hung his head bashfully, giggling at himself.
But then he realized I was serious not letting him have his money and he got angry. He flapped his hands helplessly and spat, "But I'm the ONLY kid in my class who doesn't have $100!"
Now we had gotten to it. I was surprised, "The only one?" He's in second grade! Seriously? All the other seven- and eight-year-olds have $100 just lying around? And this is a topic of conversation on the swings at recess? What ever happened to having cooties and daring each other to eat boogers and pulling the legs off Daddy-long-legs and chasing the girls with them? Now we're discussing bank accounts and comparing Ugg boots and texting dares on cell phones in the second grade?
What is wrong with people? Am I some kind of miser because I won't let my child have $100? I won't even let my 13-year-old have a cell phone, let alone allowing my eight-year-old to have more than $10 at a time! And, apparently, I'm some kind of weirdo.
As a way of turning this into a learning opportunity, I told Man-Cub we will discuss this with his father, but only after he has presented us with an itemized list of what he plans to buy should he be allowed to have custody of the entire $100. He was upset by this, too. He hates to write. Even a financial plan. And the first list I got was written entirely in crayon and consisted of:
Buy [Redheaded Snippet] stuff
Buy you stuff
Buy Dad stuff
I'm going to get some whiskey for Daddoo Baddoo or cigars
I told him we would need to see some more specifics such as the whiskey and cigars for Daddoo Baddoo). He stomped away in a sour mood and is now avoiding the situation by actually doing his homework.
I can't wait to continue this when The Viking gets home...!