Monday, January 21, 2013

Little Monkey Money Matters

The little girls receive allowance.  We follow Love & Logic, once they’re old enough not to eat their money, they’re old enough for allowance.  So, the Younger gets $2/week, and the Firstborn gets $6/week, taxes withheld for her, so she nets $5/week.  The Firstborn has been [mostly] saving for a guinea pig going on almost a year now, I've heard her say, "No, I'm saving for a guinea pig, I'm putting my money in the Save Jar."

Toddleator E, a.k.a. Monka-Doodle, had built up quite a bank in her jar, and we’d been chatting about sunglasses for the past couple of months.  She would lament about not having sunglasses every sunny day (which is often here) in the back seat.  One highly productive Monday, while Big Sister attended homeschool connection I found we were timed perfectly to stop by consignment shop for this very purpose.   So, she bought four pair.  At least I was able to talk her out of six pair.  The Man was a bit taken aback by this, and we reminded ourselves that this is her money, not ours.  Well, she’s got 4 new play glasses one of which at least should be kept in the car methinks.  Bonus, when a pair gets crushed or lost, it's easier for me to practice some loving detachment and empathy, rather than reacting with frustration and anger as if it had been my money.

With Miss Monkey’s money, we had a lesson most recently noteworthy.  Had anyone been listening it might’ve sounded as if I was stealing from the child.  One sunny bright day last week, we made plans to head up the mountain for ice skating, little sis was fighting illness though so a ride was arranged.  There was a question as to whether or not F would need to pay entrance + skate rental, I responsibly gave her $10 to pay for just that.  “This ten is to pay for your entrance, should you need it.  Otherwise, I expect my ten dollars back when you return. Agreed?”  She assented, took some money from her Spend Jar for random whatnot, and off they went.

Upon returning, there was some amount of cash and change on the counter, I asked her whether that was hers or mine?  There was some confusion from her.
“Do you have my $10?”
“Well, J used it to buy Twizzlers.”
“Oh, so where is my ten?”
Somewhat distressed, “J used it to buy Twizzlers!”
“Well, F, I gave you the ten to pay for your entrance.  Did you have to pay for your entrance to the skating?”
She shakes her head, no.
“Okay, then I expect my $10 back….is this it on the counter?”
Then the frustration sets in for her.  I counted the money on the counter finding it was a little short of $10, “Well, it looks like you owe another $1.10 to pay me back.”
Then the crying lament starts, she apparently spent all of her money on treats for herself and her friends, and really does not want to pay me back any of the money I gave her.
“Oh, so you spent your money on treats for yourself and your friend?  That’s really generous and friendly. {pause}  The money I gave you for entrance was money only for that, and I expect it returned since it wasn’t used.  I’m fairly certain you and I were clear on this before you left.  I love you, I know this is hard.  Come back downstairs when you’re calm and can discuss it in a friendly way.”

Briefly I thought, it is only a dollar-ish, it’s not that big a deal.  Then my Love & Logic overtook that doubt---it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the lesson there in.  A $1.10 mistake now, will avoid a $110 (or more) mistake later.  The Man returned from some errand, fresh and ready to mediate. And after bedroom time Miss Monkey was freshly ready to attempt to manipulate the situation in her favor with Papa home now.  In no uncertain terms he let her know the tragic sound of her feelings would not change the circumstances.  He reminded her “if she wants to have her own money to use, she has to behave responsibly with it.  Otherwise, we can find other options for that money.”  (Hooray parental unity!)

I did get my money back, thanked her, and we went on about our day.
Stay the course. All is well.  I’m grateful and proud!
: )

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