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What Are the Rates at the Bank of Mom and Dad?

October 17, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Reich

Lord knows, you can’t pick your parents. Fortunately, my husband and I were both very lucky, and we both have excellent parents. They taught us so much directly, and they also taught us so much by example.

When I was growing up, I remember so well my parents’ financial discipline. They never used credit cards. If they didn’t have the money for something, they simply didn’t buy it. They worked hard, and they saved up. To teach my sister and me about money, we got an allowance early on, we were encouraged to save money, and we were supported in getting jobs at early ages. My husband’s parents had a different approach: He didn’t get an allowance, but they paid him for doing extra jobs around the house.

Now that Tyler and Austin are six and four, my husband and I do a bit of each. Each week, our boys can earn an allowance. If they haven’t broken too many house rules that week, they earn $1. Each time they do something extra good, without being asked, such as if they pick up something someone dropped on the floor or do a kindness for each other, they earn a “bonus point.” For each five bonus points they earn in a week, they earn another $1.

Tyler and Austin also can pick up extra “jobs” around the house to earn a dollar, such as folding socks, running the little vacuum cleaner, and helping to empty the dishwasher. It’s true the “jobs” are mainly about trying hard and keeping me company, but they enjoy doing them to earn extra money.

Tyler and Austin are pretty much always saving up for something, such as a new Star Wars figure or toy.  Generally, they save up for it, and then they buy it. Otherwise, they can “put it on their wish list.” Occasionally, they see something they want and have a good reason to fear that if they don’t buy it now, it’ll be gone, such as if the store only has one left. If they don’t have the money, they can borrow from the “Bank of Mom and Dad.” We loan them the money to buy the item, and the item goes up on the fridge with a note of how much money they’ve borrowed. The key is, if they borrow from the Bank, they can’t spend any other money on anything until they’ve paid that money back!

All of this gives us tons of opportunities to practice math, “Let’s see, your Star Wars figure cost $12, and you have $10, how much more money do you need to earn?” It also is teaching them how hard you have to work, and sometimes how long you have to wait, to afford what you want. And it’s giving me lots of company folding the laundry and emptying the dishwasher.

Fire Flies

August 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Julie Davidson

I’m not certain if it’s because of the heatwave, but I’ve noticed an abundance of fire flies around our yard this year. My youngest, Max, was out catching them a few nights back.

After he’d caught one, he proudly brought it over to me and explained, “They light up, and they look for girls at night. Did Daddy light up when he was looking for you?” I thought back to that David Sanborn concert 14 years ago. Well, he smiled a lot. That’s close to lighting up.

Max was looking at me, waiting for my answer. “Yeah. Daddy did light up for me. Why do you think the fire flies are looking for girls?” I asked, knowing this could be dangerous territory.

Miles, my oldest, very matter-of-factly answered before Max had a chance to. “They’re looking for someone to mate with.” Gulp.

Now I was curious. How much of this “mating” stuff did he understand? My mind panicked with ideas of stuff he might have heard on the street. Did he hear something at camp? Could the sitter have let them watch an R-rated movie? Instead of playing Angry Birds on my iPhone, was he looking at You Tube videos?

I was getting close to the edge now. “Do you know how babies are made?” But inside I was thinking, No! No! Don’t tell me. I can’t take it.

Clueless about my anguish over the situation, he continued, “Well you mix your DNA with Dad’s.” What? That’s it? It was like expecting to get a shot in my arm and instead I got a gentle pat. Yeah. DNA mixing. Kinda like making cookies. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. I like the sounds of that.

“You know, Mom, like you and Dad. First you gotta meet someone. Like maybe on the computer. Like the website Zoosk.” What the? I had no idea what he was talking about. Website? What is a Zoosk and how does he know about it? Maybe he meant Dr. Seuss. Now that I’m okay with. You know, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox and Sox, Oh the Places You’ll….

My Dr. Seuss moment was interrupted as the conversation continued. “When I’m older, I’m going on Zoosk to find a girlfriend.” And continued. “Can I get a girlfriend in high school if I show them to you? You know to make sure they are nice. Can I?”

Listen here, Zoosk. My kid is still a kid. He sleeps with his teddy bear. The only female allowed in his room besides me is the Tooth Fairy. His closet is filled with Legos. He hasn’t lost all his baby teeth yet. Santa trumps you any day. And he doesn’t need a girlfriend; he’s eight! Back off, you website thing…or whatever you are. Go back to wherever you came from! We’re going went back to catching fireflies. My husband can teach them how to light up for the ladies. He did just fine, if you ask me.

All I Ever Needed to Know…

February 10, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Reich

…I probably did learn in kindergarten. But I forgot it a long time ago, apologies to Mrs. Valentine.

Good thing my son Tyler is now in kindergarten, so I have a refresher course! Earlier tonight, he was in his brother Austin’s room (now three years old). Tyler was teaching Austin one of his teacher’s favorite sayings, “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself!


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