We hadn't planned on starting an allowance with Logan yet. He's still a month shy of 4 years old. However, the exposure of mass media and older kids put the idea in his head. He asked for an allowance. We discussed. We decided we'd give it a try. He had chores to do that matched up to his abilities and did not include the things like keeping his own room clean, which he was to do regardless. In return we were going to give him 50cts a week. After the first week we re-evaluated, added an extra thing or two and upped the 'salary' to $1. Still pretty much slave labor. He gets paid every Friday and that assumes he did his list of chores without arguing and without having to be reminded repeatedly.
When Logan gets his money he puts it in a small bowl we keep on his dresser next to the fish and the piggy bank. This morning's dollar made it a total of $3.50. He was ready to go shopping. I handed him the money, Logan put all he had earned in the little wallet he had gotten two years ago when he first got his library card. He waited patiently by the door for me to catch Megan. We headed out to Target - where Logan walked nicely by the cart carrying his wallet in both hands. We found the aisle with the action figures and he ran to find Green Lantern. . .
Only they didn't have any left.
And if they did, he'd not have had enough money because I remembered incorrectly.
The figure within the same product line that I had thought I paid $3 for was actually $5. The one that was $3 didn't have moveable limbs and was about 1/3 the size of the other. He was willing to go with the smaller, immoveable one anyway. Instead I found a 3 pack of the right sized figures that included Lantern and another character that Logan absolutely covets but I've never seen before in toy form. The pack was $10. I told him we'd buy it but it was going to be put away for his birthday. He was more than happy with that solution and decided to put the smaller figure back. Instead we walked every aisle in Target's toy department. Logan would pick out something and ask "How much is this?"
I'd show him the tag on the shelf, "That ball is $10. How much do you have?"
He'd sigh, "I only have 3 dollars and two quarters."
We found a small Lego kit. It's rated for a slightly older kid but Logan adores Legos and is happy to have help putting the harder things together. The little Pod kit was $3.49. He held out his wallet and asked again if he had enough. I told him he did. Of course I also told him that he'd have to pay tax and explained that when we buy things we pay a little extra that goes to the state so we can have roads, schools, parks and "stuff like that." I promised him an extra quarter to help pay the tax since I had made the mistake about the original figure. When we got to the register he placed his purchase on the belt. We separated it from my stuff. He got his money out of his wallet and stood quietly waiting for the cashier to tell him what he owed. He handed her his three singles and told her he had quarters for her too. She counted out his singles for him and then took his quarters. He took the bag on his own. Then he stuffed the change and the receipt in his pocket.
And that was it.
So, there you go. He asked. We leapt and so far so good. For now, I think the bigger part of this exercise is helping him understand that the things he wants cost money, which does not just appear in our pockets. He didn't argue with me once at the store. He understood what he had to spend and that he wasn't getting any more added to it. For now, I'm glad we decided to humor him. I'll let you know if I change my mind.
In sleep related news, not only is Megan now an put myself to sleep and stay asleep all night kind of gal - she's also a "do it without demanding milk in a bottle" kid. It really isn't a surprise though. Meg merely confirmed what I've come to believe.
There are certain things a parent must insist upon - you will learn not to touch the hot stove, for example. You will learn not to run into the street. There are there things a child ought to have some say in - potty training would be a big one. Some children lead a little nudge to move to developmental milestones dictated more by willingness to grow in that area than evolution of physical skill. Logan has been like this.
Megan, on the other hand, is a girl with her own mind. We can hold our breath until we pass out and she still won't budge on our say so. She will, however, flip the switch on herself, in her own way, at her own time. One night she'll be screaming bloody murder unless she's got someone to rock her to sleep. The next night she's contently singing lullabies to "baby" (aka her doll) as she drifts off on her own in her crib. This latest mini-milestone was the same way. One night she was demanding a full bottle before bedtime stories. The next night she was refusing it out right and asking "More books. Mommy read Bob Builder now."
And so I read. And now that's what we do. We bathe. We dress. We play a little. We read a lot. We go to sleep.
All on her say so.