Forgive me muscles and other stuff

We, as in six adults and two eager children, have spent our day building a patio. What began last week as a giant 10 foot by 20 foot pit in my backyard, is now a giant 10 x 20 foot pit loaded with 4 1/2 inches of gravel.

For those of you with insane curiosity, that means hauling 4 tons of said gravel from our drive way, up the hill (seriously, its a mean hill!) of our side yard and then about half-way into the backyard where we dump it in the pit. We then raked it into place - smoothing it and leveling it with a slight pitch for drainage. Luckily the very noisily machine did the tamping. We also pulled up 2 tons of sand and a full pallet of pavers. (Second pallet still resides in my driveway.)

This also means there are very few muscles in the bodies of six adults that do not hurt like hell. Not to mention forget me is feeling quite literally fried with sunburned shoulders.

So cute when she's sad
Logan went to Vacation Bible School for the first time this year. Having completed one full year of preschool, he's now old enough for the program our church offers for a week each summer. The last day, the kids put on a little assembly for all the adults that can find room in the sanctuary -- which is a lot. There were 300 children in the program and easily an average of two guests per child.

Megan, still not old enough to attend VBS, sat with my parents and I during the performance. The kids started their first song. Megan knew it, of course. She had, by default, learned the songs as Logan practiced with the CD they sent home with him one day.

At the moment, however, she was restless and yearning to do what she normally gets to do when in the sanctuary - tour the stain glass windows on either side. I whispered in her ear, "Why don't you sing! You know the song. Can you do the train whistle?"

She shook her head. She pushed out her bottom lip, tucked her chin down and looked up at me with that sad little face.

"No. I too small," she sniffed. "I too small to sing with Brabee."

Is it mean to say it was hard not to laugh?

Part of our parental understanding of Logan's allowance is that sometimes we reward extra hard work with extra cash. We don't promise it. We just spring it on him.

When Daddy began digging out the pit last week, Logan was eager to help. He was actually a real contributing helper too. He wasn't simply there with kid-sized tools to be preoccupied. He wasn't getting in the way. He was making a dent in the process.

I told him when we went in, I was going to give him an extra dollar for his allowance bucket. He asked me why and I explained that it was because helping lug dirt out of the pit was above and beyond his normal chores so we'd give him a little extra allowance this week.

"A dollar?" he asked. I nodded. "What about 10 dollars?" he countered.

"Ahh, no. How about two dollars?" I countered, thinking to myself this was patio assistance really was a big task for a four year old.

"Hmm," Logan said as he pondered the offer. "What about $11?"

We settled on two dollars.

Today he was eager to start. As soon as Bruce got home last night, Logan was begging to get started on the patio - the materials having arrived earlier in the day. The moment he woke up this morning it was the first thing he asked - was it time?

He helped load wheelbarrows by putting handfuls of gravel in while we loaded them up. He helped empty the gravel into the pit by scooping out the remaining bits of stone clinging to the tipped over barrow. He used his small hand rake to spread the fill around. He entertained his sister. He tried to use the manual tamper to flatten the mass of grey. He carried Daddy's rubber mallet around when the men were putting the corner frame pieces in place.

He was earning his extra income.

I handed him a dollar first - his regular allowance. I handed him $3 next. "This is for today and for the help I know you're going to be the rest of the week as Daddy's working on the patio" I told him.

"How much do I have now?" he said, referring to the money he kept in the 'allowance bucket' until he had saved up enough to buy something. I told him he had $7.

He thought some. "I can buy a super hero with that right? They cost $5."

He's right. "But," I add, "If you wait a little longer and go shopping when you have $10 then you can get the three pack of super heroes." I gave him a few other examples of things he'd picked out at that price point.

He took that in and seemed to weigh his options. Bug mom for a trip to the store today or wait. "What about $11?" he asked. I thought he was counteroffering again. Trying to get more money from me. I told him I had no more money to give him today he'd have to earn his allowance and get paid of Friday.

He shook his head. "No, I mean what if I wait one more week. What can I buy for $11?"

I didn't have an answer for him. I had no idea. I told him as much. He grinned instead of arguing or pressing further. "What if I had a MILLION dollars! How can I get that?" he asked.

"Honey, Mommy would like a million dollars. If you find the job that can get you that, remember me, ok?"


Carmi said...

He sounds like he's getting an early start on a very healthy understanding of the value of money - not to mention a keen appreciation of what it takes to earn it.

It's comforting to see such great parenting.

Shannon said...

Isn't it just awesome when they truly understand the value of contributing?

And - wow - that's some serious work you put in over the weekend! And I thought hauling a few wheelbarrows full of mulch was hard work.