We're trying desperately over here to teach James some life lessons.
We are really trying.
With all of the Christmas, Chanukah, and birthday talk he's starting to sort of let it get to his head. Each day his daddy and I are hearing more of "I want this... I would LOVE that..." and tons of "OH but I don't like anything that I have..I want nothing.. NO! I want something new of everything!"
Well played James well played. But, it's not going to work. And also, that's annoying stuff to say. As a kid I totally would have gotten scolded for that.
See, when you don't have a lot of money for anything other than necessities (and in so many cases you can barely afford those) it's actually easier than having money. Because, you don't have a choice. You don't have the money. The money does not exist.. therefore, you can always pin it on that fact and say something like "Oh sweetie, I know you would love your 300th new car, but we have no money for a new car. New cars are not free." But more and more lately I've also been throwing in a bonus statement such as, ".. and also James, you have your birthday coming up in only a few weeks so no new toys until then."
I think that's fair. Right?
I thought so, too.
Until today... after trying to emphasize this huge life lesson about how things cost money, that he will soon get a weekly allowance, what an allowance was yada yada yada.. and more yada... James goes and grabs his piggy bank.
I'll be damned.
The kid had 10 bucks saved in there and I had no idea.
We tried our best to steer him in just saving it longer. Just add it to more birthday money or even Christmas money. But no. Do remember what is was like as a 4 year old (or even being 5) and seeing that you had money in that birthday card? It was like FIRE.
FIRE burning your hands, eyes and pockets and you just had to spend it right away. I can still remember the drool.
I remember running to the "corner store" and buying as much penny candy as I could and getting so sick from the sugar. But it was so rewarding because I bought it. All me and all mine. Didn't even have to share it.
Then you look to see that it's all gone.... the money, the candy.. just empty wrappers.
So then you start thinking about the next holiday or any event that comes up where it involves someone handing you a dollar or two or even a quarter.
So back to James...
He went and spent it on a new toy at Walmart, since I had to head there and do some grocery shopping I took him along with me. I usually don't like to do that with either kid because it's cold and flu season but it's hard to stick to that rule sometimes. Plus Natalie was out cold when I had to leave and it gave Rick an hour of peace.
I was pretty shocked because he really had his heart set on buying a car track for his cars. I actually have to admit that he really took some time to think it out. Right after putting it in the cart he took out his wad of dollar bills (5 of them to be exact) plus a 1985 $5 dollar bill, and handed it to me. I didn't even have to ask.
At the store he was perfectly well-behaved. He let me shop for an hour and 15 minutes..of course a half an hour of that was at checkout, which actually gives him even more credit. He was so patient.
So, maybe he is learning. Slowly but surely. I talked with him about how mommy and daddy have only money now for things we need and that we work very hard for our money. He seemed to soak it in. Or maybe it was because he was tuning me out and only thinking of the awesome fun he was getting ready to have with his new toy... but I think he's starting to finally get it.
Natalie sort of already does get it which is why I didn't mention much about her in this post. She didn't even get upset to see that James brought home this new toy. She understood that he saved for it and that he was the one to buy it.
Not a peep from her. She actually commented on how cool the toy was and that was that.
She's only 3 1/2 so we'll see.
But at least we're getting them to finally understand that money doesn't actually just grow on trees... or magically appear and pop out of an ATM machine at any time. But wouldn't that be nice?