In an attempt to teach our children about earning and saving their money, we have been giving them 'coins' when they clean up their toys at night. Not every night...I mean, they don't get coins every night but they do have to clean up their toys (most) every night. It's usually a penny but sometimes a quarter. Whatever is in my husband's pocket.
They have no idea what it's worth or what can be done with it except putting it into a piggy bank they each have on their window sill. They know that Dora gets coins from her backpack sometimes to get things like ice cream after they have spent 20 minutes chasing the ice cream truck down through lakes full of alligators and forests full of snakes. So they get excited about the coins. Bubs like to take his piggy bank and say 'shake shake shake' while he is 'shake shake shake'ing the piggy bank. The shaking has gotten very loud as the number of coins has grown.
We decided to take a road trip!
Daddy told the kids they could buy something at Wal-mart with their own money. Brooklyn immediately said 'a purple dress for barbie?!' She's been asking for awhile now for a purple dress for her one and only Barbie that we got for free at the thrift store around Christmas time. Bubs didn't know what anyone was talking about. He kept shoving peanut butter toast in his mouth.
We got dressed for the anticipated warmth of the day and got on the road. Wal-mart is a 30 minute drive north of here. And there is a Wendy's across the street. We don't have any of those. We only have McD's and a few other chains that we aren't big fans of. So everyone was the anxious tingle of excitement. get out of town, beautiful weather!, wendy's, purple dress for barbie!, and probably a truck.
Ever since our arrival we had been turning on the portable DVD player for all trips outside of town. This, so far, it includes the 30 minute drive to Wal-mart and the 1 hr 15 min drive to Critter and Debel's house. Brooklyn, Jackson, and I have not traveled out of the county in 7 mos. WHAT?!
Anyway, I realized that it was totally ridiculous and not OK to let our children watch a show on the 20 minute drive to wal-mart. These kids were born in St. Louis where we had to drive at least 20-25 minutes to get anywhere!
So, this time I said not a word about movies or shows or watching. Nothing. I just said 'get some books and a toy you want with you' Brooklyn brought two books and her Barbie (of course) and Bubs brought his BB (his blankie). We road with the windows down and the music up....oh wait this is not that kind of road trip. Children were involved. It was more like, windows down, 'Momma, it's cold I don't like that wind' Windows partially up. 'Momma, I dont like that!' My window up. Passenger window down. Music on and up. 'momma fjfdksa;fd jfsaklfdja (something unintelligible)' music off 'what baby girl?' 'fjdsakfds fjdsaklfdjsa; more unintelligible' music back on...and back and forth.
But everyone was happy.
Of course, the first thing we had to do upon our arrival at Wal-mart (despite all the other shopping we had come to do) was find a purple dress for Barbie. We hit the truck aisle first so I picked out some trucks for Bub to choose between. I held three up and said 'Choose one truck Bub' 'ok, yes' he took all three. So we did the exercise again until he realized he could really only get one truck.
Next was Barbie aisle!
Brooklyn walked up and down and up and down that aisle. And of course the only things that are on her level are the big Barbie houses and expensive things that her little $4 wont' be able to buy. I told her she had $4 so she needed to look for a #4. Up and down she perused so intensely 'Let's see here. What we get barbie? Let's see...' And as I perused the top I realized that the only thing she would be able to afford was a SKANKY dress. It was super uber duper short, and leopard print and it plunged and I thought 'ABSOLUTELY not. Especially not now when you are still 2. And probably not ever.' And of course the more 'tasteful' (I mean barbie herself isn't exactly tasteful...but I'm not here to argue about the merits and demerits (??) of Barbie) clothes were too expensive. Ever so hesitatingly and cautiously I leaned down and said 'Sis. I don't think we are going to find something here.' Quick thinking which is not a skill I normally posses led me to say the most brilliant tantrum saving statement 'let's go to the thrift store when we get home and see what they have there.' The response from my intense, independent, strong-willed, I-know-what-I-want-and-I-want-it-now child was 'ok momma. sure! We go to thrift store find a purple dress for Barbie!' And just like that we were on our way down the milk aisle.
While we were there we also picked out some big boy underwear for Bub! I picked out some that I like and asked what he thought. He shook his head vehemently and said 'NO NO NO' and pointed to the far side of the boys underwear section. it took me a few minutes to figure out what he was pointing towards. CARS! he wanted the Cars underwear! So he got them. He was quite proud.
It got rough towards the end. We were tired of being in the huge store with lots of people and those obnoxious florescent lights. So we went to Wendy's for a quick snack. And Brooklyn sang the WHOLE way home. And Bubs took a snooze. The only time that I thought I might have lost her was when I said 'We are almost home' and she got the 'I'm going to cry' voice on and said 'I dont want to go home! I go to thrift store and get purple dress for Barbie!' I quickly saved that one and we were on our way again with Old MacDonald keeping us company.
We stopped at one of our town's three thrift stores. And they did not have anything to satisfy the specific needs of this 2.5 year old. So we made a deal to go to the other thrift store after naps. Still no tantrum!
We got home, ate lunch outside, and took naps. And first thing when she woke up was 'It's time to go to thrift store!'
We are a short 8 or so blocks from this store. We took a walk, on which The Wheels on the Bus kept us company (I think someone was so excited!) Brooklyn and Bubs spontaneously held hands most of the way there and I thought I was going to have a heart attack watching them be so gentle and kind with one another.
We walked into the store and she found what she wanted almost immediately. It was purple, it was pink. But this was it. She held onto it for dear life while we wondered aimlessly around the store and I found some awesome cowgirl boots for $3!
We set our stuff on the counter, B opened her money bag and pulled out her $.50 and handed it to the lady. She was nervous, and proud, and her joy was bubbling out all over the place. I tried to remind her that it was HER money that SHE had earned by doing her 'chores'. But she just kept looking at her new toy.