Monday, May 21, 2012

The Art of the Deal

So over the weekend I started an allowance system for Sara.  She is starting to understand the very basic concept of money...that each coin and dollar represent different amounts and that you can use them to buy things that you want.  She also is really excited for the ice-cream man to start coming.  The ice cream man in expensive.  A Dora or Sponge Bob ice cream costs $2.50.  I figured this could be a good teachable moment.  Recently a friend told me that she started giving her son an allowance each week...I have been thinking about it for Sara and I thought the time was right.  She could earn small amounts of money if she does something above and beyond her usual responsibilities.  The girls need to clear their own plates, put their clothes in the hamper and pick up their toys when they are done playing.  I explained the concept to her and she was on board.

What a great way to teach the value of a dollar, delayed gratification having to save up for something special, advancing math skills, sharing and pitching in with household responsibilities and learning to be a productive, contributing member of a social group.  Generally just becoming civilized.

Doesn't that sound so intellectual and well thought out?  I know right?   Yes, I am an awesome in interviews.  Truth be told....I thought it would be a great way to enlist Sara as an indentured servant...and Anna since she always does whatever Sara does.  Cheap labor....plain and simple.

Well, you know what they say about best laid plans...This deal has been in place for about 3 days and in that time Sara has become a master negotiator.  She has decided that she is in charge of the living room.  She has been doing a great job keeping it picked up.  She even dusted in there today!  She even subcontracts out the stuffed animal roundup...that is Anna's job. It is so funny to hear her delegate tasks to Anna and Anna is eating it up...doing whatever Sara asks. They each get $.50 for cleaning the living room.

So that is all well and good.  But now she goes around the house looking for things to put away..."Hey mom how much will you give me if I put Dad's shoes in the closet?"..."Mom, if I feed the cats cat treats will you give me a quarter?"..."Mom, I just saw some dirt under the table if I sweep it up can I have a dollar?"...this goes on all day long.  This afternoon she picked up one of Anna's toys and said I am going to put this away so I can get another quarter.  I told her no, that she was not going to get a quarter for putting 1 toy away..she looked at me disgusted, put it right back down on the floor and walked away.  I told her that we are Lavallee's not Kardashian's that we need to actually do something to earn a living.  The message was lost on her.  I tried another approach...the whole honest day's work for an honest day's pay.  That laziness doesn't pay.  She could not have cared less. 

Yesterday she gave me $.05 for helping them clean up...she then took it back because she said that I did not work that hard to earn the money.  So I am torn...should I be worried that she is not learning the correct life lessons...or should I be proud that I am raising a future financial mogul that will eventually take care of me in my old age?  Either way I TV room has not been this clean in a few years.

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