Something I’ve had the pleasure of discovering recently is that Abe REALLY likes to clean. And before you think I’m bragging, let me clarify: Abe likes chores that make him feel important and utilized, but he HATES cleaning up after his own self. This kid has literally rolled from my room to his, having a melt down over me asking him to clean his room. But when I ask him if he’d like to help me clean the bathroom, or if he wants to learn how to do laundry, you’d think I asked him if he’d like to go live in Disney World. The kid’s excitement over cleaning the toilet is super weird and not one I can relate to, but I’m totes gonna capitalize on this passion of his for as long as possible.
I wish I would have captured him cleaning the floor of the bathroom last week in his underwear via photo, because it was so absurd and hilarious. He was holding himself up by both feet and one arm, like an soldier in boot camp holding up a one handed push up, while scrubbing the floor with a rag using his other hand. He actually asked me to leave the bathroom so that he could make sure every spot of the floor was scrubbed, and told me he call me when it was dry. You guys- THAT FLOOR SPARKLED. I don’t get it.
Completely separate from his passion for cleaning, though, is his growing desire for more and more stuff. I’ve observed that the more stuff this kid acquires, the more stressed out he gets over who’s touching or using what, and the more control he feels he needs to have over all of his things. The little dude’s gotten stingy with his junk, and it stresses him out so bad. Sounds like most of America.
Not only does this make me reflect on my own heart and the things I want and hold dear, but it’s also got me wondering how to help him realize that more stuff does not equal happiness. I think that just comes with many conversations (you know, where your treasure is is where your heart lies also) and leading by example.
I’ve also noticed that he doesn’t understand the value of anything, because he’s never had to provide the means to obtain the stuff he has. He seriously thinks that if he breaks our flat screen tv, we can just hop in the car and drive to the store he doesn’t like (Wal-Mart) and buy a new one. HA.
So, Daniel and I have realized that it’s time for a good ol’ fashioned lesson in teaching monetary value and how to work for what you want. Hopefully, in doing so, we don’t create an arrogant little b-hole who thinks that he’s better than others because he works hard and buys his stuff. PARENTING IS HARD.
We’ll figure out the balance.
So, back to the cleaning. Since he enjoys chore-ing so much, we’ve set up a chart of weekly chores he can do along with his daily task of feeding Titan. If he completes these tasks each week, he’ll receive an allowance. We will then teach him how to save for the things he wants. And beyond saving, we want him to learn how to research what he wants to buy so that he can find the best product for the best price. I’m hoping that in doing this, it will rub off on us and maybe Daniel and I can get our act together when it comes to saving (we suck at it- can’t even lie).
I wanted Abe to have a specific place for him to save his money, a little bank if you will. So we picked up a wooden treasure box from Michaels, with a 40% off coupon (because I just cannot pay full price for anything at Michaels). I told him he could paint it however he’d like, and it would be his alone to store the allowance we give him and save for the pet turtle and roller blades he wants to buy (he is just the most 90’s child sometimes).
That little fuzzy thing on his arm makes me laugh. He loves a tiny creature.
This was actually really sweet, to watch him quietly paint his new bank… and yes, that is a gigantic jar of pastel colored gum balls, courtesy of my mother.
P.S. that’s dried chocolate all over his face. He sucked down a tube of M&M minis while I drudged through Wal-Mart for toilet paper and mouth wash. Yes, sometimes I bribe my kid with candy so that we can make it through a store.
When he was done, I asked him if he wanted to paint his name on the front, which of course he did. I know it looks like a disaster to everyone else, but it’s the cutest thing in the world to me.
So, we’ll let you know how this works out. There’s a bunch of different ways to teach your kids the things you want them to learn, but I think the one thing we have to remember is that regardless of the method (i.e. chores and allowances), lots of conversations are a good thing and necessary. I’m sure we’ll mess it up and we’ll probably have to back track and re-teach some things as we discover flaws, but I’m glad we can all three figure these things out together.
And, I bet you can guess what he’s going to name his pet turtle when he finally gets one (hint: he likes pizza, he wears a purple mask and he’s the smart one of the bunch)