For the Love of Money

Things are changing in my home.

It was inevitable, I suppose, as my children grew older.

Yes, I knew it was coming, but I was not fully prepared for the severity and quick onset of a little mindset I like to call,

"the Mr. Potter".

You remember this character. He was the villain in the classic movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart. Fantastic movie.

Potter is a miserable old man totally obsessed with the accumulation of money. He's willing to do just about anything to acquire more, including lie, steal, and cheat. It's not a pretty sight.

Two of my three children still have virtually no understanding of the value of money. They couldn't tell the difference between a $1 bill and a $100 bill and would quickly hand over either one for a stick of gum. This can be quite handy when the tooth fairy visits and they are ecstatic when she leaves them a quarter.

As for the third child?

Meet Mr. Potter in the form of an 8-year-old girl.

Her appreciation for money has only recently begun, and can be traced back to her desire for an iPod touch.

We, as the kill joy parents, have required that she save the money necessary to buy one of these babies herself.

After all, we figure if she actually has to work for it, she'll be far more likely to treat it well and not lose it within the first 24 hours of owning it.

We thought it was a fairly ingenious plan, to tell you the truth. Why?

1. She will learn the value of money and how to save.

2. We will be able to get her to cooperate with household chores and helping out.

3. She will learn that she has to resist the temptation of impulse buys if she wants to be able to buy the bigger item down the road.

These sound good, right?

Well, these are the things we did not factor in when we came up with our plan.

Exhibit A:

I found this little sign taped to her door.

I've written about my children's obsession with tape in recent months. Their obsession continues.

She is now charging her baby sisters five bucks for the privilege of sleeping in her bed with her. She has dropped her rates from the original price of $10, but only because one of her baby sisters began crying when she didn't have that much liquid cash on hand.

At five bucks, it's a real bargain, she'd say, though I would personally would probably charge more for anyone who sleeps in my bed while wearing a pull-up.

Exhibit B:

Yesterday I found Leighanne breaking into her piggy bank and eagerly grabbing a dollar her grandmother sent her for valentine's day.

Why, you ask?

Her big sister had offered to draw a portrait of her for cash.

And it should be noted here that I cannot show a picture of the actual piggy bank as it seems to be missing at the moment. I am not waking sleeping children to ask questions regarding its whereabouts.

Exhibit C:

Homemade feather clips.

My little entrepreneur ripped feathers off a dress-up costume and connected it to a barrette.

She sold it to her best friend down the street. I still don't know how much it cost.

I would not be surprised to find watches located inside her coat or candy cigarettes being sold under wraps.

So watch out, friends and family. This kid is determined. She is totally dedicated to raising the funds necessary, by however means necessary, to secure her longed for iPod touch. For the most part I won't get in the way of her fund raising tactics. I have discouraged her from ripping off children who don't know better, but if she wants to sweep out the garage or pull weeds I'm willing to play along. However, the day I find her fashioning for sale signs around her baby sisters' necks, I will likely have to intervene, especially if I see the words "Quick Sale" or "Estate Sale" painted on their signs.


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