Allowance Day

It’s been a busy week. Peanut has been talking about getting something for the baby. A doll, he says, is what the baby needs. “I have money in my lion bank…maybe I could buy a doll for baby.”

We’ve never done the real money thing, the ‘go to the store and buy something you choose and evaluate and weigh the value of’ kind of thing. We put everything he wants on a list and he gets some of it for Chrismakkah and birthday. He never, ever gets something unplanned at a store. Ever. If we announce we’re going to the store for Playdough, fine. But if we get there and remember Playdough, it goes on a mental list for next time.

So he decided yesterday that he wanted to take his money and go to the store (where he weeks ago had a major meltdown about a blue frog, about how the blue frog was coming home with him and he didn’t want a birthday list he wanted to just take things. We made it out of the store after a lot of patient explaining that we couldn’t take and that I didn’t have money for a blue frog but that if it was on his list I would save and by Chrismakkah I might. He offered to take one for baby, too, back a month ago or so, but I wasn’t gonna fall for that.)

So we counted his money yesterday and went to the store and he picked out the same blue frog—one for him and one for baby. And when he heard what it cost, he chose something smaller for the baby.

Behold: Madeline the Monkey (gift from M.N. last Thanksgiving) with baby’s green frog and new, as-yet-unnamed blue frog named Pilot for his ability to spot airplanes.

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Very sweet. And today he wanted to take the rest of his money and buy me a hippo he saw at the store. So we talked about saving and about spending and about having some left for next time. And he still wanted to buy me the hippo. So I reminded him about the doll on his birthday list. Much better idea, he said. Small problem, I noted, dolls that he likes cost way more than the money he has left. His doll, apparently, needs to have a button for talking and must close its eyes and nod when he nurses it. (You must know it’s killing me not to comment on most of these pint-sized proclamations.)

So we introduced allowance. He’s a big fan of Frances, including A Baby Sister for Frances, in which our heroine mentions her allowance. So we told Peanut about allowance. And about taxes. And after some wrangling, we gave him his first weekly stipend: two quarters, two dimes, two nickels, and three pennies. And he paid his taxes a day early. (We were going to come for them Sunday, but he said why wait? My kind of guy.) We suggested one nickle and one penny as a not quite ten percent tax. He said no way. How about two dimes? Without getting into percentages (that was, like, 23%, that offer), we settled on one dime each week for taxes on his 83 cents.

His tax bracket sucks, since he doesn’t understand that pennies, his favorite, are not worth as much as a dime, his least favorite.

Sigh. Clearly he’s not ready to babysit. But maybe by then the frog Pilot will be.