Thursday, February 23, 2012

Money management

Today was another day when I scheduled too much.

After we davened, I asked 7 yo whether we should start with chumash. He said, yes. I wrote a bunch of mi amar el mi, he answered them quickly. Two were wrong. When I asked him to look them up, he just tried guessing. I asked him to open the chumash and look inside. He started moping and claiming that he did not want to do chumash. I said that we'll review and then do two pesukim and they are short. After more hesitation, he found them. Then I asked to review pesukim from yesterday. More resistance. I sort of brought up the "vayomer" issue. He said that it is probably just one mal'ach talking. I said that it could be someone in charge of overturning the plain. His eyes lit up. Then we did new pesukim. I explained Tzoar according to Rashi. He drew a map illustrating where Lot was going.

Then we went to Costco. The boys brought their allowance. Inside the store I insisted that boys walk together. I have a juicy story of 5 yo running away and hiding behind canoes and me having to alert workers to find him. ( FYI, Costco, does not do a floor page for anything, so try not to lose your kids there). They did stay together. They could not find toy section, the gift-giving season being over. I got my items and the boys showed up with: kite for 5 yo and sand play kit for 7 yo.

My policy on allowance is that I give it to you weekly, you give tzedakah and the rest is for you to do as you wish. I do not buy them toys. I do not buy them soda. I do not remind them to bring their allowance, but I do not manage how they spend it. I think it is better to learn money management this way than wait till you are older and the mistakes that you make are much larger. I went away for high school and was faced with the problem of managing very limited money without being able to work. Growing up, whenever I was gifted any money, it went to my parents. Needless to say, there was a sharp learning curve and I am naturally tight-fisted. It takes a lot for me not say anything when I see kids choosing to spend their money recklessly, but I am hoping that some recklessness now will help bigger lessons to sink in in the long run.

So they got their toys. They also got chips and cookies from the vending machine ( their money). On the way over and back, we listened to Purim music. I explained mishenichnas Adar, marbim besimcha. Then there was layehudim haita ora. I asked boys to guess when we say this. They seemed confused. I said that daddy says this every week. 5 yo guessed havdalah. Then he asked whether driving up to NY is going north. I confirmed. Then we discussed how NY is really to the north-east, while Toronto, where we went last summer, is truly north. 7 yo piped in that Lake Ontario is in the way of going straight north. Then he went on about which lake borders which state. This kid enjoys poring over maps, tracing rivers, studying borders, the sort of creative activities that I would like him to do, only he comes up with them on his own. The results stick better, too.

When we got home, they helped me unload the car. I got a large platter of macaroons for Pesach, but 2 yo picked it up awkwardly and half of them became squirrel food.

Then I was rushing through formal schoolwork, hoping to get to Adar project. It did not go so well. At some point, 7 yo did finish planned activities. Then he suggested using rice in his sand kit. I hesitantly agreed. He happily played with it. Creative thinking, out-of-the-box thinking, we got that. But that creativity produced quite a mess.

By clean-up time, it did not look so good. He felt that other kids made more mess. He did not do a good job sweeping spilled rice and then sulked. He talked about losing his temper. At some point, I lost mine and sent him to his room. After some minutes passed, he asked for a dictionary. I told he can get it, unsure what was his plan. A few minutes later, he told me that he looked up "temper" and now he's sorry, because he did not realize how bad it was what he was saying. I like to see internal guilt, instead of external pressure to improve behavior.

Looking forward to Rosh Chodesh pizza dinner.

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