Monday, August 30, 2010

Kids and Money

As a person, I don't think money is very important. I don't strive to be rich - it's not an ambition of mine. I know if we won 2 million dollars, it would probably make my marriage harder and my life LESS happy. I do strive to save, and I also try to be frugal.

As parents, we take many opportunities to teach kids about money. One of my pet peeves is being asked this question by my stepkids:

"Kate, do you have enough money to buy ______________"

or this statement:

"oh, we can't buy that because we don't have enough dollars"

One of my older children has it stuck in his head that you make your purchasing decisions based on whether or not you HAVE money.

The only reason not to buy anything is because you don't have enough.
Buying something is a decision based purely on actually having the money.

He's heard this reasoning many times, over and over again from elsewhere. This mentality is proving very difficult to unlearn. We are teaching them, directly and indirectly, about budgetting, saving, and making decisions based on needs first. Conversations still emerge, almost daily:

"Kate, can we get McDonald's for dinner?"

"No, Thomas"

"Oh. We don't have enough money for McDonald's?"

"That's not it, Thomas"

"Well, why don't we get McDonald's then?"

I have never used "we don't have enough money for ______________" as an excuse. Perhaps I have said, "I don't want to spend my money on that" or "We need to save our money, we have other more important things to use it for right now".

Recently, I heard a radio DJ talking about credit increases on credit cards. "Just imagining what I could do with the extra money!" he was saying. He went on about this - never showing any signs of awareness that a credit increase isn't EXTRA MONEY. It's extra debt .. if you use it. No wonder kids are so confused.

One exercise we found to be pretty successful was sitting our oldest two kids down with a list of all the types of expenses our household must pay in a month and having them guess how much had to be spent on each. We then went through and gave them actual figures with an approximate "income" figure to cover everything. Not every family is comfortable sharing that information with their kids, but I'm glad we did as they appreciate how budgeting works a whole lot better.

What ideas do you have for teaching kids about money?

Friday, August 20, 2010

On Sharing

It's interesting that my husband posted about "terrible two's" this morning, because I already had a similar post forming in my own little brain.

With my oldest and middle children I didn't hear "NO MINE!" anywhere near as much as I do with Charlie. And I have determined this is because we spend so much time with Charlie's good friend Jordyn. My other children did not have another 2 year old invading their home and rifling through their stuff :) Anna had her cousin Ryleigh, and they did fight over things as well but at the age of 2 they did not see eachother quite so much as Charlie and Jordyn do. Cole - he had Thomas - but Thomas is so laid back and Cole has almost always been very willing to share his stuff.

But Charlie and Jordyn don't live together and they are not family and they have to sort this whole thing out and that is why I am posting my thoughts on the matter.

A recent clash while camping (where there were 3 girls aged almost 4 to 4 and a half, and 3 two year olds who were all within 6 weeks of age of eachother - that being - JUST two) got me thinking about how we as parents get our toddlers and preschoolers though this age where sharing is such an issue.

Charlie has a backpack full of his favourite stuff (cars and duplo) in the cabin where we were all hanging out during a storm, and he was over tired. He was losing his cool about other kids playing with his toys.

I could attempt to force him to share. Because sharing is good.
I could tell the other kids that they are Charlie's favourite toys and he doesn't want to share
I could take all the toys away.

What I have observed most often at playgrounds, playgroups, etc - is the attempt to force sharing option.

Sometimes this works, but is it really fair? In the same livingroom that day, I picked up the 10 year olds iPod and his brother piped up and informed me that I'd better not touch it because it's his brothers. Well, Okay then. The 10 year old doesn't have to share.

Should my 2 year old understand that his beloved cars are fair game to be played with by anyone who shows interest in them? That seems a little out of reach for a 2 year old and really - not the way we operate as adults. Do we lend out our car to somebody who wants it - somebody we don't really know all that well? Of course not. And if somebody took it without our permission, I think we'd be pretty upset. If my close friend wanted to borrow my car, that would be a different story - but I don't expect my 2 year old to understand friendship that well.

Normally Charlie will let others play with his thing, but that is where the OVERTIRED came in to play. There was no negotiation or soothing that the other kids would give back the cars when they are done. So the toys went away and distraction was brought forward.

Why do *we* as parents *make* kids share? Why do we firmly insist that our young child give up something of theirs when they do not want to - so that another child can have a turn? (I am not talking about taking turns with a swing at the park or an activity).

The way I see it - encouraging kids to share, modeling generosity, but not forcing the issue works better. The child does not feel violated and therefore even more possessive of their things. By NOT *making* your 2 year old share, you are actually helping them to be generous and giving and willing to share as they get older. A little encouragement and praise when they get it right will go a long way. Sometimes you can help the other kid who wants the toy understand and find something similar to do. Sometimes you have to just put the toys away. And sometimes telling your child that the other child will give it back and "see how happy they are to have a turn!" is enough to end the issue.

When I see a parent rip a reclaimed toy out of their childs hands and hand it back to the child who wanted to play with it, with their child screaming, kicking, arching their back and inconsolable - I feel pretty bad for that child. Obviously they don't understand sharing. In my opinion - the snatching by the parent and the overwhelming frustration by the child are not the circumstances and actions that foster a calmer and more giving reaction from that child next time. But that's just the way I see it ;)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Silver Lake

Recipe for Camping:
Get lots of rest

Enjoy the view

Play a little

expect a healthy dose of serious work
(I didn't stage that photo, that's real road construction by Charlie)

Cool off with water

Hang out with your friend

Explore nature

Climb on things and feel tall

Make new friends with people and wild life

Don't be afraid to get muddy

join in,

embrace the sticky situations and move on.

Friday, August 13, 2010


In honour of our youngest's 2nd birthday, I am going to post about his very "2" behaviour

Tonight, Charlie threw water in my face from a full cup. twice. He moves quickly, I'm still not sure how he managed to pull off the second throw. He was laughing in between and after and was in the bath at the time.

Tonight, Charlie started strutting his way into our parking lot. When I called after him, he ran for it - giggling.

If Charlie is done eating, he tosses his food on the floor. He figures he gets bonus points if you try to stop him but he still beats you to it.

Last time I wore a dress, Charlie discovered it is HILARIOUS to run up behind me and lift the back of it up. He did not do this once. He did it whenever David wasn't physically restraining him. He loves the reaction he gets. Unfortunately, it's difficult to ignore his lifting my dress up in public.

A couple days ago, Charlie ran up to me and smacked me across the face with a toy.. for fun. He was very sorry afterwards, but he thought it would be funny when he did it.

Charlie has a tendency to spit out whatever he is drinking...

Charlie is the only person who has ever (repeatedly) thought it was a good idea to tickle me. I hate to be tickled. He loves that I hate it.

Whenever Charlie misbehaves, he is very sincere when he says sorry. He also gives awesome hugs. Charlie is so unlike every other child in our family. Which goes to show how very different kids can be :)

We love our Charlie, he has more spunk than he knows what to do with. Which is basically our "problem" :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Flyer Route

Haley has a flyer route. It was her idea to get the flyer route. She started the second week of June. She has already had 4 weeks off to go to Colorado, and now she wants to quit at the end of summer.

I believe this flyer route pays her fairly. Having done the route myself, I can do it in its entirety and earn $10/hour. Therefore, she is being paid "minimum wage" if she works quickly and I would be more inclined to agree with her desire to quit if the pay was unfair.

But I don't agree with her quitting. I think the lesson that earning money IS actually work and that jobs are NOT "fun" is a good lesson. An important lesson. And furthermore, letting her quit as soon as she realizes her job isn't as fun as doing whatever she wants on Thursday afternoon - is perhaps worse than if she'd never taken the job in the first place.

Putting together flyers takes her 90 minutes, during which she can listen to her music to pass the time. It is not exactly torture. Delivering the flyers - so far - has been in good weather and she is outside walking the neighbourhood for an hour and a half. She doesn't have to deal with coworkers (other than her siblings, whom she chooses to "hire") or an unfair boss. She has a responsibility and only herself to make it happen. The working conditions aren't so bad :) (although they might be in January).

$100/month is a lot of money to a 12 year old. A 12 year old who has, on many occassion, complained about her lack of funds and pointed out how she wants to earn money by doing extra chores so often in the past year.

Newsflash, Haley - *I* will not pay you $10/hour to clean my house (talk to me when you can clean it as fast as I can, then we'll see about that) :)

Tomorrow I take her to the bank to open her account and deposit her first two months of paychecks. We'll see if she has a change of heart when she finally has some money to go along with all of her hard work.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I like

I like....

Happy / positive people

The smell of grass


Hearing what my children think about the world




Being outside

The windows down

When I wake up early and don't feel tired

The sounds outside before 7:00am

When my children try something new

When my children try their best

Cream of wheat


Being cold while I sleep

Being warm while awake

A little contradiction in life

Doing laundry

Cloth diapers


Finding a better way to do something



Giving presents

Hogging the bed

Camping (even though it is evil)

Water slides


Indian food

Being away from the city


The beautiful people who read my blog :) lol

Monday, August 9, 2010

My (Little) Boy

My big baby

Who laughed at 5 weeks

So tall he needed 18 month sized clothes at 5 months of age

Happy unless tired or hungry

But happy enough to eat

and cute enough when asleep.

A Brother to many

who was quick to learn to talk

and took his time to learn to walk

Loves to copy us

Even if it's trying on summer clothes that aren't quite his..

Finder of trouble

and not afraid to be different

try new things

Or meet new people

My Baby Boy


Happy Birthday Charlie!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


OrlandoThursday, August 05, 2010

Coming back to Canada - I miss warm water. The water at Sandi's pool today was 83. This is not cold. But it is compared to 100F.

It is 30C here and has been basically the entire summer. it's probably about 33C with the humidity. I don't really know because I've been too busy to pay attention other than to note that it is hot and I am sweaty and perhaps miss air conditioning (a lot).

In Florida, it was 102F without the humidity factored in. That's pretty dang hot. But that kind of hot doesn't bother me one bit when I'm in warm water.

Our favourite day of the holiday (and by "our" I mean David and myself) was at Aquatica.

Unfortunately, we did not bring our camera with us to Aquatica. Being that we spent the day barefoot and wet in bathingsuits, our Canon Rebel did not need to be a part of that. And our little camera got left behind.

Our kids loved Aquatica. We were there for almost 12 hours. It was a fabulous, non touristy, fun, amazing, day of water slides, riding the rapids, pools, waves, little slides, big slides.

We did Disney World, Magic Kingdom 2 days before we went to Aquatica.

Disney was an experience. They do rides so much better than they do at Canada's Wonderland. The efficiency, the quality, the "wow" factor.

I am so glad we took our little kids there. Seeing Cinderella's Castle was a thrill for Anna

And I just can't see her believing in the magic of Disney the same way she does now when she is 8 or 9. Charlie was amazing that day. I don't think he fussed or complained or cried at any point. He was just happy to be there and see and do everything we did. We got to the park before opening and stayed until almost 11pm. It was a long day.

And the Buzz Lightyear Ride was way cool

And Fast Pass is "way cool" too. Waiting in line is no fun. One time we waited in line for 20 minutes. the rest of the day was 1 minute to 10 minutes. This is one of the things that rocked about Disney. Somehow you still get to do stuff and not stand around waiting even in July which is their busiest month (or so I am told).

Everybody in this picture is melting. It was unbelievable how hot it was to stand in the sun for even 20 seconds. We found shade for this.

Somehow I acquired the wisdom to bring a spray bottle with us. Spray bottle for $1 from the dollar store was our all day air conditioning.

And I waited until the sun went down before I peaked in the princess store. I wish I had taken pictures of all the dresses.

I died a litte when I saw the price tag - $60 USD. I snuck in without Anna so I could see what was there and make a decision with David before I actually went in the store with Anna. There were a million things in that store that she would love, but I knew what she would go for. And when I took her in, she went right for it.

And she could not believe she was actually going to get it.

and yet she somehow managed to get a crown out of the deal too. Mommy is a softy.

I don't think anything could make Anna happier than this dress. She wore it to daycare on Wednesday. I sent a change of clothes. She changed into the clothes to eat lunch and sleep, but after the nap she went up to her teacher and said "I am ready to be Aurora again" and they let her change back into it.

I wish we stayed in Orlando longer. But we will be back again :)