Sunday, November 15, 2009

Living Math

It was just a matter of time, after my "maths" post, until Eliza would flop back on the couch with a dramatic, "whhhhhhhyyyyyy do I have to do math?????????? I haaaaaaaaaaaate schooltime." I stiffled a bit of a grin, as "schooltime", which is a term we don't even usually use, consists of 10-minute segments of sitting on the couch with mom, reading through a few pages of a book together or working our way through this new math program. I said, hey, you are really getting this stuff quickly, so let's just stop for today! And, oh, hey, why don't you grab the bowl of change and count yourself out your allowance for two weeks (which brought another stifled grin, as I never remember to give out allowance, and she never remembers to ask for it!). And by the way, just a reminder, each of those dimes is worth ten pennies, and a dollar is worth 100 pennies. Go. By the time I had gotten her money tins down for her, she had counted out the money, using skip counting by twos and tens and sorting and resorting and then suddenly - "Hey! Mama! You're making me do math!!" This time the grin was spread all the way across her face.

Dan and I have talked about wanting our kids to know more about money than we ever have. I think that would be great, but I am also not interested in raising over-eager consumers, so I have laid low on the allowance front. With our family in graduate school, Eliza hears us talk about money in ways I wish she weren't, but she also does not feel want in our family; we are well cared-for, well-fed, and healthy. We realized at some point that she in particular was picking up on money anxieties as she would often spend a great deal of time concocting grand schemes for making money to "help out". I think this is part of what got us started with allowance - wanting her to feel like there was enough for her, enough to consider making her own purchases, for saving, and even enough for sharing with others in need.

After her real life math moment, Eliza counted out the few dollars she owed me for helping her buy a doll she found at our local thrift store - the kind set up on a shelf, with a stand, the kind she gets a little breathless about and visits several times a day up in her room. When she was done, she looked at me with bright eyes - "Oh Mama, I want to buy Ani the other doll we saw for Christmas. With my own money." I loved that this is where her mind went with her piles of coins before her. The doll was at the thrift store, and only cost $5 in her frilly-dressed silken haired finery, so she managed a sneaky purchase yesterday while I distracted her sister in the crazy battery-operated toy section a few aisles away. She hid her in my closet when we got home and all throughout the day she kept catching my eye, grinning, and giving me the "thumbs up" sign. She was sooo pleased with herself, with her secret, with how capable the whole experience made her feel. I decided not to rub it in that it was math that got her there...

1 comment:

Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

Oh, I love this!! I am so excited for that gift to be given!