So my 4-year-old, Reya has been showing a lot of interest in the local currency. Denominations, using coins instead of notes, basic addition and subtraction, helping with paying at the store- she’s been really enjoying the concept of Money.
We also use a reward system, wherein she can earn tokens for completing her chores or helping around the house. This is her “allowance” to access new books/fun activities at the end of the month. I’ve found it to to be a simple system, because she understands that everything has value and so she looks forward to earning fun stuff with no pressure.
Still with me? Ok.
Now being the planner I am, I thought our natural, next step was a piggy bank. Hey, she likes money and this would be an interesting way for her to understand the basics of earning, saving and spending. I rushed to Amazon, found a kid friendly piggy Bank/money safe and ordered it, hoping to raise the next Narayana Murthy - a responsible, mindful spender.
Prime 2-day Delivery.
The Money safe arrived, pink and snazzy. She checked it out, amazed at the many features and the springy buttons. I told her it was voice activated (it wasn’t 😁) and she spent the next 10 minutes commanding it (
“piggy bank, please open now”); while I laughed and laughed behind a book.
the giggling was done, she asked me if she could have money. Now I’d set aside some petty cash for this purpose, so I sat her down and explained that this was real money. Once there was sufficient cash, she had two choices. Either use it to buy items or save for a rainy day. She nodded, her large eyes shining with the weight of this new power, and we agreed on a passcode (the safe came with a combination lock on the door). Soon a little pink hand reached out to push the first deposit into the safe.
Satisfied, I walked away, patting myself on a job well done. This was so helpful! Soon, she’d save money and understand responsibility and….well, let’s
just say, I let myself dream a little.
Then, all hell broke loose.
An unholy scream come from the general direction of the playroom.
I rushed, expecting to see blood, or worse, a mess.
“What, what Reya? Are you ok?”
“Yes, love? Why did you scream so loudly?”
“We’re hungry Amma!”
“We? Who’s we?”
“Puppy, Peach and me. All three of us are hungry.”
I looked around and did a quick headcount. No matter which way I added, the answer was two. 2 people - one Reya and one Puppy.
“Amma, look! Peach’s tummy is so empty.”
So I asked the obvious question.
“Peach? Who’s Peach?”
“Amma, oh silly Amma. Peach is my Piggy Bank.”
Ohhh. All right. Ok. Let me fix you a snack.”
“No! I’m Peach’s mommy, so I have to make her a snack. You can be my helper.”
20 tedious minutes in the kitchen and the “three” girls (Reya, Puppy and Peach 🤦🏻♀️) sat eating cheese and fruits. Fine. Fine.
The next thing I hear?
“Amma, Peach has a dirty diaper, and she needs it cleaned.”
And “Peach is so sleepy, can she take a nap, on my lap? Blanket Amma! She needs a blanket!”
I opened my mouth a few times to protest the sheer absurdity of this line of thinking. But you know little girls. My daughter, is a force of nature, especially when her imagination has free rein. So there may
be starving kids in Africa, but God Forbid “Peach” gets her sippy cup of Juice one second later.
Now call me judgmental, but my feelings towards Peach were souring by the minute.And from the glazed look in Puppy’s eyes, I could sense she agreed with me.
I furtively checked Amazon return policies, while Reya kept coming up with new activities for the piggy-bank-that-was-somehow-her-baby-God-help-me.
Peach is bored. Can we play hide-and-seek?”
“Peach wants candy. I’ll help her eat it.” (How convenient.)
By mid-evening, I’d heard the most ludicrous one.
“Amma, I think she’d like her nails colored.” (How? How do you put nail polish on a piggy bank? Seriously, how? And why?)
I sighed, as she got out her makeup kit. Puppy took one look at the colorful, funny smelling polish bottles and bolted from the room. Traitor!
A little squeaky voice piped up.
“Amma would you like to put nail polish on Peach? If you do a good job, I will put some for your toes too!”
With that, the last of the light left my eyes, and I gave in to the madness.
J R D Tata. Martha Stewart. Dhirubhai Ambani. Warren Buffett. They swam against the tide and dominated the world. I’m sure they had supportive mothers, who did everything in their power to raise financial moguls. I’ve always admired those women behind the scenes.
But hours later, as I sat singing a lullaby to a plastic money safe (probably made in China), I wondered if it might be wiser to raise a Rocket Scientist. Or a Starbucks Barista.
The night is long, and I’m
starting to lose sensation in my feet. Oh well, enough talking. The stupid Piggy Bank might wake up.
Pray for me. Or better, send help!