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Overnight, it seems, my daughter has become obsessed with money. She and Martin have had piggybanks since they were very small, promotional items from our bank, two fat translucent piggies with a lock in the bottom, one red, one blue. They have collected coins of all denominations and currencies up to and including the plastic ones that came with her Baby's First Cash Register.

We are careful not to indiscriminately purchase everything and anything our children desire, perhaps sometimes to the point of going overboard (I have steadfastly refused to let any other form of gaming enter the household besides PC games) but I really firmly believe that they already have too much stuff, of which more than half sits on shelves and collects dust the vast majority of the time. Before we did a massive cleanout some months ago, the amount of little plastic toys in the playroom was truly staggering. Thus, my parental parsimony when it comes to indiscriminate purchases.

They used to play with the coins they had collected in their piggybanks much the same way they played with their plastic animals or Pokémon figures: lining them up, putting them in groups based on their similarities (copper-colored, silver-colored, holes-in-the-center). But lately, they are counting the values of the coins, adding up how much money they have, and making distinctions between the coins that can be used here (Swedish kronor, Euros when we're in Germany, Danish kronor when we're in Copenhagen) and the ones that are, for all intents and purposes, worthless: plastic, out-of-circulation, retired). Since we have no plans to travel to the States any time soon, the American coins tend to end up in that last pile.

Martin learned during math lessons the value of money, the various denominations and how to add and subtract them. Karin hasn't had those lessons yet, but an instinctively covetous nature has suddenly blossomed and our Little Mercenary is determinedly squirreling away every bit of cash she can get her hands on and begging me to take her to the mall so she can "buy new toys." She's actually been twice to the mall, heavy wallet stuffed with coins clutched in her hand, and carefully stalked up and down the aisles of the toy stores without finding anything that was worth parting with her money for (to my surprise).

They are not allowed to buy candy, except when we buy it with them for Friday/Saturday myskvälls (10 pieces each) and they don't, yet, get any kind of allowance. We have talked about instituting some sort of earning system, but not yet done anything about it, and have joked with the kids that they can earn money quickly from us by learning how to clean toilets and mop floors. So far, they haven't taken us up on it.

Yesterday, after our midsummer celebration feast with friends up in Älmhult, we were regaling our companions with tales about Karin's prowess in providing her own musical accompaniment in the form of underarm-farting. I never learned this fine art, but Karin, under her father's tutelage, has become a master and can keep the—er—beat to any tune she chooses. She has brought us to tears and gasping with her renditions of Mössens Julafton and other childhood tunes, both Swedish and English.

Last week, she reduced us to incoherent laughter by pooting along at superspeed to the German song that I taught the kids for John and Simone's wedding (we never actually sang it at the wedding, but we DID sing it—sans underarm accompaniment—for Simone's parents, much to their delight). So, of course, our friends wanted to see the prodigy for themselves, but she refused to perform, pleading stage fright and repeatedly declaring that it was too embarrassing...until I told her to ask for 10 kronor from her audience members for an exclusive performance. You could practically see the kronor signs replace the lens' in her eyes, just like Scrooge McDuck. She agreed, provided I sang with her.

Judging from the reactions and the amount of money she raked in, I think we've got a star on our hands, if we can just find a stage manager who can keep a straight face.

A Bonanza of Birthday Wishes to verian!
mood: amused
music: Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Soundtrack—Close Every Door


Oh, that gave me a good laugh!

the amount of money she raked in, I think we've got a star on our hands, if we can just find a stage manager who can keep a straight face.

there must be a new way to make money every minute. Hide her away - or Swedish idol, or the Eruovision song contest will snap her up.

Me. I always thoughts armpits were for making burgers....

I always knew that girl's precocious nature would take her far. ;-)


Go, Karin! Way to sell that talent!

You know I'm such a sucker for Karin stories. I never cultivated a gift for underarm farting, I'm afraid now it's too late!


That is too funny. Wait til you torture her with that story on her first date :)

Karen just cracks me up. ;-)

Have you ever considered doing radio essays? So many of your posts here resonate with me, on the same wavelength as pieces I've heard on NPR. (I have no idea how one would go about submitting such things, but it was a stray thought, and I'm trying to tidy up. *g*)

Augh. K-A-R-I-N. (I have absolutely NO excuse, particularly as I have a sister so named -- and spelled!)

eek! no, I haven't :) I don't know how to go about submitting such things either, and not sure I would be any good at it.

Sorry that I KEEP forgetting how old your kids are, but when they were in second and third grades respectively, we started our household chore training in earnest. They got allowances, though JF favored the each job gets a certain amount method, until it was clear that Natasha was going to earn her way to vast riches and Raf was going to get nothing because he had no motivation to make money at all. So: allowances and job training. They did not get a choice. They DID learn sinks and toilets, floor washing, running the vac, set and clear the table, load the dishwasher, put dishes away. We had a daily 30 minutes of chores per day except on weekends, plus "kitchen duty" which included weekends. I am convinced this regime, which none of my friends except Suzan in TX, could even remotely get their kids to do, has contributed to the fact that I can leave my house for 8 months with them in in and not worry one bit.

That's about the ages our kids are, and I need to institute something similar. They do help clear their own dishes and wipe their placemats at dinner, and they do pick up their rooms when told and put their clothes away, but they ALWAYS have to be told (and often threatened :) so we need to be a bit more consistent about chores.

We had a definite schedule. Mondays, Toilets and Tubs/Vacuum Living area, Tuesday, Sinks/Kitchen floor...that kind of thing. Actually I think toilets was one day, tubs another, sinks, bathroom floor, kitchen floor, vacuum various that each task was broken down into smallish, 15 minute jobs, but each kid had a job every day at a specific time. They were NOT asked to do anything. It was "chore time" and that was that. But it's also true that I spent quite a while on training. Later, we found a great is escaping me...which gives a really interesting system...Raf and I have used that to great success. The name will come to me. What's important is SHORT chore times, good training on HOW, with step-by-step breakdown of tasks, and no discussion.

If you find that book name, I would really appreciate knowing what it is. Thanks for the excellent advice :)

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Feeling generous? Be my guest!

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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