Last month Kathleen turned four. One of her birthday presents was a bank. And with the bank came the promise of allowance attached to the responsibility of chores.
Chores were never popular in my house growing up, and I remember (and now regret) innumerable occasions where my mother would ask me to sweep the floor/set the table/feed the cat/vacuum the floor and I would respond with a (I imagine to be maddening) whine, "Mo-om, I know," and then try and hide to read twenty more pages of my book before the scenario was repeated half an hour later.
And so, with the arrogant resolve of a young parent, I have set out to Do it Differently With My Children.
On the kitchen counter sits three jars. One is full of marbles, and two aren't. Every time Kathleen does a chore (and Sophia thinks that she has done one because Kathleen did one), she (and Sophia) get a marble. If she declines to do the chore, she has one marble removed every five minutes until she decided that the chore wasn't such a bad idea in the first place.
At the end of the week, each marble gets exchanged for 25 piasters, ten percent goes to tithing, and the rest goes to her bank where she will save up buy wonderful things like clothes for her mother (her idea, not mine), toys, and a microwave if she breaks ours.
So yes, I am bribing, ahem, paying my child to do chores. The list as of yet is fairly nebulous, but usually involves cleaning up her room, putting the clothes in the laundry after bath, helping to unload the dishwasher, cleaning up the toys, and whatever else I need help with.
Which is where allowance starts to look a little sketchy because at this point, she can be paid to do all sorts of things, and if I'm busy it's worth 25 piasters to have Kathleen feed Sophia the rest of Sophia's oatmeal that she has decided she's tired of feeding to herself.
I suppose of all of us, Brandon should be the most concerned as it's his salary that I'm using to have my work done for me. I wonder if she'll take checks?