Monday, December 9, 2013

The Mystery of the Manifesting Money, or, My Daughter, the First Grade Floozy?

So, we are back to the usual routine with no more freak outs or meltdowns! Instead, I am faced with a mystery: why do the kiddo's friends keep giving her money? This has happened twice, and both friends in question--who are not friends she usually mentions--gave her two quarters.

Once, she got a really cool pirate necklace from a vending machine for $.25 and gave it to a friend of hers. He, in turn, wanted to give the kiddo something in exchange, but all he could find (in his mom's purse!) were three quarters. A 300% return on her investment! That didn't seem like an even exchange, but it wasn't something for nothing, either.

This seems to be something different, and the second time it happened, I gave the kiddo the third degree trying to figure out what is going on. I mean, why are they giving her money? What is she giving them in return? What do they think she is going to give them in return? Who else are they giving money to? The kiddo didn't offer me any clear answers, so...

I started to worry.  Was my kiddo the 1st Grade Floozy, trading quarters for kisses? Or, gulp, was she extorting protection money from them? Was she playing the pity card, telling them that her mean mommy won't give her money for ice cream?

How do you explain to a child that giving someone money is not exactly the same as giving them a drawing or a sticker or a Crazy Loom bracelet? I explained to the kiddo that money is payment--for a job, or a chore, or a service--or it is used to buy something you want or need. I had her think about when she receives money (as a [birthday] gift, or to use for something specific like a field trip or something from the Book Fair), and when we give someone money (to pay for a purchase like groceries or admission to a place or event, or to donate to a charity). The kiddo is no dummy; she knows that it can be better to receive a dollar rather than something she doesn't particularly want, because the dollar gives her freedom to buy something of her own choosing, and that freedom is worth more than the dollar itself. That is most likely why she was so excited to tell me when her friends gave her money. And why she was bummed when I made her return it.

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