Monday, October 25, 2010

A Little Room for Pip and Squeak

Like every other school in America, Aidan's school had a Scholastic Book Fair last week. I'm not a huge fan of these book fairs - I think the books are, in general, crap not so great and hugely overpriced. They sent an order form home that you could go through with your kid, write down your order and send in money. There was also a note in the class newsletter reminding us of the book fair and saying that we could come in and attend the book fair with our children - nice idea but the reality is that they have 20 minutes after lunch to look around. It's just too much of a hassle to get childcare for the other 2 so that I can go in for 20 minutes.

So I figured that if I could go in and buy books for Aidan without pre-ordering them, there was no reason why he couldn't buy himself a book. I decided that I would do a little experiment on Aidan. I put $10 in an envelope in his bag and I labeled it Aidan's book fair money. At breakfast I told him it was in there and I said that he would be able to look around and decide what he wanted to buy with the money. I asked him to buy at least one book and to not buy anything Sponge Bob ( I just hate it for no good reason).
I spent the day wondering on and off what he was going to do with the money. I was a little excited to see what he would bring home and to hear how he made his choice. He's never really had that much freedom with money and I wasn't sure if he would be able to make a decision. I thought that there was a reasonable chance he might come back home with the $10.
At 3:30 he bounced off the bus, as usual, with a 18 inch long pointer with a rubber hand on the end.
"Look", he says, "I got a finger pointer!!"
"Great! Did you find anything else that was good?" I asked - hoping that he had found SOMETHING else!
"Yup - a book, but I have to pick it up tomorrow. The lady put the extra money in a bag but I think I lost the coins."
I open the book bag, find the ziplock with $1 and a note saying
"Pip and Squeak". I also find 2 pennies at the bottom of the bag which may or may not have been the rest of the change. I'm not sure what Pip and Squeak is - I don't think I've heard of it before and Aidan is very vague in his description. I'm pretty sure he spent his whole time finding the finger pointer and then got the first book that he saw!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The next day Aidan gets off the bus waving a book - the long awaited Pip and Squeak! It's actually very cute - about 2 mice bringing a birthday present to a rabbit. On the cover is a sticky note from Aidan's teacher saying that Aidan worked very hard at finding a book that he liked. She also said that she was very proud of the way he used his money.

WOW!! This is it - this is what I've been working for!

My philosophy is this: 100%
of your child's most important decisions will be made without you so you better teach them HOW to make good decisions before any of that happens.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Later on that evening we went out to play and one of Aidan's classmates and her mom were outside. (They live just around the corner) She asked me if I had gone to the book fair and I sensed it coming - the comparisons. I said - no - I have 2 others that need to be watched. She, of course, is a perfect mother had gone in and followed her daughter around telling her what she should buy. (Her words - not mine). I told her that I had sent some money in for Aidan to shop with. She looked at me like I was the craziest person she had ever met and said,

"Really? Why would you do that? Abby would have just come home with Barbie stuff."

"Well, you never know. If you give your kids a little room they might just surprise you with how they handle it."


T.M. said...

Becky, you are so awesome and I think I will do the same for Estella when they have theirs next week.
PS I'm a Sponge Bob hater, too.

kmcaffee said...

Your neighbor sounds like a gem! *wink* I agree with you about letting them have room to make choices - letting them succeed (or fail) now will help them with the really big stuff later! And I adore Pip and Squeak - the pointer things, not so much! You are an awesome Mom!

Rains Family said...

What a cute story Becky! Aidan is so grown up :)

Matthew, Eve, Noah, and Noelle Middleton said...

Becky, I love this post and have thought about it several times since I first read it the other day. It keeps bringing a big smile to my face. Aidan is such a sweet little guy and clearly has been showed how to make great choices! Great post :)

Laurie said...

I absolutely love this story, and I'm so proud of Aidan! :-)