Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Liam: month 69

A day late. (sigh) Guess this will push Andrew's letter back too.

You're home from school this week, Liam. I was hoping to have lots of fun activities planned for the week, but with Simon's ear infection and Andrew's viral infection I fear you'll be left to your own devices and likely end up watching more TV than I'd like.

Two weeks ago, we finally opened up the "Chore Chart" that Grandma gave us over a year ago. It has lines to list various chores and little vinyl stars to mark off the ones completed. We have the chart divided into two sections: those things that you need to do each day to take care of yourself and your things, and then extra things that you get an allowance for doing. The second section consists of things that your dad and I would otherwise have to do like helping fold and put away laundry, empty the dishwasher, putting groceries away, filing taxes, small home improvement projects, etc. Daddy's favorite is to have YOU be the one to ensure that Simon always has socks on his feet.

Generally you earn around $2 each week, out of which you put aside at least 10% to give to the church, and then the rest is divided into two different jars. One jar is for saving and the other is for spending. You've already decided which Lego you want to buy from your spending money and are quite excited to be working towards something. You likely won't have enough saved until May or June, so hopefully we can keep you motivated until then.

This system has the added benefit of giving us a ready answer for any "I wants" that you come up with... "Do you have enough allowance saved? Oh too bad then. Keep saving." I definitely helps teach that we have to work and save to get the things we want. Unfortunately, getting to buy a new toy with a gift certificate you were given at Christmas also taught you a lesson: You can buy lots with little plastic cards too... and it's easy.

With the mountains of debt that most US and Canadian families are being crushed under, we're hoping that having an allowance will teach you some good money skills while you're still young. We're impressed with how quickly you've caught on to the give/save/spend lesson.

The other day, we were talking about birthdays, specifically WHEN your birthday is and WHY you have to wait a whole year between them. A year is an almost unfathomably long time for you. You have a firm handle on days and weeks, and know that a month is equal to one calendar page. When it finally sunk in that a year was made up of twelve calendar pages, you threw yourself on the floor with a wail of, "TWELVE?? TWEEEEEELLLLLLLLLVE?!? But that's too LOOOOOOONNNG! I can't do TWEEEEEELLLLLLLLLVE!!!" Luckily I was able to show you that we have in fact already completed eight of those months, and that after March, April and May we'd actually be able to SEE YOUR BIRTHDAY.

Crisis averted.

Then you asked how old I was, to which I responded that I am 29 right now and will be 30 this year in July. And what did you say, my darling boy?

"Thirty? That's almost a grandma!"

Thanks, son.

Liam, so far you've had the best luck in getting Andrew to laugh. He swivles his head around like a bobble-head toy when he hears your voice. If the time ever comes when Simon no longer idolizes you, Andrew will be there to jump in. Hmmm, maybe that's why you want so many younger siblings.

Love, mum


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