I threw a clean, white t-shirt on Oliver after school one day last week because we were headed out for dinner and the one he’d worn to school was a sloppy sampling of everything he’d eaten, written with or walked past that day. In an already-slightly-defeated tone I offered, “If this shirt is still clean by the time we get home, I’ll pay you one quarter!”
I have to remember that my boy loves a good challenge.
And believe it or not, he got that quarter! I was duly impressed.
And then, he wanted to swing a deal: Every day that he comes home from school with a perfectly-clean shirt, I pay him one quarter. (He’s saving up for a trip to Chuck E. Cheese at the moment. Oh, to be a kid again!)
I agreed and we shook on it. It was a pretty safe deal since he was two weeks deep into Kindergarten and I’d been stain-fighting every day at 4pm.
This child of mine, he is motivated by quarters, stickers and Legos. And I don’t mind him learning a thing or two about taking care of things, self-awareness, and saving up for something he really wants to do.
So I guess I wasn’t too surprised when it was time to get dressed for school the next morning and I offered him shorts and a long-sleeved shirt, he protested: long sleeves = more surface area for collecting stains. He didn’t want to risk it, sweet boy.
So far this week, he has earned three quarters and lost one (you can lose a quarter faster than your can say “skeeball” if you are disrespectful to your Mama!). I’m pretty proud of him.
But what I didn’t anticipate was how proud he would become of himself. He really took ownership of this! Last night I went upstairs to “second-tuck” him in and I found him lining up bowls and buckets and pushcarts from the playroom to contain his anticipated haul of clean-shirt money. He wanted to show me his shelf with bowls and the “key” he’d made so he’d know where to put the dollars, quarters, and the “other fingeys”.
He said he was looking for his spare pillow case (it was in the wash) in case he needed to carry coins around in that, too.
This child was preparing for SUCCESS!!
That “second tuck-in” is always worth it! (and so is waiting until the next morning for pretty, natural lighting to photograph the scene…) :)