Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I took the boys to the Five Below store (No Five Below is not sponsoring this post although I think they should since I just wrote about the store the other day too) and before we left I told both Maxfield and Wyatt to grab some of their money from their banks.

"I am going to bring 3 dollars." Max said knowing he was not going to bring all of the money from his bank.

"You may want to bring more Max, just in case." I then explained the concept of the Five Below store. "So maybe you should bring 5 bucks."

"No. I only need three dollars." he said confidently.

Wyatt collected 2 dollars from his bank. He took only his silver coins, he left the pennies. Two bucks is all he had.

There were over a hundred different things at the Five Below store that both boys wanted. They grabbed and touched everything in the store; cap guns, rubber balls, markers, cars, candy, water pistols, yo-yos etc. They held up each item asking the same question every time. "How much is this dad?"

They both decided on the same type of toy, a small Transformer figure which cost 3 dollars. I told Wyatt I would spot him the extra dollar. Max then said since I was spotting Wyatt an extra dollar could I spot him 2 dollars and asked if he could also get Marvel Super Hero Squinkies. Wyatt then said our favorite phrase in our house. "That's no fair." pointing out Max was going to get two things. ("No Fair" is said in our house about 150 times a day. Jackson,our 2 year old, even says it.). I then told Wyatt I would get him Squinkies as well.

We went to check out and placed the four items on the counter. I handed Max his three dollars, Wyatt his two. The teller told him it would be $10.60 with the tax. Both boys placed their money on the counter equaling five.  I only had a $10 bill so I scooped up the kids money and handed the teller the ten spot with a few of Wyatt's coins for the tax.

"Why did you take my money Dad?" Max asked.

"Yeah, Dad. Why did you take our money?" Wyatt chimed in.

I did my best to explain how I used my money for the purchase and how I used their money to pay me back.

"But that was my three dollars." Max said.

"No, Max I paid for the toys with my money and the three dollars you had is paying me back. You still owe me two dollars."

"But you used my coins dad." Wyatt said. "So I don't owe you anything."

"Actually Wyatt you owe me three dollars."

"But you used my coins. You didn't use Max's money. That's. No. Fair." Wyatt started to raise his voice.

We quickly left the store.

The boys played with their new toys the whole ride home and for most of the day. Every now and then Max would ask for his money back.

"Can I have my three dollars?"

"Max it is not your three dollars."

"You took my money Dad. And you put it in your pocket. It is mine."

"But I paid for the toys with my money." I said.

"And mine." Wyatt added wanting credit for the 60 cents that was originally his.

"No Wyatt I used my money and your coins became part of that."

"But you took MY money. I want it back." Max demanded.

"And mine." Wyatt also demanded.

"No. That's not how it works guys." I said.

We had the same conversation several times throughout the day. Max and Wyatt never made an attempt to pay me back.  Every now and again Wyatt would ask for his coins, Max for his bills. Finally after about the tenth request for the money I tried to explain how it all worked.

"Max you only brought 3 dollars to the store. Three single dollar bills. You bought two items. One was 3 dollars, the other 2 dollars. How much is that? Five dollars right? You only had 3. So I was giving you two dollars. Wyatt's toys cost $5. He only brought $2 so I was giving him $3.  I only had a ten dollar bill. So I took your three singles and Wyatt's money to replace the money I was spending out of my money. So Wyatt OWES me 3$ and you owe me $2. Do you get it?"

Max's eyes tilted towards the ceiling, letting the numbers tumble in his brain.

"Kind of. So If I owe you two dollars, and you took my three dollars doesn't that mean you owe me a dollar in change?"

I am never going to get my money back.


Anonymous said...

What goes around comes around!!! I love it! Witnessing my Children as Parents is the Best entertainment a Parent can have. From generation to generation....The Circle of Life...History repeats itself.... in so many ways....My Sons are Dads... My Daughter a Mother....Life continues and is such Fun! I'm proud and humored at the same time...No book or movie could ever give me such entertainment! momo9

M@ said...

Easy solution. Give them back their three dollars, and their two dollars since it IS their money, even the coins.

Then take the toys. YOU paid for them right? That makes them yours.

Then charge them for the toys and all should be settled. I'll bet both of their money that they drop it :)

Melissa said...

LOL...i am so glad to see momo9 commented.

my comment was going to be: see, they are a chip off the old block...and your mom is probably laughing her head off at these antics.



Paula said...

Unfortunately, some of them don't outgrow it. My ex-husband tried to use a similar accounting method on child support. Thankfully the courts "explained" it to him.

SFD said...

Maybe I'm stupid, but I would have asked the cashier to break my ten into a five and five singles, then given the kids exactly what they asked for, and watch them put something back because they forgot to count the sales tax.

for a different kind of girl said...

A few months ago, my youngest was desperate for some toy he's since forgotten all about. I informed him of my plans to go to Target, and said I'd be happy to take his money along with me and pick up the toy for him. He was thrilled, and I was delighted to teach him that sometimes you have to pay for what you want. As I was leaving, he practically threw himself down the stairs to catch me. "Now, you're not going to use my money when you buy my toy, right?" he asked. I went back and forth in a conversation similar to what you had with your boys. My money is for stuff we need, I said. Your money is for something you want. On and on and on. To be honest, when I finally gave up, I was too dang tired to even go to Target. The kid seriously STILL doesn't get it.

eclectic said...

It's a really hard concept for kids who haven't developed the ability to abstract yet. They're very literal until about 14, give or take. I think it's awesome that you're already starting the process though. We still make Carter pay for all of his purchases himself, and if he borrows money, I actually give him the amount he's borrowing so he can see it for himself and understand exactly what he owes. Hopefully that will grow into an understanding of how money works as he gains experience...

Jeff said...

That's funny....I have the same conversation with my wife! lol ~Jeff