Colin has speech problems with articulation. Most of the time he will replace the first sound of a word with an "H" sound. It can be confusing at times but its endearing. He just saw a coupon printed from our recent trip to Target, "Oh dat a who-pon?" My 3 year old knows what a coupon is and how to use them. You see his mommy is slightly neurotic and will develop a twitch if she goes to a store without her coupon organizer. Its not a bad thing really. My children have an understanding of the value of a dollar...you know as much as any 3 and 6 year old could possibly understand. Sometimes they will say something crazy like, "Oh that's ok, if you don't like your car you just go to the car store and buy a new one." Well, yes and no. Like I said, they are only 3 and 6.
I fully believe you should indoctrinate the young. Their minds are so malleable and receptive! But really sometimes its just better for your logistics. You really have to explain to them why we take one load of groceries to the car only to go back into the same store to buy more groceries. They pick up on your habits and talk to you about getting a good deal on things. My boys know that there are certain things we can only get when they are on sale and we have a coupon. Colin has now started to call Shop'n'Save "The Fuzzy One" because we had a coupon for Kool-Aid fizzy drink pellets. No way I'd ever buy that crap without a coupon, a sale and $10 off $50 Thursdays. They know this, so often they ask for clarification about which grocery store we are going to that day. Fuzzy, Cookie, Money and the other one. One has fuzzy hinks (Fizzy drinks), free cookies, a quarter for the shopping cart and the boring one with no real perks from a child's stand point. Then of course there is Sams and they "Sell free samples"....semantics.
The day we bought fuzzy hinks I told Colin we were going to the grocery store and since we had a coupon for the Kool Aid we could buy one. His eyes lit up and he ran into the kitchen to get my coupon organizer, "Here Mom, here's your whopons. Let's ho!" See, he *knew* he couldn't go without the coupons! You make Mommy so proud!
I've always been a coupon user and generally frugal. I splurge now and then but I HATE paying full price for anything. Really it pains me. Even as a kid I would save my money and save it and save it. I remember once for Christmas I got 2 truffles. For a little kid who grew up in the country something like a truffle is big. Really big. I ate one that day and saved the second one. I saved it so long that when I finally went to go eat that truffle I opened the box only to find a mouse had nibbled on it! I was reduced to a sobbing heap. Disregard the mouse factor (I SAID I lived in the country) but isn't that heartbreaking? I still remember it very clearly and that crushing blow of disappointment. Anyway, now our house is rodent free but I still tend to save and scrimp and get way too excited about free hot dogs and paper towels (I got both this week). I think its a good quality to instill in my children. Delaying gratification, working hard to save and then now and then you get to get something really special. Usually that special something won't be ruined by varmints but ya know.
I've explained how coupons work. How sales work. How advertising will sometimes make you want to buy things you don't need. The difference between wants and needs. How companies pay for advertising so that you buy their products so that they can make money. A little lesson in Capitalism is important. Colin now says, "Daddy go to wook to buy me hicken." Move over bacon, chicken is the way to his heart! In turn the boys have started earning money by picking up the stupid gum balls in our yard. The rain must have been just right this year because there are an obscene number of gum balls on our trees. The boys fill up buckets upon buckets of those suckers. Once they earn enough money they go to the toy store to buy something of their choosing. If something they want is more than what they earned they can either pick something less expensive or wait and go back once they earn more money.
I think children these days (damn that makes me sound old or like I might burst into show tunes from Bye Bye Birdie) are accustom to getting anything and everything. No consequences for their actions and their every whim catered to without question or delay. I suppose its easier to just say, "Sure honey! Whatever you want!" They will be more agreeable and *love* you for it...until the next time they want something. But that doesn't not help a child grow into a responsible adult. When that child grows up their boss isn't going to say, "SURE! Go ahead and take a few days off, leave early and miss a deadline! I'll give you a raise too!" I think it is a huge disservice to children to let them get away with everything and give them everything. The sense of entitlement is rampant and unbecoming.
I worked in a university for years and the change in overall behavior is alarming. The difference from when I was a student, grad student and employee is amazing. No longer do students work hard for a grade. Then bitch and moan to a professor or TA and have their Mommy call from 5 states away to say its not fair that their BAAAYBEE got a D. Really? Consequences are a good thing. So are mistakes. If you never let your child fail how will they really learn? If they let their child get a D because they never went to class then they might just learn something. Obviously not the subject matter but that they have to be accountable for their actions.
Soooo this got kind of jumbled. Coupons, Capitalism, Rodents and Entitlement. Got it? Good.
Can you just see that bubble over her head saying "WTF Mommy?"