We have been trying to instill a better work ethic in Faith and Claire. We want them to do their jobs with speed and excellence. We pay them for each completed task that fufills these requirements. There is potential to earn about fifty cents a day. They are in the $1.00 a week range. This is improvement.
About two months ago, they fell in love with The Teeniest Tiniest Petshop in the Wal-Mart toy aisle. This was the perfect opportunity to give them a goal to work toward. "Well, girls, you could earn that in just a few weeks if you put some effort into your chores."
They did. For about two days. Earnings slowed down considerably after that but about six weeks later, they finally had enough nickles and dimes in their banks to make The Big Purchase.
They walked into Wal-Mart yesterday with their little purses loaded with loot and made a bee line for the Littlest Pet Shop aisle. I was given a small glimpse at what yesterday and today would hold as I watched them pick which Teeniest Tiniest Petshop they would bring home. They could only pick one. Each toy was marked $9.67 and their purses held a combined total of $10.73.
"I like the rabbits. Let's get the one with the rabbits."
"I don't know. Mama, which one do you think we should get?" Decision making is a big stressor for Faith.
"I like the rabbits. Let's get the one with the rabbits." Claire, on the other hand, is quite decisive.
"I don't think I like that one. Mama, which one do you like?"
"I want a Littlest Pet Shop. I want this one! I want this one!" Charlie swept two or three $15.00 Pet Shops off the shelves.
"Put them back, Charlie. I will get you something but it is not going to be any of these." This statement was followed by wailing that continued until we found three small dogs for $2.97 about fifteen minutes later.
Faith and Claire finally decided on the Kitty Playset. By this time, I had a throbbing headache and I was a little dizzy. But wait! Who was going to carry the treasure to the checkout counter?
"I want to carry The Littlest Pet Shop."
"You need to push the cart. I want to carry it." They pushed each other. No one pushed the cart.
We made it to the checkout lane and the girls handed me their purses. I began pulling out nickles, dimes and pennies. Lots of pennies. It took me five minutes to count out the correct change. The cashier did not smile.
There was no fighting on the way home. I don't know why. Maybe because they were all buckled in. Maybe because their hands and mouths were full of snacks.
When we got home the fighting escalated. The toy is the size of a swollen ice cube. It is hard to share something so tiny. They did take turns though...grabbing it from each other...tattling... sitting in time out.
I hadn't wanted to step in because after all they did buy it with their own money. It took me until noon today to figure out that the three of them using it together was not working. I finally laid down the law. "OK, this toy is going in my office. You may play with it one at a time. No one is allowed in my office but the child who is playing with it."
The plan worked and even more amazing... I did not yell. (I do that sometimes.) Not yesterday at the store. Not last night and not even when Charlie was beaning the girls with the teeniest tiniest kitties. Yeah me!
This will all blow over when their purchase is relegated to familiar and they set their sights on the fairy wings located one aisle over from The Littlest Pet Shop.