If you are my Facebook friend, you are already excited to read this post. But for those not on Facebook or for those that hid me a long time ago because I post way too many pictures of my children and essential oils, here is the story.
The hubs and I are having a conversation and all Penelope overhears is the word "spam." She asks what it is and I tell her it is a term for junk mail, in regards to email. Penelope responds saying she thought she read somewhere that spam is food. We both then explain that yes it is a type of canned meat, how it is inexpensive, and many people still buy it and eat. Then came the kiss of death.
"Gross. I am glad we have a lot of money and don't have to eat food like that."
I believe she said rich, the hubs says I misheard. Either way, I wanted to strangle my daughter.
I get it, it isn't that bad what she said. But it is. You didn't hear her tone. You didn't see her facial expressions. And you certainly don't fully know Penelope. This child, along with her sister, are growing up privileged. I know they want for nothing. I know how we are raising them- cruises and Disney and everything in between. But, I also know that when we go to Target, I do not buy everything they ask for each and every time. I know I say no. I know I make them wait for birthdays and Hanukkah. I know they say please and thank you. I know they are grateful. Or I thought I knew. It is quite apparent Penelope has no understanding of the value of a dollar or how hard we work to provide the life she leads.
Do I expect the almost 10 year old to truly understand the value of a dollar? Absolutely not. But I do expect her to understand on a level what privilege is, to not think certain foods or restaurants are weird, and to appreciate how quickly money comes and goes. The hubs and I already knew Penelope needed a money lesson (hand her a dollar and it gets lost, give her $5 and it is misplaced, gift card - spent in 10 seconds flat). And her attitude pushed us over the edge to go ahead and teach this lesson, NOW.
After we explained to Penelope about money, working hard, professions, cost of living, etc, she STILL had attitude and insisted she was rich. "You aint got shit" was my exact response. Her response, "I have $40. I have my own money." Oh fuck....the attitude is strong in this one. Like her mother, this bitch must learn everything the hard way.
While the hubs began to waiver in our genius evil plot, my teacher mode personality took over and I jumped all over this. The solution? Penelope has $40 to spend at the grocery store for the week. My know-it-all daughter with stubborn personality thought this idea was brilliant. So brilliant that damn idiot told Pandora, "I am buying my own food and you cannot eat anything I buy - it's all for me." News flash - Pandora is not going to want your food, trust us.
As Penelope woke up, I had realized some things. We have lunch reservations Monday and the girls typically eat Chick Fil A on Thursday after Pandora's therapies. The hubs and I spoke about new rules and how to follow through with the "beat the smugness out of our daughter" operation. We called for Penelope to get her wallet. We sat Penelope down and told her to count her money again and we would discuss the week's rules afterward.
Are you even fucking surprised to find out this smart ass does not have $40? She has $17. I am so glad my crazy smart daughter is so full of herself she didn't actually know how much money she had. So typical.
This is going to be a great week.
We told Penelope she had $40 for groceries. We were giving this to her. The $17 is her spending money for fun. I reminded her about Monday's lunch and Chick Fil A. I told her there could a be a frozen yogurt date with friends.....we cannot predict play dates. People need a budget and when that money runs out, the fun is over. Penelope was still all too happy to participate. I pulled up the menus for the known meals out and then the fun faded. Penelope was shocked how her $17 wasn't going to go past Monday's lunch if she ordered what she really wanted and got a drink. (Let the learning begin)
We went to the grocery store. Penelope paid attention to name brand and store brand, learned canned or cupped fruit is cheaper than fresh, bought items that did not require the freezer or refrigerator. We also had an amazing discussion about how "good for you food" is way more expensive than processed food and how eating healthy costs a ton more money. As she put food in the basket, we told her how much money she had remaining. We then made a deal. Any money she did not spend, we would add to her $17. Penelope really liked this idea. We reminded her again the stove, oven, and microwave would cost her money and the only free items she could have are utensils and plates and water. We finished up grocery shopping and Penelope was able to add seven dollars to her 17.
In the car, Penelope handed us $5 for microwave, oven, and stove use for the week. Penelope can do chores to earn more money through the week if she chooses. Penelope can also save her money and have us double it. The week is from Sunday morning until Friday night.
(I am leaving town Saturday and let's get real - I am the tough parent in this parenting duo)
Starting tomorrow Penelope must eat only the food she bought and pay for any meals out now using her $19. (Her original 17, plus the 7 left over from the grocery store, minus the 5 to pay for the stove, microwave, and oven.)
This is going to be epic.
Just now Penelope said, "I have a feeling I am going to regret agreeing to this."
I told her she would for sure regret it, but it is going to be the best damn lesson she ever learns. And to never again make the mistake that she "has money" or that "we are rich" and that people's income is a private matter and something no one should ever be judged by.
I cannot wait for tomorrow.