Hilarious article for all us parents out there:
“The one thing that is written into the human genome is that exactly at the age of 13, your child - in a minute - and no matter how close or sympathetic the two of you have been before, will discover that you are now the most embarrassing, ridiculous and annoying person on the planet. This is a universal truth.”
What a joy to realize my child is precocious, so that at the age of 8, she has already begun the eye-rolling and “you’re so embarrassing’s”, not to mention the “mommy-you-cannot-wear-that’s”.
I mean, what’s so embarrassing about me?
“Our generation - the third generation - are, as our kids assure us, by far the most ridiculous and the most embarrassing generation that has ever lived. We are ridiculous because, where our parents liked to share stories of their cooler youth with us, we actually think that our super-cool youth is still going on. We have no idea of how out of it we are, and yet persist in acting as though we’re with it. We don’t have the decency to withdraw back into our own generation, we advance into theirs.”
Some of you know that I write a regular column for the Westmount Independent (westmountindependent.com) on parenting. It’s not about being the perfect parent, but rather about admitting I’m not. So here is the upcoming article…
I’ve started giving my daughter an allowance for a number of reasons. To stop her asking me to buy her something every time we go within 10 feet of a store. To teach her financial responsibility. And then get her to teach it to me too.
I read somewhere that you should give kids half their age in allowance to start with. So my daughter gets a whopping $3.00/week. We decorated jam jars to store her coins in, and made labels for each one: Give, Spend, Save. $2.00 goes to the Spend jar and the rest is split between the other two. I love the idea that she’s learning to recognize coins, and to pay attention to how much things cost.
She can buy whatever she chooses, as long as it doesn’t rhyme with “mugs”, or look like anything Shakira would wear. And based on an article I read, her allowance is not linked to her chores – she’s expected to help out simply because she lives here, and until our cat learns to make beds and set the table, she’s stuck with those chores.
(Before you call Child Welfare, this is the 1st and only time she’s ever vacuumed).
What I don’t love is that she can barely afford a roll of scotch tape with what I give her. The sensible Sophie in my head says that’s fine, she’ll learn to save up (which hasn’t worked so far: she’s made it clear she’d rather eat the money than save it). The spendy Sophie says I’m ruining her childhood by not giving her the joy of overpriced Hello Kitty T-shirts, pencils and jewelry. We spent one disastrous hour at the Holt Renfrew of toy stores known as Oink Oink, looking for something that she could buy with her first allowance, and eventually she got two packs of stickers. But her joy at being able to spend her own money was overshadowed by the fact that they were the only thing she could afford. Rather than feeling grown-up, she felt let down. She has since forgotten where she put the stickers, but can recall in excruciating detail every item she wanted but couldn’t afford.
Welcome to consumerism, my child.
The only place she can afford to buy anything is Dollarama, and even their in-store ad campaign proudly boasts that they now sell items that cost $1.99. The first thing she learned there was that “Mummy, everything is made in China!”, after which she pounced on a display of purple plastic puppies.
Smart little girl. Silly little mum. I now get dragged to various Dollaramas around the city, which are always located in some seedy mall basement that smells like old deep fryer oil, where we troll the aisles under fluorescent lighting and where my daughter spends her allowance on plastic toys that make the junk that comes with McDonald’s Happy Meals look high quality.
How did my lofty goals of teaching my child to save money, of not giving in to the consumer impulse and of appreciating the items she spends her money on morph into teaching her the joy of buying a cheap and cheerful plastic toy that will self-destruct as soon as we leave the store, after which it will end up in a landfill, where it will refuse to decompose for decades, and will poison the groundwater for generations to come? How?
I’ll let you know when I figure it out, but first we need to go buy another plastic puppy.