Markus and I went to the bank not too long ago to open his own savings account. Before that, we went to the Guildford Bottle Depot to redeem four bagfuls of empty bottles and cans that he and Gabriel had collected from our kitchen. (Our deal is that they get to have the $ if they collect the bottles and bring them to the depot with me.)
“Markus, we will deposit $30 to your name,” I told him. I had planned to deposit more but he chose to have a little birthday party. So I deducted some amount to make him understand that choices have a cost. We made a deal. He made a choice. Now we had to stand by it.
“Plus the $5 I got from Jesse,” he remarked, making a reference to a gift he got.
“Oh, yes. That makes it $35,” I said. “And the $10 you made today from the bottles. You have $45 now!” I said excitedly.
“Make it $50, Mom,” he said.
“No, it’s $45.” Even if it was tempting to simply round it off, I stood my ground to teach him that money is hard earned, and you had to work and save up for it.
“What about the massages? I’ve been massaging you since January, blah, blah, blah..and you have not paid, blah, blah, blah…” Markus has a good, albeit sometimes skewed, memory of our “transactions” and it could go all the way back. Or I have a short memory, and don’t do a good accounting of all his massages that were not “for free”. (Yes, he occasionaly offers to give me a free back massage.)
Not wanting to engage him in a long argument (which is hard to win with Markus anyway) about the massages he had given me “since January”, I agreed to the $50. Besides, he could be right.
“So, Mom, can I withdraw a dollar? I want to buy something,” he said after getting his own passbook and ATM card.
“No, this is just for depositing,” I replied. “We need to save up for college.”
I wonder how many bags of empty bottles that would take.