The Root Of All Evil
Can you guess what my six-year-old has in common with America’s most beloved cartoon crab? Nope, it’s not pincers for hands. It’s not sideways-walking or chronic underpayment of dim-witted employees or an obsession with secrecy with regards to their hamburger recipes. And while my son does get the occasional sunburn, he’s never quite achieved that particular shade of red. Give up? Here’s a hint in the form of a quote from my son:
“I love money!”
That’s right. Just like Mr. Krabs, my son craves the cash.
I’m not actually sure where he gets it all, to be totally honest. I’ll toss a bit of pocket change his way every now and then, either for doing some chore or just because. I guess his mom does the same thing. I’ve witnessed him find loose change on the ground. But I’m not sure that quite accounts for the entirety of the wealth he’s managed to amass. Who knows, maybe he stole some off my dresser. Or yours. In fact, I didn’t realize just how rich he was until he took up the habit of spreading his money out on the dining room table and counting it.
That’s right. My six-year-old enjoys spreading out his money and counting it. Habitually.
First, he dumps it all out in a heap. This used to involve opening up the bottom of his piggy bank, the one with batteries that makes an annoying “ZING!” sound when you plunk change into it, but he’s since transferred his assets to a more accessible facility i.e. a change purse with a robot on it. Next, he sorts his currency by type, placing each different type of coin (and lately, bill) in its own line. This used to be a somewhat confusing process for him until he figured out that quarters can have a whole variety of images on their tail ends. After that, he counts each different type, totals his subtotals, then scoops it all up and dumps it back into his robot wallet.
I wish my wallet had a robot on it.
In truth, I find this all pretty impressive on his part, not to mention fascinating. He started Kindergarten this year, and he’s definitely taken a shine to the maths, so this just seems like another way that he gets to apply his fresh new skills.
Last weekend, he was in banker mode again and I suggested that maybe he could start keeping track of his financial holdings. So he took out a notebook and did just that.
The thing is, he’d just counted his dough a few days prior, and even though he hadn’t kept a record of that count, he had locked up in his memory vaults the fact that he’d had twenty nickels, totalling an even dollar. But his new nickel subtotal? A measly 0.95.
Accusations flew faster than text messages across a high school. His little brother stole it. I stole it. You stole it. I suggested several more probable possibilities, but none of these would serve. He’d had an even twenty, now he had an odd nineteen, and none of this logic bullshit I was laying down was going to stop him from finding the thief and getting his nickel back.
Ew, I said nickel back. Ew, gross, yuck, blech.
Finally, I gave up, trusting in the fact that he would somehow find his own way over it. And sure enough, the wailing soon came to an end - but only because his mom gave him a replacement nickel. She was ready for some peace, and was willing to pay the price, all five cents of it. Yet another problem, solved by cash.
Dolla-dolla bill, y’all.