It is school holiday for 'J', but she has a holiday club to go.
She doesn't want to go as unlike in school she doesn't have constant friends in holiday club, because mostly parents try to optimise their holidays around their kids holidays, and it is not necessary that same set of kids come to holiday club every day, I also optimise and take leave around 'J' 's school holidays or arrange with her friend's mothers to give her a full day of play date. But comparing to school holidays (6 weeks of summer + 2 weeks of spring+2 weeks of autumn+4-6 teacher training days+some other days) my holidays are very less.
So there are some days when she has to go to holiday club, and those are the days which are like test for both of us. 'J' tries her negotiation skills to its fullest.
She starts previous night,
"Mum can you pick me up at 3 p.m tomorrow." Normal pick up time is 6 p.m.
I say, I will try but then we need to go early. She says "Yes, of course."
In the morning as it is not normal school day, she just don't want to get up and get dressed. But finally seeing me ( and my increasing frequency of looking at the clock) she gets ready and on the way to the club she asks (very politely), "What time is it Mum?" I say "It is already 10 a.m., I am very late for office." She smiles meekly.
Before pressing the buzzer on the gate of the holiday club she asks "Mum is it possible to for you to come at 4.30 p.m. to pick me up." I smile and say "Okay I will try to wrap up as fast as possible, I will try but I don't promise."
Then we enter the club and she finds big bunch of her school friends are already there beaming with smile and are getting ready for whole day of art, craft and getting messy.
She jumps and joins the gang, comes back hugs me, says me good bye and adds "Mum you can come after finishing your work properly."
I hug her back, give a final look at the watch and walk fast towards work with a little relief.
'J' has got a teddy recently from her Masi and she is always thinking about the dresses/shoes etc her teddy needs.
Living in a small town means there are no toy shops with elaborate things like doll clothing. So last weekend we spent a lot of time to see the dresses for kids aged 0-3 months. They should in principle fit her teddy. They are quite expensive too.
So I decided to make some funny dresses for her teddy using our old things. Reason was also to show her that one can also live without buying things (sometimes). So she was happy for one week. But now as it is rainy and cold, her teddy might get cold and 'J' thinks it is essential to buy a jacket or at least a cardigan for her teddy.
She loves buying, and this love is increasing each year. An alarm bell keeps ringing inside my head telling me to teach her value for money. After all I don't want her to lead a credit-laden adult life.
So I sit with a pen and paper, make a list of chores she can do if she wants and on completion of a certain number of chores every day she can earn some money. She can use these money as her own money and decide what she needs to buy with that.
She commented that it is very hard to earn money and I smiled.
She behaved very nice and earned all the points for one day, but next day she is angry and thinks it is unfair and why I cannot buy for her what ever she wants to buy and adds she doesn't like me anymore.
It will be very hard to install the nature of thinking before buying, to differentiate between needs and wants and also the habit of saving before spending in her. Specially when kids of today are haunted by TV advertisements, peer pressure and new market products every day.
But I want to stick to it, as I feel world is getting full of materials and there is no end of buying. Compulsive buying gives a momentarily peace but hunger for more returns back pretty soon. It is very important to understand what do we need and how much we need. I believe that buying cannot be a hobby, I might be called, old fashioned and insensitive mum for that, but that doesn't matter.