The subject of allowances and chores has come up on both an email list and several blogs I read recently so it’s been on my mind. Years ago when we were in our happy “we’d get pregnant any time now” phase (not realizing it would take 16 YEARS!) we had read the book Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees by Neale S. Godfrey and really liked the ideas she put forth. So we sort of had an idea in the back of our heads about allowance and teaching about spending and saving, but it’s been a long time since I’d read it so I went ahead and reread it (new updated edition!).

She proposes giving an allowance based on the child’s age per week and then a 4 jar system of using/saving that money: charity of the child’s choice 10%, long term savings 30%, short term savings 30%, and spending money 30%. She recommends using actual see through containers at first so the child can see the savings grow and of course exact change so you can split your child’s allowance up into the jars.

The book has a lot of games for learning about money, how to be a wise consumer, how to set up a budget, and how to eventually get your teen to manage all their own money so that by the time they’re ready to leave home they are money wise. I highly recommend this book.

So, is this how we are going to be doing MBS allowance? Sort of. She feels strongly that the allowance should be based on chores, that it should be money earned and we differ there. When she talks about chores she does share some of the same ideas as me that some chores you do because you’re a “citizen of the household” and you don’t get paid for those. While other chores have an amount attached to them. I am kinda with her on all of that, I agree some chores you just do because you’re a part of a family and these jobs need to get done for life to move smoothly, while other jobs you get a special bonus for. I just disagree that the “allowance” is tied to chores.

I think of MBS’s allowance the same as my spending money, Ryan doesn’t take away my latte and  ebook cash because I didn’t get the laundry put away (my dreaded chore). I don’t stop Ryan from buying new books because I had to take out the trash and recycling. Spending money is just that, spending money. It’s each family members share of the household budget. Now, sometimes the unexpected comes up and the budget is tight and I don’t have money for lattes because of it. I think that’s a good lesson for a child. Telling MBS that “the dog got sick and we have a large vet bill so everyone is cutting back on extras this month to help pay for it”. I think that helps him understand about being a part of the family, that everyone gives and everyone takes, everyone works and everyone benefits.

So we are doing an allowance based on MBS’s age per week, for now it is all going into long term savings, when he starts becoming more money aware we’ll start the 4 jar system.

Tot School No Naps, Tantrums, and Puzzles

Tot SchoolMr. Blue Sky is 24 months old.

I’ve been terrible about getting anything planned or organized so we’ve pretty much had non-stop free play here. Most of every day is filled with playing with his trains and duplos. I’ve noticed that he’s really enjoying lining up all the trains and cars, that’s a new fascination for him.

Last weekend MBS (Mr. Blue Sky) learned about carpet removal and was a “Very Useful Engine” (we watch a LOT of Thomas!). We have a leak in our living room wall (outside cement patio is the same level as the slab foundation so rain has just worked it’s way in) and while long term repair means removing the patio, tearing out the rotten boards and drywall and rebuilding a section of the wall, the short term fix was removing the wet carpet so we can at least dry up the puddle as it forms. MBS was fascinated by the carpet removal. At first I was worried that it was going to have lots of fumes or dust and it would be dangerous but it was actually pretty easy, dirty but not gross. He was really helpful in moving the cut up carpet squares to where we were piling them and ripping up the padding and putting it into the trash bags. Each time we removed a section of carpet he’d go onto the cement floor and do a little dance, it was very cute!

Aside from me not being organized right now we’ve been having a tough time because of 2 things MBS is doing, I’m pretty sure they’re connected and I’m hoping that time will just fix it or we’ll find some routine that helps. So what are the 2 things?

  1. MBS has decided he no longer wants any naps. He REFUSES to lay down and take an early afternoon nap, a few times he has fallen asleep early but if I try to get him to nap it just means a big tantrum. Of course with no nap he just keeps getting crankier and crankier as the day goes on and at least half of the nights he falls asleep right at dinner time, napping through dinner (and he needs all the food he can get!) and waking about bed time with lots of energy! So I end up staying up really late with him… I am so tired!
  2. He’s been having some really major tantrums. I’m assuming this is because he’s tired and his sleep cycle is all out of whack. He’s gone a bit farther than his usual throwing himself on the ground screaming, several times he’s taken to running right into the wall head first giving himself glorious bruises (textured walls make weird bruises!)!

So, what do you do with 2 year old who no longer wants to nap but obviously needs a nap? How do you stop a toddler from hurting himself during a tantrum– trying to hold him just makes him angrier. I’ve been trying to calm him by asking him to “use words” and tell me what is making him so upset and some times that calms him but since his spoken vocabulary is very limited this sometimes just leads to more frustration.

Aside from tantrums and lack of naps things are going pretty well. His vocabulary is growing, today while we were out he correctly identified that what was driving next to us wasn’t just a “car” but a “truck”. When my Mom was here yesterday he actually said a full sentence (which I totally can’t remember!) and she was really surprised and I wasn’t which made me realize he’s been stringing a few words together for awhile now. (Woohoo!) The other day he had his Infantino Color and Texture Puzzle out and I turned around and realized he had put together several of the matches all by himself! I was super impressed, had to take photos on my phone and send them to Ryan at work.

Hoping to have a slightly more organized and together week (fingers crossed!) this coming week. Our theme will be Owls! I will also be posting books that we are reading for the Picture Book Challenge. To see what other tots are doing visit Tot School. Thanks for stopping by.

Read to Me

Since having Mr. Blue Sky I’ve found it hard to find time to read, which being an avid reader has been a really negative thing. So deciding that Mommy needed to get back her reading time I signed up for 3 different book challenges (Mystery and Suspense, Stephen King, and Speculative Fiction) to help keep me motivated. I’m posting about the books I’m reading for those challenges on our family blog.

Then I came across the Picture Book challenge hosted by There’s A Book. This challenge has quite a few levels. I am aiming for “Harvesting”, reading 200 books to Mr. Blue Sky.

Challenge Levels:

Reading with a Child:

  • “Planting” – Read 12 picture books with a child during the year.
  • “Watering” – Read 36 picture books with a child during the year.
  • “Feeding” – Read 72 picture books with a child during the year.
  • “Growing” – Read 120 picture books with a child during the year.
  • “Harvesting” – Read 200 picture books with a child during the year.

Reading on Your Own:

  • “Board Book” – Read 12 picture books on your own during the year.
  • “Unjacketed” – Read 36 picture books on your own during the year.
  • “Jacketed“ – Read 72 picture books on your own during the year.
  • “Early Reader” – Read 120 picture books on your own during the year.
  • “Chapter Reader” – Read 200 picture books on your own during the year.
While I really have no trouble getting in reading time with Mr. Blue Sky, I like the idea of a challenge to keep me motivated to introduce new books versus just reading his favorites over and over again (though I’m sure I’ll still be doing that too). Plus it will mean more posting on this site— hopefully— that’s the plan anyway!  If you’re interested in joining the challenge stop by There’s a Story and sign up.

Tot School Birds and Birthday

Tot SchoolMr. Blue Sky is 24 months old.

We had a pretty mellow week here at the Woolly Dragon. The 5th was National Bird Day. To celebrate we watched birds outside our windows and colored some neat pages I printed out from Birdorable and We also read Birds (A First Discovery Book). We have a couple from this series and they are really neat, with some see-through pages that change the pictures. He really likes looking at them.

Mr. Blue Sky spent a lot of time this week playing with his trains and cars. Not only playing with them but sorting them and putting them away. I bought some clear plastic containers with lids that he could remove (we tried at the store before buying them) for him to store his different toys in. He’s learned that all the Duplo go in one box, the train tracks in another, and train buildings, trains, and cars all go in the third. He’s gotten really good at putting them away in the right container, sometimes without any prodding from us!

Saturday was Mr. Blue Sky’s 2nd Birthday! So hard for me to believe that he is two years old! We had been planning on having my mom over for cake but snow in the forecast changed our plans, instead we dropped him off at my moms while we did the grocery shopping. That was nice for them, my mom got to see him open her present and they got some special one on one time. When we got home from shopping we set up Ryan’s laptop so it faced the couch and then Skyped with Ryan’s mom while Mr. Blue Sky opened his presents from them.

The rest of his presents we doled out throughout the day and then we had chili dogs for dinner (he actually ate some!) and an owl cake for dessert. It was a chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese and plain cream cheese frosting, using dried pineapple rings, Whoppers, a pecan, and slivered almonds to make an owl face.

Looking forward to life with a TWO YEAR OLD! Visit Tot School to see what other tots are doing. Thanks for stopping by.

Tot School

Tot SchoolMr. Blue Sky is 23 months 3 weeks old!

First Tot School post on our new blog! Ryan just registered the domain and set up the blog for me today so no cute graphics or neat widgets up yet. One thing about our new blog is that I don’t want to use our son’s name, so from now on he will be Mr. Blue Sky. This paragraph was added to the post after the rest was written and I’m amazed at how hard it was for me to remember to not use his name!

We haven’t done much in the way of Tot School the last several weeks. We’ve all had some sniffles and I was miserable with a sore throat for days, that combined with holiday preparations meant not much else got done. Sadly our advent countdown activity ended up having a lot of  blank days, some because I just felt too sick and others because the activity I had planned went bust. Turns out Mr. Blue Sky really doesn’t like sticking his hand in plaster (to make hand print ornaments) or getting paint put on his hands. Poor little guy, thought we were torturing him.

He did get to build a gingerbread train with Daddy. Though, technically Ryan did all the building– Mr. Blue Sky wouldn’t even touch the frosting bag. He loved watching Ryan work though, even brought his Thomas engine up to ride in the gingerbread cargo car!

We had a wonderful Christmas and Mr. Blue Sky was blessed with many, many, many new toys! My Mom had spent the night with us so she was there to open gifts in the morning, we also Skyped with Ryan’s parents and my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin.

Next Saturday Mr. Blue Sky will be 2 years old! Hard to believe. I’m really looking forward to all the wonderful things we’ll get to do in 2011. Can’t wait to see how he grows and learns.

Wishing everyone a very Happy 2011! To see what other tots are doing visit Tot School!