Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wii Our Family

My baby got his kindergarten teacher assignment today. It was the one teacher, based on limited information and sufficient judmentalism, I didn't want him to get. Whatever. Teach me to be a snot.

I'm kind of sick to my stomach that my baby is going to kindergarten. I won't bore you with the details, but just yesterday I was crying over what he'd done to my body. Now the body is old news, worse off, and he's going to kindergarten. Seems so unfair all around.

As soon as I'm done with this post, I'm going to start some serious google research on cults to join. I'm looking specifically for one where the followers sit around with their kids all day and force their children to give them hugs and kisses, eat their vegetables, pick up 8 things off the floor, tell their mom she's beautiful, learn how to cook like Bobby Flay, "homeschool", and never leave home. Or buy Pokemon cards.

I put homeschool in quotes because my version of it needs it. I don't have the energy or patience to do such a thing so my version of it would be "homeschool". Ie, coloring and Wii boxing. I have nothing but respect and admiration for people who manage to do it f'real.

Okay, so, I'm about to tell you the long story about how we now own a Wii. And maybe give you a little background as to why I have freaked out a little about Bo's affinity toward all things Pokemon. I don't think the are the devil incarnate. Much.

Last Spring, Bo mentioned regularly to us that he wanted a Wii. Most of the time our responses were, "yeah, us too." But neither of us were willing to pull the trigger on that kind of a purchase for something we absolutely don't need. J's definition of need. Not mine.

Somewhere in that period of time, my mom came to visit. My mom goes on walks regularly, and on those walks, collects aluminum cans. She has purchased, with cash, a 4,500 square foot home, paid for by the money she received collecting cans. So naturally, when she came to visit, she took my kids for walks, and collected aluminum cans.

Well, Bo is somewhat of an imitator and immediately fell into the role of can collector after she left. I could be taking a corner on two wheels in my hot rod van and he would spot a can out the window and yell, "STOP! I gotta get that can."

As his mother, I was proud and amused. As I often am with this boy.

As his father, J was proud, and immediately figured a way to capitalize on this new passion. As he often does.

So, in early May, J created these darling fliers with Bo's picture. I'd show you how darling, but our hard drive is kapoot and we don't have it anymore. The flier stated his name, how old he was, and that he was trying to earn money for a Wii, because his parent's were too cheap to buy one themselves. And in an effort to earn the $200 his parents wanted him to earn, he would be collecting cans and bottles to recycle. Y'see, in the great state of Iowa, we get 5 cents for each can and bottle. So. Bo's flier asked these kind people to put their recyclables out in front of their door each night between 5 and 7 pm, and he would collect them.

He had an immediate response. Out of about 8-10 fliers, at least 5 people put stuff out regularly with a couple of others now and then.

Each week we took a giant Rubbermaid of beer bottles and Pepsi cans to the store to cash in.

We told everyone with pride, what our little preshy was doing. J made a chart where he got to color in a cool dollar symbol circle thingy for every five dollars he earned. Five dollar bills became the be all end all in money. He would trade $500 for a five dollar bill because it meant coloring in a circle.

He earned $27. Then $44. Then he had a birthday and grandma sent him THREE FIVES. She was supposed to send one $5, but she's a grandma and won't be told what to do like that. Another friend of mine gave him some Twizzler nibs, extreme goldfish, and a five dollar bill in a cute little glass jar. The three best things ever in Bo's world.

He soon had close to $100. Enter, Pokemon obsession. Suddenly, he was obsessed with Pokemon and had a major wad of cash at his disposal. J and I feel strongly that he should be able to make his own decisions with his money now so that he makes dumb decisions now when the stakes are low. But if ever I have had issues with wanting to be controlling, this is where it rears its ugly head. It is very hard for me to let him do what he wants with all that money, when all he wants are Pokemon cards. I begged, pleaded, smack talked, pleaded more, tried to trick, did everything I could think of, short of telling him he could not spend all his money on Pokemon cards. He literally wanted to take $90 to the store and buy every card he could with that wad.

So what you say? Well, the other end of that problem is---he's 5 and as such, is the youngest Pokemon nuthead of the crowd. And they completely take advantage of him when he gets new cards. Another hard lesson he has to learn---and I let him. When he mourns the loss of a card in a trade he didn't want to make, I ask him if they tied him up and beat him with a bicycle wheel to make him make the trade. He gets what I'm saying, but for some reason, can't bring himself to say no to those older kids. And that's a lesson I'm willing to let him learn the hard way.


So. We made the rule that he could only play with Pokemon cards on Wednesday and Saturday. A couple of other moms made the same rule, so that's been good. Then we made the rule that he could only buy cards once a month. That was to buy some time for the Wii money to be earned and bought before he could blow it all.

Nothing has deterred him. So finally we decided to make it $100 he had to earn for the Wii.

Then we decided that $78 looked an awful lot like $100 and traded it for a hundred dollar bill.

We have the Wii.

And it is TOTALLY awesome.

Bo doesn't have anymore money. He spent his last $8.50 on two packs of cards and was almost immediately swindled out of them.

That's why he tried to bribe us on Sunday morning to pay him to go to church. He's a desperate man, in need of a fix. And no gas money.

We had hoped that Bo working hard to earn a Wii, would help him learn the value of a dollar, and appreciate the Wii even more. What happened was, it was too big of a goal and he lost sight. And, the cans sort of fell into his lap, so it wasn't really hard work. And uh, he's five. We might be a little overly ambitious in teaching Bo. Maybe.

So, that's the story of the Wii. The story behind the cards. And why my arms and shoulders are killing me today. I love the Wii. I'm totally chilled about those dumb cards, now that all his money isn't at risk. And I can't beat my husband at boxing.

I may die trying.

p.s. My mom didn't really buy a house with an aluminum can collection fund. Maybe a wreath at the thrift store. But not a house.


Bryner Family said...

Wow, I'm impressed. That is a big achievement for someone so young. Lil' J keeps wanting to put up a lemonade stand but I keep telling her that our little cul-de-sac with 10 houses is not exactly a great location for that kind of thing and I don't want to set up shop on someone else's yard on a neighboring street. I guess I should try and find another idea for her to learn some entrepreneurial skills. Have fun with the Wii!

MommyJ said...

That's quite a tale to tell. I don't have a Wii. But we want one. But... I've got that same problem with my husband and his definition of need. I'm still trying to convince him that we "need" a DVR. And that is farther ahead on the list that the Wii.

I am also totally impressed with your parenting strength and prowess... I'm not sure I would have the chillability that you do when it comes to money spent on pokemon cards. I've limited experience though... the only pokemon cards that have come in to our house came from burger king, and they were the very first introduction to pokemon my kids had ever had. Sam was totally fascinated though and made very serious threats against my normal sneaking in and throwing away happy meal toys in the dark of night... should fear the potential obsession?

Go beat J. You can do it.

Kikibug said...

HAHAHAHAHA I totally bought into your mom buying a house... I was like "dang, we need to rethink this working thing and go get some cans". I am so gullible. But really, your mom is AMAZING and could TOTALLY do something like that..hahahahaha still laughing...
I am so impressed your parenting. That is so cute and important. I have the same struggle with Judson and not telling him how to spend his money. It is so hard and I try to MAKE him save.. he has never saved more than $20.00, so good job BO!!!

MommyJ said...

and because I quite obviously didn't proof read... I meant:

"than the Wii"


"should I fear the potential obsession"

Tori :) said...

I'm disappointed to learn your mom didn't really buy a house with cans. I was thoroughly impressed.

The beating him with a bike tire made me lol- a lot. As usual.

omar said...

"That's why he tried to bribe us on Sunday morning to pay him to go to church."

Sorry Cat, but Bo's now my fave.

S said...

a wreath?

Millie said...

Way to go, Bo!

(I'm holding out on getting a Wii as long as I possibly can)

Barnecked Lady said...

so...you need to totally go out and get mario kart and we can play wii online together. It's my secret addiction. lol.

Coordination Queen said...

Is Pokemon something that all preschoolers come home with a desire for? My 5 year old little girl keeps telling me she wants Pokemon for Christmas and that is it... kid hasn't ever laid eyes on the things...oh well.

Sketchy said...

That's awesome. We made our daughter save up 1/2 for her Nintendo DS. I think 1/2 is a good goal for major purchases. Or perhaps I'm just justifying both of our lack of discipline.

So we've stuck to that with the boys...Grant has enough now, but I don't have the other half until pay day since we are paying the big bill still. So I'm trying to distract him from that fact.

And if he blew the whole wad on Pokemon cards I wouldn't be nearly so complacent about those stupid cardboard comics. But then again it would probably serve me right for giving him a goal and then delaying on my end, wouldn't it? Don't tell him that please. Thanks.

Barnes Blog said...

thanks Ange.

Beckie said...

We always had a rule of no trading, and if they absolutly had to trade, they had to come and ask me first. That way I made sure it was a card they wanted or not or if it was a "powerful" one or not, as well. It saved a lot of broken hearts and tears about why they didn't really want to trade that card, but the bigger kids said that this one was more powerful with 2 stars.
Way to go BO, I wish we could recycle cans for money here, what a great way to earn money! I need a Wii, too!!!

Physcokity said...

Dang...I wish they paid us for recycling! That would rock! I'd be collecting every.last.one!

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

My attempt at embedding an image in comments failed, so here's a direct link.

Here's a handy diagram that helps one choose the appropriate gaming system.


Heffalump said...

We love our Wii. For us, we paid for it ourselves, but the boys (and D and I too) had to earn a certain amount of points in order for us to get it. Since they are so often out of stock we bought it before all our points were earned, but weren't allowed to play it until we had reached our 1000 points. We got points for things like housework, and etc.
The plan was to earn a lesser amount of points once we had the wii and use those points for earning games and such, but so far the boys keep getting new games with their birthday money, so they haven't been motivated to earn the new points.
D and I enjoy playing wii sports for our date nights. He doesn't like boxing though, but I do. I should have brought the wii to the bloggy party!

Mamarazzi said...

DUDE i am thankful for the PS because i was seriously thinking your mom was amazing. i mean i am sure she is...but buying a home with money from cans...AWESOME!

i love the story of how the wii came to be...fabulous!

Emily said...

That is so awesome! By the way, though, I still blame your mom for my kids picking up every single item of (non-valuable) trash they find on the sidewalk. Eh, what the heck, she taught them to read, too, so I forgive her.

Millie said...

*butt pinches*

Hope your travel home went great!!!! Love you!