"NO!" Max answers.
We're driving home from a program at the Friendship Circle. At the end of every summer they give participants a backpack filled with school supplies. It's yet another reason I'm eternally grateful for this organization. Max is happy with the contents but prefers to keep his good old fireman backpack, and Sabrina knows it.
He's generally a good-natured kid. But: sibling rivalry.
"What if I give you a dollar, Max?" asks Sabrina.
"Five!" says Max, and I grin.
Up until pretty recently, Max didn't care much about having money. He's been learning the different denominations at school, and now he gets allowance, but unlike Sabrina he has not gotten gleeful about collecting cold, hard cash.
Do I want Max to learn everything he possibly can? Of course I do. But there's a limit to what he can focus on at any given time and what I, as his parent, can focus on, too. At school, he's getting good instruction in reading, math, science, social studies. His homework is mostly about math, with the occasional social studies project and weekly current events and book reports.
We try to help Max better understand money when we're at stores and getting or giving change. Although like his sister, and probably many kids, Max thinks you can get everything through this magical piece of plastic known as a "credit card." (Sabrina is also in awe of Amazon one-click shopping, and it's all my fault.) In general, teaching Max about money hasn't been a priority. Which doesn't make me a lesser mom—it makes me sane.
Max is coming along, doing stuff when he's ready to. A lesson I had to learn the very hard way years ago when Max was a tot and I kept expecting to be able to make him progress if I pushed hard enough—with crawling, with walking, with talking, with everything. But, no. Max is on his own timeline, and nobody else's. It's the way it was back then, it's the way it is now.
Sabrina said, "Max, I'll give you ten dollars for the backpack just to be nice!"
Max responded, "No! Five!"
Sabrina: "Max! Why don't you want ten? It's more money!"
Me: "Max, are you just being nice?"
OK, so maybe Max is too good-hearted to ever be a business mogul. But, wow, this boy wants money. Coming next: Max starts saving up for an actual fire truck.
Image source: Flickr/ota_photos