When Dave, who turned 38 this week, was a little guy he spent his days hanging out at a fabulous child learning center while I went to nursing school. Blessedly, he loved it.
I did, too.
Most of the time.
They did have one tradition that drove me nuts.
Every day at nap time each child had to lie quietly on a cot.
Wisely, sleeping was not required.
Somewhat un-wisely, to my mind, was the sleep alternative popular among little boys Dave’s age which, at the time, was probably about three.
Apparently they all laid on their cots and pulled the little elastic strings out of their socks. Quietly.
One thing led to another and I wound up buying socks. A lot of socks.
And, frankly, we didn’t have the money to spare.
I explained. And explained. And explained.
Then, one day, inspiration struck.
Dave loved french fries. The kind from the place with the golden arches. He didn’t just like french fries. He begged for french fries.
(Please don’t judge. We don’t know until we know and I didn’t know then.)
In any event, after a nifty bit of math on my part, I told Dave that he had to have socks that didn’t slide down in his shoes and put blisters on his feet.
Every time, I explained, we had to buy more socks because he’d pulled the little elastic strings out, that was whatever number of bags of fries we couldn’t buy.
I could actually see the light bulb come on!
Suddenly, Dave was a believer.
For a couple of years, his most frequent question was, “How many fries could we get for this?”
I got adept at the math and the French Fry Economy was born.
(Laugh if you want. It made way more sense than anything the Econ guy in the gorilla suit said while I was at Florida!)
Feel free to find whatever exchange rate works for you.
When my girls were small and we played a lot of This Little Piggy, our little piggies ate frozen yogurt. The girls didn’t know what roast beef was!
Oddly, I discovered this week that I’ve just developed a new personal economy.
I was flipping through the daily haul of catalogs and, attentive to my internal dialogue, laughed myself silly when I noticed I was calculating the number of bottles of paint I could buy for the price of a necklace featured at a phenomenal sale price.
The necklace is probably still available and The Paint Economy is born!
Just between us, I think it has some advantages over fries, though it’s complicated by the fact that all the bottles of paint have different prices to learn.
My girls mostly don’t wear socks. They don’t much eat fries, either. I’m not sure how they’re going to learn about money…
Dave and Kelly will figure out something.
It’s all just making choices.