Date with Ikea

We took the kids to Ikea for the first time in years. ¬†Neither Claire nor Molly had any remembrance of it. ¬†When we told them we were going to a furniture store, they we pretty bummed. ¬†Once we explained that it was not just any furniture store, but a big, crazy, Swedish one named Ikea with sample houses you could explore, a cafe, and a huge warehouse, they were sold. ¬†We were just shopping for a few household items, maybe a¬†TROFAST here, or a¬†SKYLTA there. ¬†Don’t forget the¬†BJURSTA and the¬†√ĄPPLAR√Ė/ H√ĖGSTEN.

Among other treats, Molly was able to spend her first allowance money. ¬†She had earned $4 over the last two weeks doing the standard dishes, shoes, cleanup routine that Claire has been doing. ¬†Molly had been expressing a desire to have some of this stuff called money that Claire keeps buying cool stuff with. ¬†When we first told Molly we would be giving her allowance now, she was thrilled. ¬†The first time she took in her dishes, she held out her hand and said, “Where’s my money?” ¬†Anyways, Molly had $4 to spend. ¬†At Ikea, even $4 goes a long way. ¬†Molly bought four tiny stuffed animals for $2 and saved the other $2.

Molly was just a hair short to get into Sm√•land, the kids’ play aera. ¬†But the¬†girls had a great time exploring the famous “375 Square Foot Home” display, and snuggled up in the little bedroom together. ¬†They also enjoyed Swedish meatballs (Claire) and chicken fingers (Molly) with Lingonberry juice¬†while watching Finding Nemo in the kids lounge. ¬† It was a fun morning shopping for housing goods. ¬†Now that is almost a contradiction in terms, but not at Ikea!

BTW, the name of this message came from the Pavement song of the same name.

iPod Touch

Claire sporting her new iPod Touch, hidden away in her little purse.
Claire sporting her new iPod Touch, hidden away in her little purse.

Claire has been wanting an iPod Touch for a long time, mostly because a few other kids at school have them.  She occasionally likes to use my iPhone to do some drawing with Flowpaper or the like, but she has largely lost interest in games like Angry Birds.  However, inspired by her friends, Claire wanted an iPod Touch, perhaps more as an accessory than a useful or fun device.

Kit and I were skeptical of Claire having an iPod Touch, but seeing a nice lesson in saving and delayed gratification, we said she could buy one herself. ¬†We offered her a used one for a marked down price of $75 rather than $200 new. ¬†¬†We told Claire is was actually an old iPhone, but she did not mind. ¬†Claire quickly agreed and proceeded to save up her $5 weekly allowance, which was already accumulating. ¬†She did not spend any allowance for months, quickly passing up sticker and other treats without a thought. ¬†It was just like she didn’t have allowance money. ¬†Each week when we gave her $5, she disinterestedly put it right away in her savings without an apparent thought.

Then suddenly she had $75. ¬†Kit in particular, and me to some extent, concerned about Claire doing too much iPod Touch. ¬†We didn’t want her to stop doing all her playing and art projects. ¬†So one contingency on selling her¬†the iPod Touch was a contract so we were all on the same page. ¬†It did not specifically limit Claire’s time on the iPod Touch, but it did leave room to do

Claire's iPhone 4, I mean iPod Touch.
Claire’s iPhone 4, I mean iPod Touch.

that if we had to.  Claire happily signed the contract and handed over her (sort of) hard earned money.  It was quite an accomplishment for Claire to save up for so long, and she made it seem effortless.

Now that Claire has earned her iPod Touch, she basically doesn’t use it. ¬†It just sits there. ¬†She takes it around a little bit as an accessory and likes to sometimes take pictures. ¬†She has yet to play a single game of Angry Birds.

Claire’s picks

Including the “Tutty Bear” that she bought at the recent King Tut exhibit, so far Claire has spent every cent of her allowance on stuffed animals and stickers.  I was curious what Claire would buy for herself if she had free reign, and so far this seems about right. ūüôā


After several months of off-and-on deliberation, we finally got Claire started on regular chores and allowance.  We were having trouble deciding on the details.  What exactly would Claire have to do to earn her allowance?  How much would she earn?  Does she get paid daily or weekly?  What exactly happens if she did not do her do her chores?  And so on.  But on a recent Saturday night, when we hired a baby sitter for a few hours, we finally hashed it out over dinner.  This date night, we had a babysitter for five hours and did nothing.  We just had dinner, talked, and strolled around South Congress.  It was great!  And among other things, we finally nailed down Claire’s allowance plan.

It works like this… Every day, Claire needs to complete three items: get herself dressed, put up her shoes whenever she takes them off, and take her dishes to the kitchen after each meal.  These are pretty easy chores, but we wanted to set Claire up for success.  Of all of then, we have had the most trouble in the past with Claire dressing herself, of all things.  She just really likes when we help her get dressed.  Anyways, for every day that Claire does all of those things, she gets 50 cents.  And on Sundays, we all clean up the play area together.  If Claire participates in the clean up, she gets a bonus of $1.50, bringing her weekly total to $5.00.  The allowance would be distributed as cash immediately after the clean up.  This whole thing may sound a little confusing, I guess, but basically she gets $5 a week as long as long as she does all her chores, and we have some gradual ratcheting back from there.

When we told Claire about the allowance plan, she was pretty happy.  She understood the rules right away, and she was really excited to get started.

I am happy to report that Claire completed all of her tasks in her first week of allowance, collecting the full $5 today.  She went with Kit to Michaels craft store to buy some supplies for her “100th day of school” project, and she took her $5 spending money with her in a little glass jar.  Claire came home with a wide assortment of stickers and a special Santa Claude card, her very first purchase made with her own hard-earned money.  Michael’s being very affordable, the total came to $3.33, leaving her $1.67 in change to add to next week’s haul.  Way to go, Claire!  With any luck, I can’t wait to see what you do with your $6.67 next week!