Big Son: “Hi Bella, can I have a hug?”
4yr old Bella: “No.”
Big Son: “Pleease?”
Bella: “Give me fifty cents and I hug you.”
Big Son ( aghast): “What!?”
I am somewhat troubled by my 4yr old’s willingness to exchange affection for cash…BUT I am impressed with her entrepeneurial spirit. It got me thinking about a similar little girl that I knew, a long time ago. My little sister Scrooge McDuck. Her understanding of money and how it works, is legendary in our family. As a child she was a miser with her allowance which meant that she still had cash long after ours was gone. At the gentle age of eight, she was happy to lend us money though. With interest. And penalty fees. (Who in hell understands financial stuff like ‘interest’ when they’re eight?!)
Once my littlest sister Erin Brokovich wanted to borrow money to buy lolisaiga. Scrooge gladly lent her two dollars. Then when Brokovich failed to make her payments,(Hello, she was only five so can you blame her for being a slack debt repayer?) the interest began to accrue. Scrooge offered Brokovich a ‘way out’.
“Sell me your bed for five dollars. That way you can clear your debt and have money left over.”
What a wonderful proposition that seemed to
silly clueless Brokovich. “Okay!” And off she went to buy herself some more lollies.That night, as she was about to get in to bed, Scrooge stopped her. “What are you doing? You can’t sleep there, that’s MY bed now. I own it remember?”
“Where am I supposed to sleep?” Brokovich wailed pitifully.
“On the floor. OR you could pay me rent for the bed. I’ll let you sleep on it but you have to pay me when you get your next allowance.”
This carried on for several weeks until the inevitable occurred. The rent piled up, the interest added on and soon, there was no way in heck that Brokovich could ever hope to pay Scrooge back. Not unless she robbed the bank. Or sold a kidney on the black market. At age five, the child had spent more than she earned. So she started sleeping on the floor.
Which is where my mother found her one night. “What on earth are you doing sleeping on the floor?”
“I can’t sleep on the bed because it belongs to Scrooge and I can’t afford the rent.”
My parents had to explain some important details to both sisters. Like, hello WE own this bed and neither of you should be selling or buying it! Or ransoming the other for it. And how it bordered on exploitative, cruel and rather illegal to be a Biblical (greedy) moneylender to one’s little sister. Especially when she was only five…
Yes,my Bella’s offer of hugs for cash reminded me of my little sisters. Which may not be a bad thing. Because the miser Scrooge grew up to be a chemical engineer who travels the world doing chemical engineering stuff. And who still has way more money than the rest of us. Brokovich, the previously exploited sister grew up to become a high-profile lawyer who helps rid the financial world of crime. (And money-lender exploiters probably.)
Yes, either way, I have high hopes for the 4yr old Bella Beast. Her future looks bright.