The Apprentice?

Money, money, money

Our kids don’t get any pocket money.

We used to give them 50p per week each, but we stopped.

a) Because we kept forgetting to give it to them, and when they remembered Ben would make up how many weeks worth we owed him, and I’m sure we ended up out of pocket.

b) Because Hannah always left hers lying around, not being very clued up on the uses of cash, and it would all end up in Ben’s clutches.

c) Because Ben would set up a shop in his room whenever we remembered to give them their back pay, in order to sell off unwanted toys to Hannah, thereby relieving her of any pennies she hadn’t left lying around the house.
Such is the lot of the youngest child.

d) Because Ben asked us to stop giving him any, saying “You spend too much on me already.”
My suspicion is that he wanted to put an end to the bargaining power it gave us, as in “If you don’t stop doing that you won’t get any pocket money this week.”

Filthy lucre

Yesterday he came home full of enthusiasm for a miniature remote control helicopter which his friend had been given for his birthday.

“It’s brilliant, I want to find it on the computer,” he said, elbowing me off my chair.

He found it. In fact he found a few versions of it, but plumped for the cheapest with which to begin a campaign of attrition against us.

“It’s brilliant. Where’s Dad?”
He knows his father is a sucker for gadgets, and a big fan of online shopping.

“At work,” I replied, hoping I’d have time to warn him before Ben got to him first.

Later in the evening, Ben had made his first pitch to his father and was playing in his room. He asked me to come and look at his shop.

I was suspicious.

“Hm,” I said, “are you going to try to fleece Hannah out of enough money to buy the helicopter?”

He looked at me as if I’d grown an extra head.

“How did you know that?”

“I know you,” I said, and then when I saw a familiar fossil with a 10p label stuck to it, I added, “and it’s not very nice to sell the present I just brought you back from my weekend away.”

“It’s all I had,” he said, an injured look on his face, as if his room weren’t filled with the toys he’d amassed over the previous eight years and four months.

And today came the reckoning. Before they’d even come down to breakfast, there was a loud wailing from above.

“What’s wrong?” I yelled, unwilling to trudge upstairs if no blood had been spilled.

But Mike was there first. I could hear the weary “I haven’t even had a cup of tea yet” tone in his voice,
“What’s happened now?”

He brought Hannah downstairs, tears cascading down her face, purse clutched in her hand, unconsolable and unable to speak. For five, long, loud minutes.

Ben appeared, unrepentant and aggrieved that he’d been blamed just because Hannah decided to cry.

“She’s just doing it for attention,” he said, sitting at the table like a miniature Nanny 911, pouring out cereal and giving me That Look.

It transpired that Hannah had been invited to visit Ben’s shop on her way downstairs, and there she saw a little teddy for sale. A little teddy that, just the day before, had been her little teddy. But now it was for sale.
At 6p it was affordable, even for her, but she was cross that she was being sold her own property before she’d even had a bowl of Weetabix Minis to fortify her.

Mike went to the rescue, provided the 6p and hoped that would be an end to it.

But no. Ben would not accept the 6p, as it hadn’t come from Hannah’s own stash of cash.

Not only does he want to amass enough to buy a mini helicopter, he wants to do it at his sister’s personal expense.

Alan Sugar beware…

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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14 Responses to The Apprentice?

  1. Erica says:

    That would have been me when I was younger, selling stuff and trying to dupe my younger sibling.

    Your son will probably start thinking of more elaborate ways to make money now his plan has been foiled a little like, car washing and selling lemonade ha ha very entrepreneurial!!

  2. It does have co-axial rotor technology. Can’t blame the lad for wanting one. But poor Hannah….

  3. Oh no.

    I hope the teddy was restored to its rightful owner without pennies being exchanged …

  4. Beta Mum says:

    Hi Erica. Honest toil like car washing would be a welcome development.
    MatL – he’s forgotten about it now, hopefully for good.
    M&M – there’s now a dispute over which teddy it is, and therefore whose it is. We were out for supper tonight for a friend’s birthday, so there was no time to resolve it by the time we got home. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it tomorrow.

  5. Drunk Mummy says:

    Golly – Ben appears to have started his own Teddy Slave Trade. Don’t let him near the Barbies!

  6. Tracey says:

    I was nodding along with your first couple of points on pocket money – same issues – but just the disappearance of someone’s money, and accusations of theft. Nothing could ever be proven. So I stopped giving pocket money until I hit on the idea of having $5 a week transferred into their bank accounts…) But there the similarities end – none of my kids are that .. um… ingenious.. err… entrepreneurial..!

    I have a real problem with tying normal household chores to pocket money (stuff I think they should do anyway).. plus I couldn’t even begin to keep track of it all. I’ve yet to hit on a method that really works for us.

  7. Omega Mummy says:

    The oldest wouldn’t let us look at her stories or drawings. Instead, she’d make a catalogue and force us to buy them. The only time we got one free was on our birthdays. I refused to pay good money on principle, so still have no idea what she was doing for a good four years of her life.

  8. asilon says:

    That’s why I give my kids pocket money – I’d rather that than they were trying to rip each other off! I love giving them pocket money, it’s great, means I never have to buy them anything (unless I want to, of course :) ).

    The older two (9 and 10) get some paid directly into their bank accounts, some goes to a charity of their choice, and they get a bit of cash. The 6 year old just gets cash (until he can open a bank account at 7 and then will get a pay rise to match his older sibs), and the 4 year old doesn’t get any yet as she can’t count. I buy her things and give her all my 5p’s so she has money to buy sweets at the corner shop.

  9. Beta Mum says:

    DM – he’s welcome to the Barbies!

    Tracey – My two have savings accounts, but not the kinds of accounts they have access to. We will have to revisit pocket money at some point, I guess, as they need to learn to manage the stuff.

    OM – great idea from your eldest. I must make sure Ben doesn’t read this or we’ll be paying to help him with his homework.

    Asilon – welcome. You seem very organised about the whole thing. Perhaps we need to try again.

  10. asilon says:

    Thanks for the welcome :) Have been reading for a while (followed you back here from Alpha Mummy), and very much enjoying your writing.

    We give PM monthly, so it’s not too hard to remember. We tried every week and we were rubbish at it.

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  14. Beta Mum says:

    Ben here, it isn’t true what my mum said about me. I thought that my lovly dad was spending too much money on us.

    And about selling all my unwanted toys, that wasn’t true. I wanted to gety £50 out of my bank acount.

    I never sold mum’s present that she brought back from jersey. it may of been quite boring but I’d never sell it.

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