Cheap at the price

Yesterday, when Liam came home from school, he was sure there would be a snow day on Friday. “It’s going to snow for twenty hours, mom,” he said, channeling his inner Sam Champion.

Visions of two boys trapped inside all day danced in my head–I could almost hear the bickering, the endless loops of “stop it, no you stop it, no you stop it, MOM!”

Without really thinking about it, I opened my mouth and out came a bet: “If you two are home all day, Liam, I bet you twenty bucks you can’t spend the whole day without getting angry at Caleb.”

“Not getting angry? At all? What about just once? What if I just used one angry word?”

“Nope. Not for twenty bucks. For twenty bucks, not one angry word.”  I couldn’t imagine that the schools would close–New York City schools almost never close, right?

Wrong. This morning…still snowing. Snowed all day. Still snowing now. And when I tiptoed into the boy’s  room this morning at 6:53 to tell them there was no school, Liam smiled and whispered, “you’re gonna owe me twenty dollars tonight, mommy.”

I didn’t believe him, but I wildly underestimated the power of his greed.

Not one crabby word came out of his mouth. True, we were outside playing for a big part of the day, and true, Liam spent a bunch of time running in the snow with his friends while Caleb went sledding with daddy, so it’s not like they were on top of each other all day. But they did play legos all morning, play together in the snow–and have a snowball fight–without bloodshed–later this afternoon, and then resumed their lego adventures together tonight after dinner.

At dinner, Caleb announced that if Liam was getting twenty dollars, then he should get something too. He wanted five tokens (we use foreign coins as his “payment” for his little chores).  Not five dollars, five tokens. Kid drives a hard bargain.

It’s almost bedtime and I think I’m going to have to fork over twenty bucks and five euros or pence or whatever’s in the coin jar.

Funny. I don’t remember reading in any of my parenting books about the importance of “monetizing” good behavior.  And yeah, probably I shouldn’t do this on a regular basis (of course, I can’t afford to, either).

But for today? For today, I’m all about Gordon Gekko. Greed is good.

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