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Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Parenting Milestone

It came without much fanfare, considering the milestone that has finally arrived:
LittleD is now officially a teenager.
So, now I'm officially further along in motherhood than I ever imagined.
Does this make me old?
For some reason, when I pictured myself having kids, my mental image got the child up to about the age of 5. Six, maybe.
But teenager?
Just didn't quite picture it.
I don't know how this happened so quickly, either.
Seems like just yesterday that I brought home my dark-haired baby girl in the aftermath of a snow storm. It freaks me out a little to think that in another five years she'll be heading off to college...
Although, I must say, there's a strong chance we just might kill each other before that happens!
Along with this milestone has come the hormones. And mood swings. And yelling. Followed by slamming doors.
It ain't pretty.
But I am determined.
I will prevail.
So what do modern 13-year-old girls want for their birthdays?
Let's see... a pedicure, a manicure, a Nook, (given up on the cell phone), a Facebook account... just to name a few.
So what do discerning parents who are determined not to raise an over-indulged spoiled brat give said 13 YO?
A checking account.
When the list got out of control (and out of budget!), The Husband and I opted to take LittleD over to our local Chase Bank and open a new account.
They have a no-fee student account option that we (the 'rents) can magically control via the web. (And, yes, I declined to give her overdraft protection. When that card pops up "insufficient funds" it will stop working. Good habits are formed early.)
She's had a savings account forever, but this is one that she'll be responsible for, including the debit card.
And--here's the bonus--she can buy her own birthday gift(s).
I decided it's time we put the lessons about living on a budget into action. And, when she decided to take back the ugly birthday sweater Grandma sent and found two sweaters she liked, my response was, "Buy it yourself; you've got birthday money."
That was not the answer she was expecting. Or wanting.
Nor was that the answer LittleD wanted when she wanted some candy.
But my kid is no dummy!
Three days later, LittleD plops down on the couch and asks,
"So, is this bank account a present or a punishment?"
I think the gleam is already fading from that debit card.
Meanwhile, I think my devious plan is starting to work. She's hardly spent any of the money. (Funny how you don't need certain things when you pay for them yourself!)
She's decided to save up for a Nook. Which makes me think she might be growing up even faster than I think!

Meet Me On Monday

1. Have you (only you..not a group) ever won first place in anything?
A: I won a jar of candy corn in third grade when I guessed how many.
I also won Best Halloween Costume once, where I used to work. I dressed as Jackie Kennedy at the funeral. Tacky. But it paid off.

2. Are your toes always painted (sorry guys...this question for girls only)?
A: No. It's winter, so all my toes care about are wool socks!

3. What color eyes do you have?
A: Blue. Little bloodshot, after how I slept last night!

4. Look to your left....what do you see?
A: Empty bed where The Husband will be hogging the covers in a couple hours. (Surprised there's not a kid there, wanting bedtime cuddles.)

5. Soft cookies or crunchy cookies?
A: Depends: Chocolate chip--soft. Thin Mints--crunchy.


  1. You go mom! We had checking accounts/savings accounts at a young age and it does make you think about managing your money. She'll appreciate you...someday!

  2. Happy Birthday to Little D! My oldest turned 15 today - there was a snowstorm 15 years ago too - Chris spent days plowing out our road in case I had to be rushed to the hospital! Our kids get checking accounts when they start 4-H - that was a great present to get her! Good Luck with the teenage years - I feel like I am drowning some days!

  3. My husband would love this. Mine are 8 & 6 so we have a few years. They do have their savings account and I kind of taught them a lesson in giving buy asking their little friends to bring hats/gloves/mittens to their birthday party in lieu of gifts. They were donated to the hat/glove/mitten drive at school in December. Kind of a two-fold deal: it teaches them about giving to others and the gift of friendship AND I thought with Christmas just around the corner, parents had enough $ going out. It's all kind of like farm life, reality sprinkled with some magic.

  4. Great post. As dumb as this sounds, I actually enjoy the challenge of budgeting my "fun money" (income used for less essential clothes, accessories, etc.). It's like a game! That's what she's doing, saving for the Nook. So in addition to teaching her responsibility, you are sharing the thrill of the game with her. :)

  5. ah, I don't exactly look forward to those teenage years. Which is why I am glad you are going before me. Best of luck with that checking account (and, great idea)!

  6. Mine turned 13 last year and then the mood and attitude changed the next day.He thinks he's the smartest thing that ever was, but looking at his friends and kids at school I count my blessing that all he got is little bit of attitude.

  7. At first I was thinking today's teenagers must present more problems but most likely not true. I was actually thinking of the price of electronic stuff and they all want the top line. I'll bet every century has it's unique problems. Do you think Cleopatra begged for her own ship manned by galley slaves to go floating down the Nile when she was 13? Happy Birthday to Little D on her birthday. That's a milestone birthday for her.
    Love and Peace, Manzanita