Monday, September 1, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day One

This morning we reminded the kids that we'd be challenging ourselves to commit to spending only on necessities for the month of September. We had a good discussion about what was a necessity, sort of. Rose Bud, being 12, is not really on board, especially since I told her she was responsible for making her own decision about the spending she does at school. I'm not going to force her to participate when she's away from home. I don't even want to force her to participate when she's AT home. But hey, she's a part of the family!

One interesting point Rose Bud brought up was why we hadn't stocked up on things. Mr. GT pointed out that people who live on a limited income don't have that luxury. We're just going to make do with what we already have available to us in our pantry and freezer. It might be a little tricky. A tiny bit of stocking up might have been a good idea. We haven't done a big shop in a long time, so our stock is a little meager right now.

So all was fine and good. We didn't go anywhere today, just hung out at home.

Until this afternoon, that is.

It was hot and humid today; probably the hottest it's been all summer (figures, since school starts tomorrow!). The neighbors decided to go to the pool. It's the last day it's open for the season. Rose Bud asked but I suggested she see about bumming a ride with the neighbors.

See, I have this thing about changing everyone into swimsuits and slathering 5 kids with sunscreen. Ok, four, because Rose Bud does her own. Mostly doesn't do her own. It feels "YUCKY" so she tries to get away without putting any on. So I hate to slather four children and feel guilty about the sunburn of the fifth. Then we have to collect all the towels and all the goggles and I have to get into a swimsuit. And put on sunscreen. It's YUCKY! Once we get to the pool, I am all aflutter over the two middles being in the big pool shallows by themselves and Rose Bud in the deep by herself and hoping Sunshine decides this is a good day to remember to poop in the potty and enjoying the sight of my giant white thighs beneath me....

It's a fun time!

Rose Bud didn't bum a ride and I took a lovely nap with Sunshine. When I woke up she was immediately there to beg to go to the pool. I thought, "What the heck! I'm a GOOD mom and it's the last day of swimming season. I will take my (four big) kids to the pool! What a good mom am I!"

Lots of jumping around and cheering from the peanut gallery.

And then Mr. GT says, "How do you all plan to get INTO the pool????"

Huh? What do you mean? I have money. I worked this weeken....... oh.



I was really disappointed, and the kids didn't get it at all, at first.

And then I reminded them. And I was MAD! I WANTED to go to the pool! I wanted to be a really good mom!

I struggled with how to justify spending $6, just this once, and I couldn't figure out a way.

The kids all got really quiet and Rose Bud KNEW what I was going to say. I watched her face go from joy to shock to sadness to anger.

I asked, "What is the RIGHT thing for us to do?" They all agreed it was not to go.

I mentioned that $6 was enough to support 3 people somewhere in the world and reminded them we were going to give away the money we save this month.

I pointed out that we had committed to this experiment and we needed to honor that commitment.

Banana Boy was blissfully unaware there was even a discussion going on. Daisy and Pepper looked sad.

Then I thought of running in the sprinkler. AND having root beer floats.

Daisy, bless her little heart, was right away on board and if Daisy was on board, Pepper was on board. Sunshine was now able to participate, too! And Mr. GT is always happy to have a Root Beer Float!

Rose Bud, on the other hand, was devastated. She cried. She wailed. She negotiated. She thought of other ideas (like riding her bike to the pool and paying for it herself). Unfortunately, we didn't think this was a safe idea.

We set the sprinkler up in the front yard and it happened to be next to the tire swing. Pepper sat on the swing and swung in and out of the sprinkler. Daisy took Sunshine through over and over until he was a shivering, teeth-chattering ice cube. Banana Boy went in once we turned the water down to just a tiny shower. Rose Bud protested the whole time.

I felt badly for her. I would have been just as mad at that age! I would have been furious. What a dumb idea! Parents are always doing these crazy things! I'm sorry she was so disappointed.

But when it came time for RB floats and I announced that only the kids in the sprinkler were getting any, she opted to cool off and get wet.

Mr. GT taught everyone a cool squeaky trick to do with their straws and things were peaceful once again.

I had thought this would be a piece of cake. Eh, we just won't spend any money. We just won't buy anything. This is not going to be as easy as I thought.

an interesting aside: Here is today's Bible verse on my blog: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Teaching the lessons is the hardest part, but I pray the fruits will be worth it.


Owlhaven said...

Oh, that's tough when some kids aren't thrilled. Our dishwasher is currently on the fritz-- kind of an accidental addition to the 30 days of nothing-- and there has been a bit of grumping around here.


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written story.

Yes, the training is the hardest part. Day one and already learning lessons. Hurray for you mom!

I hope my days are ripe with fruit when all is done by the end of September.