For about the last year, Gracie has been a little obsessed with collecting money. At first, she didn't understand the amounts of coins versus dollars. She was pleased when I'd give her a penny.
Soon, she figured out that if we were in the cashier line at McDonald's, she could find coins that had rolled under the cash register. Her height was perfectly in line with seeing directly under the register. Often, Gracie would place them into the Ronald McDonald House collection containers, but a few times, she kept them. Other times, she'd grab a coin or two off of my dresser. Most of her money came in the form of a few dollars at a time in birthday cards. Eventually, she ended up with $36 and some change. Honestly, I don't know how much change she has because she tosses it around like confetti in her room.
With Gracie being in first grade now, she is suddenly learning the value of each coin along with the concept that each item in the store has a unique cost. On a recent trip to Target last week, she hung out in the "dollar aisle" carefully examining each item for its worthiness of her purchase. She was disappointed that she had forgotten to bring her purse along with its stash of cash.
So yesterday, I said, "Gracie, I need to go to Target. Do you want to come with me?"
Her face lit up as she replied, "Yes! I need to get my purse, Mom. Wait for me! I need to go get it. I hope those cute little Santa hats are still in the dollar aisle."
A few minutes later, she emerged with one of my old purses. Inside, she shoved her Disney Princess wallet.
"Okay, Mom. I'm ready to go."
We drove to Target, and as she held my hand, she merrily skipped along swinging my old purse. Very conveniently (tongue in cheek), Target places the dollar aisle at the front of the store. In bee line fashion, she sought out what she called the "cutest little Santa hat and mittens" for her precious Danny Kitty loved one. She shrieked with glee and placed them in the shopping cart.
After I finished my shopping, we went to the check out line. I approached the cashier, and said, "My daughter is making her first purchase with her own money." I smiled a large smile, and the cashier responded perfectly. She treated Gracie with the utmost respect, and made it a special experience.
"That will be $2.11, Miss."
"Mommy! Can you help me hold my wallet?"
Grace plucked two dollars out of the wallet, and placed them in the cashier's hand.
I reminded, "Gracie, she said two dollars and eleven cents. So if you give her only two dollars, that isn't enough money to pay for what you are buying. Why don't you give her one more dollar? Then, that will pay for the 11 cents you still owe. Don't worry though, she will give you some change back since you only owe 11 cents."
"Oh. Okay, Mom." She handed over another dollar, and received 89 cents in return.
It was Grace's first consumer purchase. She seemed a bit perplexed, and a little overly concerned with what to do with her coins since her wallet didn't have a change holder. I helped her drop the coins down into the bottom of the purse. She clutched her purse and shopping bag, and grinned from ear-to-ear as I checked out. I couldn't help but smile along with her.
She may have debited her stash of cash, but she made a very large deposit in my heart. Way to grow up Gracie. Mama loves you.