Today is not only my 2nd nephew’s birthday, but also Nate’s best friend’s birthday. Formerly known as “The Lonely Child” who used to live next door, but now known as Cam who turns 14 today. I told Nate we should stop by because our bi-weekly dog walking excursion had been postponed until 5:15. Nate said, “I need to get him a present.”
Money wise, things are execeptionally tight right now, tight to the point that a trip to AZ to see Alice is way, way off, and more than likely, not even a possibility. I told Nate that we could always get something and give it to him on Friday, when he normally stays overnight on my weekends with Nate. Nothing doing.
Nate said, “No, I really need to get him something. He’s supposed to be getting a PS2 for his birthday.” I reminded Nate that as broke as we were, Cam’s parents were right there with us, perhaps even worse off. Nate pops the glove compartment and takes out a brand new, not even out of the cellophane, “Guitar Hero – Aerosmith.”
Nate had bought the game with his own birthday money and then had changed his mind and decided to get the Aerosmith game and guitar, neglecting to take just the game back. He had planned on trading the game, the game and guitar, and old PS2 back to the store for money to either buy new PSP games or putting the money toward a new PS2. I reminded him of this and he said, “No, that’s okay. I have other things I can turn in or trade.”
What could I say? He bought the game with his own money and he could decide what to do with it. So, he gave Cam the game for his birthday. Although Cam doesn’t have a guitar, Nate said he would probably prefer to play it more like a game with the controller, rather than having to learn the fingerings on the guitar.
I was very proud of Nate for putting his friend first, rather than his own desire to have another PS2 or another game himself. However, let us not forget that Nate has a sassy mouth which got him into an incredible amount of hot water today.
Nate helps me walk the dogs and I split the money with him. I feel as though that if he works for something, then he should be compensated for it. Since he elected to stay with Cam rather than walk the dogs today, he forfeited his five bucks. Not satisfied, he said he still wanted to earn some money today, even though we’ve moved dog walking from Thursday to tomorrow. I told him the grass needed mowed.
My backyard has a lot of crabgrass and can be difficult for me to mow, so I asked Nate to mow the front yard. Actually, I think I told him that I was tired of his sass and he needed to get outside. He decided to mow both yards. At some point I went into the backyard to see why the mower had stopped and his attitude overrode his ass when he said, “Ya know, I’ll be wanting a bit more money for this.”
Ohhhhhh, REALLY NOW! I said, “You know, Nate, being paid for a job is one thing, being paid by your mother for something I could simply order you to do without compensation is another. I would suggest you remember that the next time you open your mouth and let that shit come flying out of it. I WAS going to up your pay but now, I’m not so sure I’m going to pay you at all.”
I turned on my heel and walked away. He hasn’t said a word about it since. Not, “Hey Mom, about my five dollars…” Not a damn thing, which I’m actually very proud of him for. This means, HE LISTENED AND UNDERSTOOD that I pay him because I WANT to, not because I HAVE to. As the sole provider in this family, this entitles me to slave labor when the mood strikes me.
Nate’s been squirreling away his dog walking money and the money he got from his great-aunt for pulling weeds (he argued that she was paying him TOO MUCH), but he did take the money he got from her to buy his new Star Wars droid thingy… and actually said while looking at the toys, “A lot of these are out of my budget.” My kid has a budget, I’m happy.
Chances are I’ll pay him for the grass mowing and dog walking after we’re finished tomorrow. Making him wait for it won’t hurt him a bit. Then again, if that mouth flares up, he may just be mopping the kitchen floor – because I said so.