Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beats A Lemonade Stand

Readers of this blog know that Rachel is a unique child. Not only does she possess an unusual interest in plumbing and exhibit an inordinate fondness for decapitating stuffed animals, but she also seems to have kleptomaniacal tendencies. Oh, nothing major - she hasn't taken to packing some heat and knocking off banks (yet); but we don't exactly leave money lying around the house. Once, on a trip to Target, we discovered 24 dollars in her cute little purse, 24 dollars whose provenance she claimed not to remember.

So, naturally, when I discovered money while unpacking her backpack from our trip to Grandpa's house, I worried. I pictured her growing up and just "finding" things in stores and at friends' houses. I imagined phone calls to parole officers and visits from whoever is in charge of juvenile delinquents. I wondered whether she'd be able to complete college while incarcerated.

I decided to have a talk with her about ownership and how you don't just claim any loose change (or bills!) lying around someone's house, even if Grandpa does think you are cute and wouldn't complain. Because, really, she's 7 already. She should know better.

"Honey," I began. "I found some money in your backpack."

"My money!" she said, happily.

"Now, sweetie, you didn't bring any money to Grandpa's last week. This can't be yours."

"No! It's mine!" Still happy.

Oh, dear, this was going to be harder than I had thought. She's not only a kleptomaniac, but a compulsive liar to boot. Just one step away from a hardened criminal...

"Sweetheart, you can't just pick up someone else's money..."

"I won it!" she said, proud as punch. "From Uncle Matt! Playing Texas Hold 'Em!"

That's my girl. But is gambling preferable to stealing? Or am I just rationalizing deviant behavior? And does this mean I won't have to give her an allowance?

[And yes, Rachel does talk in exclamation points. All! The! Time! It wears out my ears.]

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25 comments:

  1. Sounds like she's already earning her keep. Good girl!

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  2. Gambling is preferable to stealing as long as she doesn't start stealing to cover her gambling debts. And you should play her one hand of hold'em every week. She wins, she gets her allowance, she loses. nada.

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  3. Ah, yes. When my son was 9 we were on a subway and he turned to me and said (in the hearing of at least 50 people), "Mom, you don't need to give me an allowance any more. I've learned to gamble!"

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  4. I had the misfortune of being stuck in a hospital for a couple of weeks when I was six years old. The doctors took pity on me and would often stop by my room to say hello.

    And teach me poker.

    This skill came in handy when I was in graduate school and played for late night rights to the computer lab....

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  5. Please send Rachel to live with me immediately.

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  6. I have an 8 yr old with the same vices. (Well, minus the Texas Hold 'Em.) Then she gets all hurt and offended when I get suspicious. "Why doesn't anyone ever believe me!?" (And if I knew how, that sentence would have every other word italicized, because that's how SHE talks.)

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  7. Just go with the flow. Take her on a field trip to Atlantic City.

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  8. So funny!

    Hey, I'm little low on cash...tell Uncle Matt that I'm up for some hold 'em.

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  9. I think it is cheaper to finish college in prison.

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  10. Well, that would position her to pay her tuition if she's a champion poker player! And it's legal AND she could be on TV!

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  11. Yes, you still have to pay her allowance, though might I suggest a mother and daughter trip to Vegas?

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  12. Just don't let her get online...

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  13. One of my girls, as a baby, was a klepto from her stroller. Half the time, we wouldn't discover it until we were home. Once, she was able to smuggle an enormous Beatrix Potter bunny into her stroller, wedging it under one fat thigh. Her klepto ways ended at about 18 months. At least, I hope they did. She's 16 now and I haven't gotten any phone calls from the police, so I'm hoping so.

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  14. Gambling is way better than stealing. But only if you win. But maybe you teach her to cheat at gambling then she could win all the time and it would be a win for everyone?

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  15. I was thinking that gambling might be a great cure for kleptomania. And I don't think you need to give allowance; it's time to introduce the gambling tax and cash in on the earnings.

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  16. hey, this girl could help you bringing in some money to fix broken appliances! keep her and put her to use! ;-)

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  17. Gambling is so much better than petty theft. And, really, is there anything cuter than a small child beating your brother at Texas Hold 'Em?

    Hmm. CHEATING at gambling may be a problem, but what are the chances of that happening..?

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  18. Now THAT is funny!

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  19. Uncle Matt though--contributing to the delinquency of a minor :)

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  20. LOL!!! I talk in exclamations too!
    Texas hold em! that is awesome!

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  21. Hilarious! That girl is a keeper. Child labor laws be damned - find a way to go her to work!

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  22. My grandmother taught me to play poker as a small child. Methinks it's time to teach our daughter...

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  23. Um, at least she wins?

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  24. Heck yeah. If the uncles gave it up to a little girl, I say it's hers.

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  25. Oh, now that is TOO funny! We have a little klepto too, whose piggy bank is always stuffed at the expense of everyone else around him. He's been known to lift tooth fairy money before the toothless recipient even knows it's there. But he's also charming and cute so sometimes people give him the money when he asks. It's not always easy later sorting out whether he stole or charmed his way into that pile of change. I guess now I need to add "won it in poker" to the list of possibilities...

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