Week of Money: Where I give myself a free shopping budget
??:?? — I head off to the bathroom and like a switch went off, Little Bun wakes up and says in a panic: “MOMMY??”…. I call out to him that I am still here, I did not abandon or leave him. I do not know what has been going on as of late, but he has been extra clingy. He hasn’t wanted me to even leave until he is in the bedroom down for his nap. I have to hug him extra long before he naps. He also basically is my shadow. No matter where I am or what I am doing, he seeks me out like a hound dog and sits beside me, on me, lying beside me, and starts happily spouting facts about things he learned recently like about the elements – hydrogen, carbon, oxygen … Or how big animals are. Or their tongues. Or WHATEVER. It’s like having a miniature, live Trivial Pursuit who is super cuddly, and clingy.
6:30 a.m. — He insists on working on the Hidden Puzzle game here advertised in the new Highlights magazine subscription I got for him – we sign up for the free trial, and he tells me where he finds all of the items.
6:55 a.m. — The english language is funny.
8:01 a.m. — My partner up, he’s making a quick rise bread for tonight’s meal – he gets the KitchenAid going, and I am with Little Bun snuggling, after he has breakfast.
8:39 a.m. — We head out to the park. At the park… temper tantrums. I do not know what is going on. I just hug him and say – if you want to stop, we can go somewhere else, or home, to calm down. He walks away to walk off his .. whatever his attitude is … maybe he’s tired?.. and my partner walks behind him, then alongside him, before bringing him back to the park.
I head off for a walk of my own. I am not even 5 minutes past, when I get an inkling I should head back, and I realize he had another meltdown. I get to the car just as they’re loading everything in, and I just look at him, with my hand on his chest. I don’t know what to say or do. I don’t know how to help him. Sometimes we just have bad days. After his nap, I make a mental note to go take him aside to ask him if he wants to let anything out on his chest, if he’s anxious or worried about something, angry.. this is very unusual behaviour from him. Maybe he is hungry. Maybe he is tired. He seems to be yo-yoing back and forth between anger and joy within a span of 15 minutes.
9:50 a.m. — We are at another park, then we drop off at another. I think he just needs to do what he wants to do, and I make a mental note for next week to ask him what he would like to do – go to a specific park and do a specific activity, or head to the park we always go to? It’s for him, these outings, as a family together.
11:15 a.m. — On the way home, he tells me he doesn’t feel hungry (he didn’t want to leave), but I tell him that sometimes we don’t feel hungry and yet we are! Sure enough, as he washes up then sits down for lunch, he announces his hunger. He also eats 1/4 of my lunch, then swarms my partner for 1/4 of his lunch.
1:00 p.m. — Down for his nap after we go through more pages of Math Genius, where he quizzes me on things like what is one fourth times one fourth!? .. and my brain is just spinning. I need downtime. I have been answering questions, listening to him and fielding temper tantrums for the past few days, and I need QUIET. I go to read my book.
2:56 p.m. — I end up spending in a span of a few hours, a little over $3000. Part of it is stress shopping to finally say – EFF IT – and buy the pieces I have been waiting for and saving for a few years, and part of it is just me hitting my money goals and telling myself to ease off the investing gas pedal. I don’t need to sock so much of my money away each month. I should loosen up a little. So I gave myself a rough amount to buy whatever I wanted as a reward (?) to how I have been doing. So far, I have spent $3000 and will likely stop. $3241.03
5:10 p.m. — I do all the dishes, laundry, dry it all, and then settle Little Bun into the bedroom to talk about this morning and the past few days. I genuinely want to know what is going on.
6:17 p.m. — Dinner time! It’s his favourite time of the day, mealtimes. It’s so nice to have a child who enjoys eating as much as we do, as we are a family who really loves and enjoys food and different tastes. Even if he doesn’t want to eat everything (red peppers were a hard pass from him last week), I ask him to try everything at least once, and in 7 tastes, THEN he can say yes or no. I also remind him that when he was a baby, he loved red peppers. Now he doesn’t but I think it is because the last time we had red peppers they were the spicy kind and it burned his mouth a little, and made me cry hot fat tears of pain, as I ate them. HAHA. He has a bad food memory with them now, but I am telling him we are checking each pepper before we give it to him now.
7:40 p.m. — I love books like this because I read the passage and think: YES!!!!! It is from this series – Cemetary by Zafon.
It is because I have been the young lady in a lot of situations, assumed to be the secretary or whatever else, when I was the one leading things. So .. this felt great in my soul to read.
9:06 p.m. — Book reading, extra Mommy snuggling time, then bed. I love the night time because we spend time talking to each other about our day and what went wrong/went well.
??:?? — I wake up early. Yesterday was a fluke that I woke up before he did.
6:00 a.m. — I log in to work.
12:22 p.m. — Little Bun started on his workbook pages at around 8 this morning, but then frittered his time away all morning. This is relevant this early to say this, because he ran off to play piano, then procrastinated by playing with his Stuffies, doing his magazine inserts. He starts freaking out at 12:22 p.m. because he wants to finish everything before his nap at 13:00, and doesn’t think he has enough time. He starts having a meltdown. I calm him down, I make him giggle just a little with silly examples of an elephant being as small as a mouse, anything to get him to redirect his stress. Then I talk to him very calmly and ask him questions:
When did you start working on your pages?
Do you remember what you did after you started working on your pages? I recall a little boy playing piano a number of times, then doing his Highlights activities for Find the Picture. Hmm?
I don’t say this in a shaming manner, I am smiling and hugging him as I ask him what he did all morning. I ask him to explain where he thinks his time went.
At the end, I very gently say to him: Now, if you remember all the things you did, and you know what Mommy is saying is quite true, do you think it should be something to get upset about? Or should you take responsibility, and say to yourself – I mismanaged my time this morning, and that is okay because everyone makes mistakes. Next time, I will keep an eye on the clock and plan my day better IF I want to finish by 13:00 before my nap. Otherwise, I will accept that after my nap, I have to go back to doing my pages.
This sounds long, tedious and boring, but I assure you, I have been doing this for a few months now, trying to get him to explain to me what he did, and to reason out why he thinks he did not plan his time well or did not get to what he wanted to do rather than blaming me, his father, the TV being on (he always has the choice to move to the bedroom where he has a desk set up to be in a quiet zone), and that the responsibility is on HIM to manage his workspace and time. If he feels we are loud and annoying, leave for the bedroom.
If he feels he is not going to get it done in time, he has to plan tomorrow, a better work plan. Maybe do your work first, THEN play. But he decides the schedule and I am not going to dictate to him when he gets them done as long as he gets them done. If he makes a mistake and it stays past nap time and he isn’t done until 19:00, then it is what it is.
I need him to take responsibility, to plan his time, and my only request is he does his pages that day. If he has pages to do for the next day, the consequence is he has tomorrow’s pages AND yesterdays pages. They do not disappear. He has to understand that his actions have consequences, and planning is important, and half the battle. Even adults suck at time management. I fritter away so much time it is laughable.
3:20 p.m. — Up from his nap, he finishes his pages (he only had 2 left), and then we head into the bedroom to play together. I am going to start blocking off time where it is just him and me, no distractions, phone, TV, whatever else, and we play together for 20 minutes a day. I hope it helps decrease the sudden clinginess that has cropped up recently. Sometimes it is nice just to lie there and talk.
3:40 p.m. — I head back to my desk after the break, and get back on a call before I end the day.
9:03 p.m. — Time for bed.
??:?? — Still tired.
8:00 a.m. — He starts EARLY on his pages, and makes excellent headway, giggling throughout this letter:
Dear Me (he is writing a letter to himself),
I love Sundays. There are fries on Sundays, I get to play Two Dots with Mommy. It’s awesome. I also get to watch action every day. What’s great about the action is that every day is a new action movie. Love, Me.
The action he is referring to, are action movies with his father. He likes wild action shots and so on and gets bored when there is too much talking.
7:59 a.m. — First calls of the day.
11:07 a.m. — He finishes all of workbook and I hand him the iPad, only to see him work through chess puzzles and learn how to do moves. I taught him a few basic moves, then I got this app for him, and he started playing it to learn how to move chess pieces. He tells ME about how to move them. When he wins, he is SO EXCITED, and shows me.
I do not know where this love for chess comes from because it is certainly not from me. I find the game too tough to handle with everything else these days, as you have to think a lot. He seems to really enjoy it. I wonder if it has anything to do with The Queen’s Gambit that I rewatched obsessively but I did it for the strong story line and characters!!!! NOT FOR CHESS.
1:08 p.m. — We have lunch.
3:28 p.m. — After his nap, laundry, and dishes.
8:30 p.m. — Little Bun works through logic math puzzles and he worked out this one on his own, with some hints from me:
And I asked him to create a chart to help, and he fills it in:
6:00 a.m. — I wake up tired again. This is my normal state. I log in, and then hop on a call.
9:25 a.m. — I am taking a break with tea while I am on a call.
12:37 p.m. — Lunch, then nap. Nap for him. I am taking a book break with another tea.
4:22 p.m. — I log off for the day. I am tired.
5:20 p.m. — I do more dishes, he wipes them down, then he says: LISTEN TO ME PLAY! … and I listen to him play with both hands on the piano. I AM SO PROUD. He practiced on his own, and taught himself how to play the piano slurs, the differences in legato, forte, and so on. And now he can do both hands together on the piano and he is working through all the piano songs. I cannot wait until he gets to the bigger songs, the joy of working out a longer more complicated song is truly exciting.
8:15 p.m. — Little Bun makes us all do prints, by rubbing a pencil on paper then picking up the filings with his finger and using tape to make the print (it was in his magazine). This is his toe. I am amazed at how clear and interesting it looks.
??:?? — Wow I SLEPT IN!
6:00 a.m. — We start the morning with a logic puzzle, we wanted to finish it:
7:33 a.m. — I am on calls.
8:37 a.m. — I am on more calls. I am stuck all morning until noon on calls. One after another, short reprieves between each as calls end early.
12:44 p.m. — Lunch! I mean, after I sent a few emails. I had to. I take a break to eat, then have a tea while I read my book on my ‘break’.
4:41 p.m. — I log off for the day.
8:19 p.m. — Time for bed.
??:?? — Little Bun tells me: LAST DAY FOR WORKBOOK!! YAYYYY!!!!!!!!!
6:00 a.m. — So he draws this:
7:59 a.m. — First call of the day.
11:15 a.m. — He finishes all of his pages early, and very happily colours in his last blocks before the weekend. This is the chart I make for him each month, and at the end, I draw him a trophy for the month that he finished.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch! He eats his, part of mine, part of my partner’s.
3:00 p.m. — I log off for the day. IT IS THE WEEKEND. And I browse some great outfit inspiration online:
4:12 p.m. — I am watching season 2 of Modern Love. IT IS EXCELLENT.
9:19 p.m. — Time for bed.
??:?? — YAY! SUNDAY! .. or so Little Bun screams when he wakes up.
7:13 a.m. — Little Bun tells me he wants to do his work first which includes sewing the socks. I grab the socks and Little Bun works on mending them
12:20 p.m. — Lunch. It’s fries. I dump siracha all over them because now I can’t eat them without it.
3:03 p.m. — Up from his nap. I am working through emails, making sure I am converting $CAD to $USD to trade for the following week, and so on.
4:03 p.m. — We play together and Little Bun makes up lunch combinations for me, which are: Noodles + Broccoli + Cauliflower + Chicken and all of its permutations.
9:24 p.m. — TIME FOR BED! After we read of course, and chat all night about things like how he feels and how I feel. I ask him if he is angry about anything and wants to talk it out. I never had this with my parents, and I think it is important to let him know he is important, loved and listened to. As a person, but also as a child because he is one, and I am still helping him by giving him advice of what I learned.
Want more? Read all of my previous Week of Money Diaries.