Katie: "Mom, I'm going to clean my room."
Katie: "I'm going to clean my room."
Me: "Huh? What's going on?"
Katie: "I'm going to clean my room. All by myself."
Me: "You're going to clean your room all by yourself? You don't want any help?"
Katie: "Nope. I'm going to do it all by myself."
Me, skeptically: "Wow."
Katie: "If I do chores around the house will you give me an allowance?"
Me, the rebellious daughter of two retired accountants who thought she had been keeping her child in ignorant financial bliss: "An allowance? Who told you about doing chores for an allowance?"
Katie: "Brady and Kale do chores for an allowance."
Me: "Oh. Your classmates do this so you think you should do it too?"
Katie: "Yes. I think it's a great idea!"
Me: "Well, like what kind of an allowance are we talking about here?"
Katie: "Like, if I clean my bedroom you give me two dollars?"
Me, holding out my hand to shake-on-it before my sweet, ignorant child realizes two bucks to clean her room is a freaking steal! I had planned on helping her with it this weekend but if she wants to do my part for two bucks, have at it kid: "It's a deal!"
Me: "Sure. I wasn't going to talk to you about doing chores for an allowance for a few years. Honestly I didn't think you were mature enough for that kind of responsibility yet, but since you brought it up, sure, why not. Let's try it. But I still want you to help pick up after yourself in the living room and take your dishes to the kitchen and set the table and stuff like that for free, just because you're a part of the family and we all have to pitch in on picking up after ourselves, Ok? But for special, big cleaning projects, sure, you can have some money for doing those kinds of things."
Katie: "I am mature enough to do it, Mama!"
Me, my throat catching a bit: "Yes you are, Sweetie. So what are you going to do with all the money you earn? Buy ice cream from the Ice Cream Truck?"
Katie: "No! I'm going to save it for college."
Me: "What? Are you serious?"
Katie: "Yes! Brady and Kale are saving their allowance for college too. We're going to be scientists!"
Me: "Wow, Sweetie. That's great! Would you like to open a savings account at the bank?"
Katie: "What's a savings account at the bank?"
Me: "It's where you give them your money that you want to save for college, and they give you a little bit of money each year that you have money in your savings account, so like if you put fifty dollars in the account they might give you two bucks after the year, so then you'd have fifty-two dollars in your account even though you only put in fifty. And then if you put in fifty more, you'll have one-hundred and two dollars! And after a year you'll have one-hundred and four dollars because the bank will give you two more dollars. So by the time you're eighteen you'll have a lot of money saved."
Katie: "Yes! I want to do that!"
Me: "Ok. Clean up your room and we'll open you a savings account."
Me, wiping sleep out of my eye with one hand while the other hand holds a cup of coffee: "Katie Bug, are you going to clean your room?"
Me: "Uh. Remember? You said you were going to clean your room so you could get an allowance and save your money for college so you can study to be a scientist?"
Katie: "Oh. Ha-ha-ha. No."
Me, a little disappointed I felt so disappointed that my six-year-old kid lost her enthusiasm for cleaning her room and not blowing her money on ice cream: "Oh. You don't want to go to college and become a scientist when you grow up?"
Katie: "No. I do. But for now I just want to watch 'The Lion King.'"
Whew! I was worried my kid was starting to lose her ability to live in the moment. These hooligan first graders, teaching my kid about financial responsibility. Good thing she's got all summer to laze around, watching videos and not cleaning her room, to forget about their radical ideas.