SoCS and JusJoJan Day 24: Coitus Interrupt Us

Merrily down the stream of consciousness!

I’m thinking the name says it all, here, so be warned; this is a post about sex. If that’s not your cuppa tea, might I suggest popping over to sample one or more of these posts, instead:

Speaking of a cuppa, I think I should have another before I begin…

Okay, I’m back.

This post is doing double duty. It’s an entry in Just Jot It January, for the January 21-30 prompt. It’s also my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post for today’s theme: most/least.

One of our children, when an infant and toddler, had the nickname Coitus Interrupt Us – for the sake of sparing potential embarrassment for the person in question, I will not say which, although the party has actually granted permission for me to do so.

It was a moniker well earned – there simply did not seem to be a time when we embarked upon a lovemaking journey when this child, even if previously sound asleep (which was most often the case, young children having rather frequent and immediate need for parental attention on a near-constant basis) would suddenly be wide-awake, and usually distraught, hungry, dirty, or all of these.

We tried different parts of the house and different times – it was no good. We got really, really fast – but not fast enough. Our offspring foiled us, again and again and yet again. It was, bluntly, a heckuva dry spell for us.

I’ve always felt that one of the greatest jokes that nature plays on humanity is the way sex creates children, and children can all but eliminate sex from their parents’ lives. We had the most sex when we were hoping to create or add to our family, and by far the least in the first months and years after succeeding at those goals.

A little hand-holding in the car can go a looong way! And taking a picture means you might remember it later!

There are innumerable commercials that say, in cooing tones, “Having a baby changes everything.”

If you aren’t yet a parent, but hope to be one day, believe it. And know that it means sex, too.

Try to prepare yourself.

And know that it does get easier. Kids have this way of growing up, you see. If you can handle that long mostly-dry spell (not every child has the unerring instinct our young CIU had; our other child was far less apt to catch us ‘in the moment’, as it were), and tend to your wee one’s needs with something approaching good cheer, even when your desires have been thwarted for the nteenth time in the last week, you will – eventually – be rewarded by a child who spends more time engaged in his or her own independent pursuits, or who can sleep for more than an hour or two at a stretch. And my guess is, you’ll be pretty quick – and mightily adept – at making use of those opportunities!

I’m here, with now-older offspring, to tell you that it doesn’t have to be permanent. It may never be as spontaneous or easy as it was in those pre-baby days – but you can get back to a point where sex isnt just that thing you remember longingly from the days before you decided to use it for the purpose of procreation, but something you can do more or less regularly, now.

Really.

And, in case this has terrified you, consider this: you will appreciate those moments of closeness a whole lot more, when you know what it is not to be able to find the time to rub moments or lips together for a while.

And, in the between time, there are measures you can take that don’t disrespect your children’s needs – or yours. Once, we set up an afternoon playdate for the kids to hang with their similarly-aged cousins. We did this weeks in advance, and I went out and bought massage products. We spent the entire time the kids were gone on our bed, touching, chatting, and making love – very much the way we had at the very beginning of our relationship. Only, then, we had taken it for granted. With only those precious few hours to know that we wouldn’t be interrupted (barring emergency, that is!), we valued them far more. It’s still a treasured memory, that decadent sunny afternoon when we lolled on our bed as indolent as cats in a sunspot.

By the way, injecting a little humor into the situation can do wonders.  That nickname we gave our child was an inside joke between the two of us, back then, a way to laugh when we wanted to scream or cry. It reminded us not to take the whole thing too seriously.  And shared laughter can be pretty danged sexy, in its own right – and it can last for years and years – years during which the young purveyor of involuntary parental abstinence will grow….

If you’re a parent, have you had this experience, or is it just our child who was supernaturally talented?

Find more sexy jottings (and maybe fewer interruptions!) here!

Just Jotting sexily through January!

JusJoJan Day 23: Sexual Shaming

Jottin’ and pillow talkin’ my way through January!

Hello, again! It’s cold here, but I’ve got a fire in the wood stove, and a cozy lap blanket…and I’m about to heat up this blog with a little sex talk!

If you’re not into that, this would be a good time to bow out ’til Saturday the 31st, since I’ll have sexy topics till then. Still want to visit? May I recommend, one or more of these vintage posts, selected for your reading pleasure?

What attitudes and beliefs do you have about sex? Are they the same as those your parents instilled in you, as a child? If you have children, what attitudes and beliefs have you tried to impart to them?

I was sharing a cuddle with my daughter earlier, and asked her how she supposed, with all the daughters I could have had, I got lucky enough to have her.

“You had sex with Daddy,” she answered, with ten-and-a-half year old certainty, and utterly without shame. To her, sex is just that – a matter-of-fact part of grown-up life, something she’ll probably do herself someday.

Shame was a large part of my childhood. It was used to keep me in line, to let me know when I had let my parents down, to discourage me from doing things I wanted to do that they didn’t approve of.

My mother would often point a finger at me, and stroke another over it, in a motion that reminded me of peeling a carrot, and chant, “Shame, shame on you.”

When it came to sex, shame was her primary attitude. If I had sex, or even wanted to, before I was married, I ought to be ashamed of myself.

‘Nice girls say yes. GOOD girls don’t. Don’t be nice; be good.”

Listen, baby Shan – don’t ask where you came from!

The refrain still echoes in my forty-five year old ears. I was raised to be a good girl. I was raised to ‘save myself’ for marriage. I was raised to deny my sexual drives, to be chaste until my wedding night….

I’m glad I chose differently.

Why?

  • I was eleven, and asked how women got pregnant, my mother said that the baby got in the same way it came out, and she’d tell me more when I got older… but she never did.

  • I was terrified when I had my first real boyfriend at the age of 17, because the things I felt for him and with him went way beyond innocence. Every fumbling touch brought guilt, even though we remained completely dressed. I couldn’t talk to my mother about these “dirty” feelings of mine, and stay a ‘good girl’.

  • In my late teens, I had a boyfriend I wanted to marry. My mother coerced a promise from me that I would come to her and tell her if I really wanted to have sex – before I did. I made the promise – I still lived at home, and the consequences of NOT promising would have been severe – but I knew even then that I wasn’t likely to keep it. Why? Because I knew that her intent was to try to talk me out of it, rather than really discuss the pros and cons of taking that step.

  • I lost my virginity a month shy of my twenty-first birthday. I had recently moved away from home, in no small part because of my parents rule that I was not allowed to have sex while I lived under their roof (my two brothers had no such rule; we were a true Double Standard family.)

  • The first man I had sex with was twice my age, and married. With all the sexual shaming in my growing up, the denial of information and open, non-judgmental communication, I was nearly defenseless against a skilled sexual conquistador.

  • Because of the shaming I’d been raised with, I found it nearly impossible, at that point in my life, to express anger, hurt, sorrow, pain, desire, or other strong feelings. In some sense, I was locked into myself,unable to reach out. I couldn’t explore my sexuality first within a relationship; I would have become frozen and unresponsive to be that vulnerable and exposed.

  • He was skilled, patient, and generous. He took his time with me, and initiated me with tenderness. I’m grateful to him for that, even though, at the time, I was ashamed of my inability to resist his advances – the advances of someone who knew how to break down defenses.

  • I might not have chosen that, if my own sexuality hadn’t been treated as something to be ashamed of. I would have loved to have had a mother I could talk with about it, as things were developing. I might have chosen differently, and I certainly would have been better able to make an informed decision, rather than being overwhelmed by the charm of this man twice my age. I would have known the allure young women have for men dealing with the anxieties of midlife, and marriages that perhaps aren’t all they want them to be. I would have been informed, and empowered, in a way that I wasn’t.

  • When my mother learned I was no longer a virgin (through my sister, not me), she ignored me for six weeks. I was twenty-three years old.

  • Tim and I were together for 11 months and 6 days when he died on a rainy April morning. We were living together “in sin”, as my mother liked to say. If I’d waited for marriage to have sex, I would have missed out on some beautiful experiences – and Tim would have died without the solace and pleasure of sexual intimacy. Instead, we had a rich and varied sex life; one that sustained and delighted us both. There was absolutely nothing shameful about it.

  • I was twenty-eight when I married my Accomplice. Hes always been glad I wasn’t a virgin (You see, I learned some things along the way, and he’s reaped the benefit of that experience for nearly eighteen years). Several years after I was married, my mother told me that she still thought there would come a day when I would be “sorry and ashamed” that I wasn’t married a virgin.

And the nervy non-virginal bride still wore white!

Well, I’m not sorry, and I’m not ashamed. What I find shameful in the paradigm I was raised within - the attempt to control my sexuality by denying it, to hold it back so that it wouldn’t be uncomfortable for my parents.

And there’s no way I’m passing those attitudes on to my own daughter. I’m glad she’s not ashamed, that she’s informed, and knows she can talk to me. I’m glad she’ll grow into her own sexuality with knowledge and strength. Better for her; better for her partner or partners in this oldest and most intimate of dances.

Maybe, even, better for the world.  

Read more Jottings here!

JusJoJan Day 22: A Matter of Biology…?

Jottin’ and Sashaying Through January!

Why, hello there! Welcome to JusJoJan Day 22! Are you ready to play?

As it happens, today is my father’s birthday. If he wasn’t born, I wouldn’t be here to write this post, and embarrass  entertain you with it. If I wasn’t born, my children wouldn’t have been, and there would be less silliness, less sass, less deep conversation in the deeps of the night, and many fewer Random Animals in the world. Whoever lived in this house might be a lot neater than us (but I bet they wouldn’t laugh nearly as much as we do – it’s a flat-out comedy club around here a lot of the time – don’t believe me? The phrase, ‘They’ll have to hunt the furry-headed armadillo was uttered here within the last 24 hours. And, wanna know what? I know you don’t really really do! There actually WAS a furry-headed armadillo for those Monster High ghouls to hunt!)

What’s that you say? I digress?

Might I direct your attention to the blog header up there that says Lovely Chaos? Well, this is one of the more chaotic bits!

I just wanted to offer a little amusement value for those who will be jettisoning this post once they realize it’s really about S-E-X!

So, if you’re one of them, I invite you to exit, stage left. Sunday would be a good day to pop back, since I’ll have non-sexy posts to share then. Or, you might try these…

                                      

Okay, I’m assuming that if you’re still here, it’s with full awareness that we’ll be talking about sex.

We know that sex is a biological function, intended for procreation. As it’s said, the birds and the bees do it, and so do humans. Many animals will mate in front of anyone who happens to be around. They don’t mind being watched; they’ve got a biological imperative to attend to, and that’s all there is to that story.

Long ago, before we had children (the result of our own attendance to the biological drive to procreate), my Accomplice and I lived not in the wilds of upstate New York, but in the far wilder wilds of Yellowstone National Park. And every fall, there was a certain sound that echoed out, one that stirred deep instinctive places in my soul….

I’ve always suspected there was a reason that all my babies were conceived in the fall, and that their due dates were all within a month. That bugle got into my blood, and put ideas into my head that wouldn’t go away…

As humans, we often try to deny our animal natures, our primitive souls, our limbic systems…

And yet, they’re at the root of all that we are. Without them, we might never have survived long enough to create civilizations and defile our world – or to leave it.

I’ve heard it said that everything ever done, all the art, all the scientific discoveries, all the claiming of land and destruction of cultures, was done for the sake of sex. I don’t know if I believe that- but I know that sex is a primal drive. On Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it’s at the base of the pyramid – right there with food, water, sleep, and shelter. In the beginning of a sexual relationship, many of us would probably be as willing to give up those other four to have that one, the same way those elk are willing to bash their antlers into other bulls’, running the risk of being gored or becoming entangled, of bearing injury or death or defeat, just for the chance to mate.

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.

Sex is heady stuff – even on the most basic level. When the overlay of emotion and sensuality are laid over it –

It can be amazing. Or terrifying. Or unattainable.

Or most anything else; or everything else….

Yes, it’s a matter of biology.

But it’s so much more.

How about you? Do you ever consider the primal nature of sex, the way it links us to our earliest ancestors and the rest of the animal world? Is there an animal that touches some aspect of sexuality or sensuality for you, the way the elk do for me?  

Find more JusJoJan here!

JusJoJan Day 21: Let’s Talk About Sex!

Jottin and Sauntering through the rest of January!

So, are you ready to talk about sex? Or does the whole idea make you want to blush and click on over to another screen?

It’s OK, if you want to go. I don’t want people feeling uncomfortable. And, fair warning –

Things are gonna get a little sexy here, for the next ten days or so, because sex is fun, and good for the body and soul, and because it’s the prompt for Days 21-30 of Linda G. Hills Just Jot It January. I intend to walk the balance beam between the sensual and the explicit. I aim to titillate and be provocative in the sense of inspiring thought and feeling more than to delve into the overtly graphic…although you might want to save the videos for later, if you’re at work or hanging with very young people.

I suppose you could say that I intend to be something of a tease. ; )

OK – are you still with me? All righty then! Time to decide what my topics will be for the next days…

Hmmmm…..

I think I need another cuppa coffee, and a few minutes. So here’s a little treat, to occupy you while you wait for me to come back and entertain you…

I’m back, with some deliciously spicy ideas rolling through my mind – and yes, that video was a hint at what’s to come….ummm, yeah. I either meant that double-entendre, or it was a happy accident. You decide!

So, I promised you a list of topics….and here goes:

21: Setting the Mood (that’s this post!)

22. A Matter of Biology…?

23. Sexual Shaming

24. Coitus Interrupt Us

25. Who Owns Their Sexuality?

26. Of Zucchinis and Condoms

27. Vulcan Biology

28. Inter-Species Relations

29. Sex in the Big City

30. Who Owns MY Sexuality?

That’s my list, and I’m sticking to it. I’m looking forward to playing with these ideas, and sharing….because, really, sex is best when it’s undertaken with a sense of playful adventure!

Still here? Planning to come back? Want to share your own thoughts on sexuality? Want to pull up the covers and hide from the whole thing? That’s OK – I don’t mind.

Want to read other sexy jottings? Find ‘em here! =D

WIPpet Wednesday: “About My Ears…”

 

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

I’m sharing the penultimate snippet from “Tigress T’Pol”, a locked-room story from The IDIC Romance, my Story A Day May Challenge project. This is a Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip.

Disclaimers: T’Pol, Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of CBS/Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

Convoluted WIPpet Math So That I Get My Way:

  • Today is January 21, 2015.
  • Math: All digits played with this way: 1 + 2 + 1= 4; 4 x 2+ 0 =8; 1+5=6: 4+6 =10: 8+10= 18; 18-10=8….I know I could have done that in a far simpler way, but I’m way overtired, and I like playing number games from time to time.
  • You get 8 short paragraphs today – and this is almost it, so I hope you enjoy!

This story is an add-on scene for the pilot episode: Broken Bow Part 1. Ive done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.

In February, I’ll be returning to Chameleon’s Dish (which may or may not become Never Doubt I Love) – to reconnect with Henry, Tisira, and Nockatee…I’ve been revising this month, and I’ve discovered how much I’ve missed this unique ‘threesome’…

But for now, there’s a Vulcan and a human locked in a cell… Trip was maybe about to learn what T’Pol‘s ‘extenuating circumstances’ were when those ears of hers picked up on something he couldn’t hear… today, we learn what T’Pol hears, and talk a bit about ears, too…

We’ll have some of this….because you KNOW this little cell interlude isn’t going to ease all the tension between these two!

Another few seconds that seemed to stretch out almost forever, until T’Pol said quietly, “There are four people approaching. I believe that two of them are Captain Archer and Ensign Sato, and that they, too, have been taken captivee. Their footsteps sound -” I could feel her frowning, trying to find a word that fit. “Reluctant – as though they are being forced.”

I kept my voice down, so I wouldn’t distract her too much. “I can’t hear anything. How far away are they? Can those pretty ears of yours tell that?”

“Two levels, perhaps three. It’s hard to be certain at this distance.” She half-turned back to me. “Commander Tucker – about my ears – “

I gave her the best innocent look I could muster – hadn’t ever fooled my mama, but T’Pol wasn’t Katherine Tucker, or even human. “Yes, Subcommander T’Pol?”

Her face softened, a little. “While I find your – fascination – with my auditory organs agreeable, in private, I request that you refrain from referencing it in the presence of the remainder of the crew. It’s a matter of – “

“Protocol. I know. And I’ll try to make it look like I’m still ticked off that you’re here, and that I haven’t gotten past the fact that your’e a Vulcan long enough to see that you’re a helluva sexy woman, and that you didn’t straddle me and damn near strip me, and that I have no idea at all how damned good you feel in my arms, not to mention the way you taste, and -“

“Trip.” She turned back to me, and there was something like fear in her eyes. She must’ve been scared, because the next thing she said was pure human. “Please.”

“Sorry,” I told her, and meant it. “I’ll behave.” At least, I would damned well try.

Can Trip behave? And are they headed for salvation, or deeper trouble? Is there ever going to be a bed and a door in their future?!

Come back next week to find out more!

And eventually, THIS!

Yes, I’ve counted..applying decontamination gel to Trip’s right shoulder five times isn’t exactly, well, logical…and that’s before the ear joke…but after Trip’s eyes and fingers head south, and other parts head – ahem, further north…

January 21, 2015: Variable Visions

ROW, ROW, ROW your boat….

Can you believe that January is already winding down?

There were fewer people at the Y today, and I didn’t see any tours happening. So, resolutions may be waning, for some of those who set them. Since I’m a big-goals-taken-in-baby-steps type, I’m starting to see some cumulative progress, and I’m eager to see which goals I can complete in the next ten days. I’ve got most things in progress, now, and the longer-term projects are moving along. I’ll be patching in some of the smaller ones I haven’t spent much time with, too, for the remainder of this month.

Are you seeing progress with your goals or resolutions, or considering revisions to your vision?

January Update #5:

  • Goals attained: blue with strikethrough: 24.5

  • Goals in progress: green: 27

  • Goals-in-waiting: red: 6.5

Focuses:

  • Revisions: Chameleon’s Dish; The IDIC Romance; and “Morning Coffee”.

  • Write1Sub1: Terrance’s Story (for Kifo Island Chronicles); “Morning Coffee”.

  • Oregon Trip: Planning and preparing.

Dreams can come true – especially when I’m ROWing along! Photo by Annalise S. Burton.

Writing:

Write1Sub1:

Write rough draft of Terrance’s story (for Kifo Island Chronicles).

  • Cheat Sheet finished; plot and pinch points set.

Submit “Morning Coffee” to World Unknown Review.

  • Exercise 3/5 in revision.

Kifo Island Chronicles:

Sort stories into novella threads; choose three.

Complete background information for at least one, using Cathy Yardley‘s Rock Your Plot. 

Star Trek Chronology Project

Complete current viewing of Star Trek: Enterprise. 

Rewatch Season 1; taking notes and beginning story list.

The IDIC Romance: 

Research fan fiction sites.

Choose one for first submission.

A-Z travel posts:

Create list of A-Z post topics.

  • About 1/5.

Trueborn Warp/Weft series:

Sketch notes for next volume in each series.

  • Chose topics.
  • Basic bullet lists to ponder.

Write at least 750 words daily:

Use 750words.com for freewriting and to chart progress.

  • 20/31 days.

Pre-revision notes, Bounded by a Nutshell.

Editing:

Chameleon’s Dish:

Revise all plot points for Chameleon’s Dish (6.5 scenes).

  • 1.5/6.5 January scenes completed.

  • Revising Midpoint 2/3.

The IDIC Romance:

Complete revision pass for “Tigress T’Pol” as WIPpet project.

  • Yes! Done, and split into two final segments.

Combine “Breaking Protocol”, “Mystery Woman”, and “Magical Possibilities” into new rough draft.

Write1Sub1: 

Revise “Morning Coffee”.

  • New insights will make a longer, better story!

Choose at least 1 more story for 2015 revision.

Playful Learning!

Social Media:

Blog Maintenance:

Maintain regular posting schedule, comments, and visits.

  • Yes.

Build blog queues:

Write at least 1 Coffee and Conversation post:

Write 1 “special” WIPpet.

Blogging Action Plan:

Review Blogging Action Plan; highlight for revision.

Review Lovely Chaos Sidebar; make list of desired changes.

Twitter and Facebook: 

Visit each twice weekly.

  • Facebook: 1/ 2
  • Twitter: 1/ 2

Pinterest, LinkedIn, WANATribe, ect:

Visit one weekly.

  • WANATribe: Seems very quiet over there….
  • Pinterest – ooh, yummy!
  • 2/1.

Share posts – mine, and others’:

Share 3 items a week.

  • Several/3: Twitter and Facebook Writer Page, with hashtags.

Blog views and followers:

Increase blog views to 25 on a semi-regular basis (at least 10 times this month).

  • 19/31.

I know that desk is still there, under a pile of living…!

Hometending:

Family room reset:

Clean the three toy bins (trains; gears; misc.).

Clean the Lego and battle game drawers.

Kitchen reset:

Clean all kitchen counters to left of sink.

Rehome pans and serving dishes to pantry.

Inhabit my study:

Clean and organize floor.

  • Good progress!

Replace calendar and candle.

Use the space weekly.

  • All the writing stuff! =D

Personal Administration:

Clean, organize, and backup Desktop and Writing Bullpen files‘; sort Leisure Time Reading file.

  • More LTR sorting/deleting.

Maintain inbox below 100 messages twice weekly.

  • Tuesday. 1 /2.

Homeschool Administration:

Begin second quarter homeschool reports for both kids, due March 15.

Photo digitalization:

Scan Oregon travel photos; save in organized files with backup.

ROW80:

Submit sponsor post.

Keep visits up-to-date.

Give us peace.

Lifetending:

Oregon vacation:

Make list of what needs doing.

Make schedule for accomplishing list items.

Do what can be done in January; evaluate weekly.

  • Began discussing/ arranging rental car; itinerary; scheduling.

Kindle ebooks:

Read and write reviews for 2 books on my Writers I Know list.

NNWM local group:

Continue attending write-ins whenever possible.

  • Not this week, due to weather.

Interact at least weekly online.

  • Tuesday morning.

Meditation:

Experiment with guided/unguided meditation at least once a week.

TBR Stacks:

Read 1 book from bedroom TBR pile.

Smart Change:

Make a list of goals to focus on, using the methods in this book.

  • Reread most of Chapter One.

Starfleet:

Reconnect with USS Albany group.

  • Emailed!

My beloveds:

One on one time with each, at least twice per month, doing something of value to us both.

  • 4/2 -Accomplice and Annalise.
  • 5/2 – Jeremiah.
  • Fashion; Cookie Clicker; workout/ dinner out; couples’ time/movies.

Paying it Forward:

Complete at least two beta reads and promotional blog posts for other writers as requested.

  • Completed Chapter Four.
  • Betas: 0 /2 complete.

Fitness and Nutrition:

Workouts:

At the Y or a strenuous activity at least weekly.

  • Yes; strong on weights, light on cardio.

Wii Fit at least once weekly, for 15 minutes minimum.

Walk, dance, swim, or physical play:

With children, spouse, and/or dog at least weekly.

  • Workout with Jeremiah.

Practice:

Find out t’ai chi and yoga class schedules.

Intuitive Eating:

Read.

Cooking/ Food Preparation:

Develop a repertoire of 4 self-made food options that support my nutritional goals.

Maintain weekly nutritional quotas; adapt as needed.

Weight:

Maintain or reduce weight; continue monthly checks.

  • Maintained preceding weight. =)

Take a ride on the ROWboat!

Sunset in Florence, Oregon, long ago….

JusJoJan Day 20: Our Kinda Economics

Just Jottin’ through January!

Does time move quickly for you, Tempus Fugit style? Or is it doing the crawl, imitating a sloth as it drags along, seeming to have no particular place to go, and no need to get there until it does?

Something in between, that changes along with the mood or circumstances?

Now, what about your finances?

See what I did there? I guess you weren’t expecting that *giggles*.But economics is a part of life, like it or not, and I don’t want to end my ten days of ‘rithmetickling (yup, I totally just made that up - I’m sorry you’re welcome!) without taking a little peek into the fabulous world of money, goods, services, and commodities.

Some things that happened in our family:

  • Annalise, 10, wanted the new Monster High DVD. She was paying back an advance on her allowance; and the family budget was already stretched with the preparations for winter, the dryer that died, car repairs, and holiday plans. We chatted about finite resources, and how she could get this item. We could come back and get it later, or she could put it on her Christmas list, or wait until she’d paid back her allowance – she decided to wait until it’s on Netflix or Amazon. She’s still a little disappointed , but she’s reached a decision she can live with.

  • Jeremiah, at 9, wanted a 3DS. We told him we would get him one for Christmas. He was determined to get it on his tenth birthday, in early September. We told him we would pay for half, and a game, but couldn’t manage more then. With a few months to earn the money, he arranged to do odd jobs for his grandparents. He got up early even when he’d gone to bed late. He worked hard and well, only taking breaks when authorized. And, on his tenth birthday, I took him to the store of his choice to purchase his new 3DS in the color of his choice – as well as that new game to play on it.

I love watching my kids learn about economics. I’m fascinated with how they weigh alternatives, budget their money, debate the relative value of this over that. I’m endlessly reminded of who they are in the approach that they take.

Jeremiah tends toward minimalism, and at the same time has big dreams and high standards. When we offered him offered a reconditioned laptop last year, he declined, because what he really wants is a gaming computer that costs thousands, and we have a hundreds kind of budget. He says he’ll wait until he can buy it himself. He’s eager to get his working papers in a little less than a year, so he can take a regular job, and he still works for his grandfather many weekends when the weather is nice enough for home and yard maintenance.

Annalise is expansive, with many passions. She tends to spend her money quickly, but not as quickly at 10 as she did at 8. She’s always had a discriminating side t- at 5, I would show her all the options for Littlest Pet Shop figures that fit the week’s budget, and she would go through a lengthy process of elimination until she made her selection. She often takes advances, and always knows how much she owes. She’s coming to the realization that she can save some, and still spend some, and to see ways she can get more out of her money. One month, she explored her bank statement, and became deeply interested in the idea of earning interest. She was so captivated that she asked for our family bank statement, and read the entire three pages!

As a child, I didn’t have an allowance, and discussions often ended at, “We can’t afford it,” “That’s a waste of money,” and the seemingly evergreen favorite, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” My parents handled the finances with their own rituals that didn’t include us, unless we happened to overhear. Money seemed mysterious and rather terrifyingly powerful to me as a child, and it took me well into my thirties to really start to sort out how I feel about it, and how to use it comfortably and intelligently.

It’s cool that my own children will get to adulthood with these and many other small and large experiences with economics already in their experience banks. They’ll have a lot less to figure out later, when the consequences of mistakes could be far costlier.

If you have kids, how do you approach family or personal finances with them? Did you have an allowance as a child? Was it tied in to chores, grades, or behavior? Did you have the power, or do your kids, to make some money decisions independently of adult authority? Did you, or have your kids, set financial goals for yourselves? How did that turn out?

Penny for your thoughts! =)

Shopping at the Erie Canal, fall 2014.