Monday, February 2, 2009

Who Knew?

Did you know that a token system can help you determine your child's money management personality? Well it is true.

Working at home and being a full time mom has its challenges. The biggest being that you are working full-time, but your kids are also trashing your house full-time. When my 3 year old said "hey lady, I want some food!" as she was lounging on a pillow, I knew it was time for something to be done.

So we unplugged the tv. I know, mean mom. We painted some jars that we bought for $1.00 at Walmart and filled the big one with foam "tokens". They are really foam ball stickers, but whatever, they are worth their weight in gold right now. Each token is worth 15 minutes of tv. To earn tokens the kids must help me around the house. You wouldn't believe the things kids will do for a foam token. Oh yes, my 7 y.o. even offered to clean the toilets!

But the most interesting part of this little experiment was getting a sneak peek into my children's money management skills. My oldest, and the most soft hearted (7 y.o.) hords her tokens. She works hard, constantly asks what else she can do to help, but is scared to death to give up one of those tokens. As if by giving up one, the entire jar will disappear.

Our middle child (5 y.o.) has clearly been living in Vegas too long. The minute he earns a token, he is turning it in for 15 minutes of tv. I've tried to explain to him that he could watch an entire cartoon episode if he saved his token and earned another. No dice. He wants his tv and he wants it now. I think he is actually going through withdrawl. We set a timer for the amount of tv they are allowed to watch. He bursts into tears everytime that thing goes off. I'm sure I will have to pay for his therapy later in life. "My mom was so mean, she wouldn't even let me watch tv.........."

And the youngest (sigh). We like to call her Eloise. Those books could have been written about her (by the way did you know they were written about Liza Minelli? Who knew?!). Our 3 y.o. seems to be the brains behind this operation. She has swindled more tokens out of her brother and sister then she has actually earned. She can give them those big brown eyes and before you know it, they are opening their little jars and handing her their sacred tokens. Then she grins and yells, MOOOMMMMMM, I WANT TO WATCH TV NOW! I don't think this is working the way it is suppose to with her.

The moral of the story is, I'm teaching my kids a lesson about working hard to earn what you want. My house is a little cleaner which means I can get a little more work done. But I have to admit that I miss turning on a movie so I can jump on the computer for a little while (isn't that what the parenting books say to do?) LOL. So who is really getting the lesson here? I'm not sure but I think I just punished myself.

We won a battle!

And I say battle and not the war because there is still a LONG way to go before this is over. On January 30, 2009 the CPSC announced a Stay of Enforcement of Testing and Certification Requirements. This made many designers start dancing around their computers. And it is definitely a step in the right direction. So do your little dance my friend, I'm dancing right along side you.

Now, take a breath and let's get back to work! This stay essentially says that we do not have to test and provide testing certification until February 2010. HOWEVER, as stated by the CPSC: Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.

Ummmm, I'm thinking I would have to get them tested. Hmmmm, that doesn't sound quite right does it? So we have a catch 22. You don't have to test, but if you sell a garment with lead in the buttons, snaps or zippers, etc. that don't meet requirements then you better get out your check book for the fines.

I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer, I swear (though I have been called such names and worse). LOL. I truly from the bottom of my heart am trying to just lay it all out there so that NO ONE is in a situation where you are paying big fines or worse yet being sued by a family who claims their child was never the same after using your product. It is the sad reality of the world we live in.

But let's celebrate our battle victory. I think we can win this war. We just need to keep fighting!!! So keep writing your representatives and letting them know you support the Stay of Enforcement! Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has also announce that he is sponsoring legislation to amend the CPSIA. So while you are in the mood, drop him a note as well and let him know that you are behind him 100%.

And just in case Tim Gunn from Project Runway is reading (Hi Tim, I LOVE YOU!) hee hee. Wouldn't this make a great Project Runway challenge?! All the designers must make garments for children that pass all CPSIA requirements. Oh, and you might want to get them tested just to be sure or be faced with a fine and an Auf Wiedersehen from Heidi. The only catch is you have a $30 budget. Make It Work!!!