Holidays are a BIG deal to my Bella. Come October every year, she has made a list. In past years the list was typed in Word in 14 pt font and was over 30 pages long. Ahead of each item would be a ____ for Santa to check it off as he made/purchased each item. The list was VERY specific. For instance, she would never ask for “A Webkin”. Bella asks for the Golden Retriever Webkin, White Cat Webkin, German Shepherd Webkin, etc. If she likes a commercial, she goes online and finds their website and proceeds to add each item to her list. Harry Potter Lego sets? We got ’em! Every single one. Wizard of Oz Barbie dolls and Emerald City? Sure thing! Littlest Pet Shop? Why, of course! The good thing is that she does play with her stuff…well, until she gets new “stuff” then the old stuff is left in the closet.
About a year ago, I implemented a reward system for Bella in order to get her to keep her room clean. I would put a star on the fridge and then she could convert the stars into rewards. A certain number of stars equaled a trip to the library or a bike ride to the park. One day, not sure how or when, the stars got a dollar value. Bella decided each star was worth one dollar. I am not sure that cleaning her room was worth a buck, but I was willing to try. I figured, she would earn $7 a week. Blake makes double that mowing the neighbor’s grass so I figure she needs to learn the value of a dollar. She would pick an item she really wanted and save up stars until she got to her goal and then “cash in”. Since she wasn’t so good at keeping her room clean, it was only costing me about $5 a week. Then the day came that she found her newly desired “collection”.
So, you ask, what is it that she wants now? Well, I will tell you! She has been collecting Lalaloopsy dolls. There are the large dolls which retail for $19.99 (or $150 for the one she really really really wants that is on Ebay. Its Peanut Big Top and she wants the full size doll. If you see it, buy it and I will pay you no more than $149.99 but it might take her a while to earn all those stars!). She has 3 of the larger dolls and seems happy with them…although, I am sure they are all desperate to spend time with Peanut Big Top. Some time ago we discovered mini Lalaloopsy dolls. They are about 4 inches tall and come with a little cardboard house (part of their packaging). They retail for $6.99, but I try to buy them in bulk when they are on sale for $4.99. I was “charging” her 6 stars for a doll. Things moved slow at first. She became dissatisfied with the amount of stars she was earning. After a visit to the orthodontist, we negotiated that if she could brush her teeth before bed, keep her rubber bands in all night and be a pleasant little lady in the morning then she could earn another star. So, $2 a day didn’t seem so bad. The stars really motivated her. Roy and I would offer stars to get her to do other chores around the house and usually, she was more than happy to oblige and collect her star. All was well. I was trying to buy several of the dolls at a time and then hide them until she got her 6 stars.
Then the $hit hit the fan! Blake tore his ACL. He needed surgery and then would need to be on crutches for 6 weeks. I needed Bella to help him get into school every day by carrying his backpack. I offered a star to help that very first day. I had no idea that I had opened the Pandora’s Box. She was the first one in the door after school to reward herself with a star. What was supposed to be a one day deal has now turned into 6 weeks of extra stars. If you are keeping track, we are now at 3 stars or $3 a day. That means a doll every other day if she played her cards right. She also managed to negotiate a few extras here and there. She has rewarded herself for sitting through her brother’s physical therapy, going to the orthodontist, visiting grandma, shopping for groceries…pretty much anything she does has earned a star. She has over 30 of these little dolls and it is getting harder and harder to find ones that she does not have yet.
Here we sit, Holy Saturday and Bella has been in her pajamas since 11am (she woke up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, at 5am!). Since her successful “mission impossible” last week, she knows there are Easter basket treats in the house…including new Lalaloopsy dolls. She has wanted to go to bed since 3pm. She has asked her at least 30 times when the Easter Bunny will be here and has searched the house, top to bottom, at least 5 times today. We only have a few short hours until the basket is found and all is right with the world again…at least for a while…her birthday is May 1st and I better start stocking up on Legos.