Olivia is always one to sweat the hypothetical. She asks for something like a cell phone and cries when I tell her I was twenty-five when I got my first phone. “Do you know who old I was?” My dad piped in. She ignored him as the tears started to brew over her eyes. “Can I have an iPad?” She asked.
Me: Do you have any money?
Olivia: Can’t you just put it on your credit card?
Me: No. I don’t need an iPad. You can buy one with your money
Olivia: How much does one cost?
Me: like five hundred dollars.
Olivia: Where am I going to get five-hundred dollars?
Me: Get a job
Olivia: I can’t get a job. Can’t you just make five hundred dollars from paper?
Me: If I could do that don’t you think we would have a house with more than one bathroom?
Olivia: I mean one of those bills. Like you make for my lunch money. Can’t you make a bill for five hundred dollars?
Me: You mean a check?
Olivia: yes. Can you write a check for five hundred dollars so I can get an ipad?
Me: No. I would have to have five hundred extra dollars in my checking account. You don’t just write checks.
Olivia: How am I supposed to get an ipad?
Layla: you could have a lemonade stand.
Me: there you go. You would need to have a couple lemonade stands
Layla: like five?
Me: if you make twenty dollars per lemonade stand, then you would need two hundred and fifty lemonade stands to get an iPad
Olivia: But I want an iPad now.
Me: Why do you need an iPad?
Olivia: For the apps. I like apps
Me: What is wrong with just using a computer?
Olivia: It doesn’t use apps. It is useless.
Me: I see.
Layla: how about a pet sitting business? You could walk and feed dogs.
Olivia. Yeah!! I could do that. Can I start walking dogs for money?
Me: If you want. That is a lot of dogs to walk.
Olivia: I need posters. Can I make posters and put them in the yard so people know I walk dogs?
Layla: you need to get it laminated. So they don’t get wet. Just like at school. The janitor laminates things for us.
Layla: Yep. Olivia needs to have the janitor laminate her posters.
Olivia: Can’t I just laminate them at home?
Me: You need a laminator.
Olivia: Can you buy me one?
Me: No. that is silly.
Olivia: Can I buy one? I have ten dollars.
Me: they cost more than ten dollars.
Olivia: How am I going to get my signs laminated?
Me: take them to Kinkos or something.
Olivia: Can I send it to uncle Jeremy? He makes signs
Olivia: I can’t wait to get home and make a sign.
I remember starting a “business” as a kid. I read tons of The Babysitters’ Club or always imagined having the perfect Lemonade stand. There was so much I wanted to buy and I couldn’t understand why my parents just wouldn’t give me what I wanted. Huffy bike..Barbie dream house (with elevator), Hypercolor T-shirt, Umbros Shorts, a Walkman and New Kids on the Block Tapes, a Nintendo complete with Duck Hunt…there was so much temptation for a kid. And this was before the world of cell phones and laptop computers and iPads. It is funny to watch the kids gradually grasp the concept of why they don’t have everything and how much stuff actually costs. I am sure Olivia won’t walk a single dog…but at least I don’t have to be the mean Mom who won’t buy their kid an iPad (today).
Parenting tip: If you want to keep your children busy for hours…tell them they can’t have an iPad so they spend hours making signs for their new “business.”
Writing prompt: Do you remember starting a business as a child. Was it a lemonade stand or your version of the Babysitters’ Club? What did you want to buy with the money? Were you successful or did you loose interest before you even started?