Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Transaction

It was a long frigid winter two years ago.

I never saw it coming. We had standards and beliefs. Hadn’t we given her enough?

Outside it was a dreary damp afternoon. Ice cold rain had been drizzling for hours. Safe in our warm cozy home I heard a firm knock on the front door. I watched, curious, as my husband opened up for the unexpected visitor. Who would be out in this weather?

He looms tall and sinister in the doorway, rain dripping from his long black trench coat. The collar turned up to meet a wild halo of frizzy black hair and his face, thin and somber partially hidden behind dripping fogged glasses making his dark eyes impossible to read . A deep voice echoes in the hall. “Is Littlest here?” Hesitant, my husband draws back a few steps.

“Littlest”, he calls out uncertainly, “there’s….. someone… here.”

His voice trails off into silence that spills into the entryway and expands until broken by the rapid beat of our fourteen year old daughters’ footsteps above.

“Oh” I hear her say as she peers over the banister, “just a minute.”

I’m puzzled now. She didn’t mention anyone coming over. What is he doing here? What does he want? She deftly descends the stairs holding something in her hand and approaches the dark figure. Saying nothing he opens his trench coat and slowly reaches inside. I see my husband tense slightly  as the stranger pulls something from deep within an inner pocket. His hand emerges holding a square black box. There are wires springing from one end and wrapped around the outside. Our youngest child stops abruptly,  holding out a small paper bag at arms length. They cautiously and swiftly make the exchange without physical contact. He opens the bag and peers inside, nodding as though to confirm that it's all there and carefully tucks it into the recesses of the trench coat. “Thanks”, Littlest says quietly. The stranger dips his head in acknowledgement and turns away, disappearing into the mist.

My husband stands at the door confused.

“What was all that”,  he asks?

Littlest answered brightly. "That was H. He rides my bus. He doesn’t use his Game Cube anymore and said I could have it because he has an Xbox now, so I made him some cookies.

Oh yes. I did recognize the perfectly average boy I've seen get off the bus in the afternoon.

We are 'mean' parents. My daughters do not own a lot of fancy gadgets. They don't have an iPhone or Androids. Just plain cheap cell phones. The fact that they break or lose at least one a year confirms this decision.  Lit has an older model iPod that DecentGuy gave her but we will not purchase one. A perfectly reasonable MP3 player can be had for twenty five bucks. They each have a PC but they don't have laptops. Littlest did get a Nintendo ds as a birthday gift a couple years ago but the last full system we purchased was a PlayStation 2 and that will be it.  If they want something fancier they can save and buy it themselves someday. They had asked for a Game Cube for the sole purpose of playing ONE game on it. Even though they were already down in value we vetoed, saying it wasn't worth spending the money for one game and they had enough stuff anyway.

So yes it’s true.

Our poor deprived children resorted to Bartering With Baked Goods.

© 2012 All Rights Reserved by MOTPG


  1. I love your kids so much. Tell them they can come play our PS3 (which Angus bought with his Christmas and birthday money) any time. :)

  2. I love this story! You are my kind of parents!

  3. Way to go, Lit... that's using that head for something besides a hat rack!

    While I don't agree with everything Dr. Phil says, one thing I do agree with... "Overindulgence is the most insidious form of child abuse."

    Plus, I think it makes kids more demanding and less appreciative and forms them into adults that are likely to be the same way.

  4. Bartering with baked goods - oh boy you raised your kids well. Very impressed with Lit's initiative, she'll go somewhere in this world

  5. My grandson, Cyrus, was nearly in tears when at 15, he did not get a game box for Christmas. One year later, he had lost total interest in anything of the sort. These trendy things come and go. And kudos to your daughter for trading baked goods for something she wanted.

  6. Allison: They would probably ride their bikes that far to play with one!

    Lisa: Thanks: )We try!

    Ms.A : I agree. My kids have some issues but whining for things isn't a big one. Though Littlest often things are negotiable...endlessly.

    Fi: Yes she will. I know that. If she gets her way (and she usually does eventually)it will be with the Marines ; )

    Linda: What they 'Really' want changes so fast at this age. Littlest is always working a deal somewhere. She really should be a lawyer.

  7. Well, I can't blame her (iPhone in hand with Mac nearby). I can't live without my devices. :-)

  8. HA! I love this. And kudos for your daughter for her brilliant bargaining!

  9. Angelia: She has loved technology since she was small. At least she doesn't take things apart anymore anyway : )

    Darlene: She's a crafty one...and I don't mean crochet TP covers ; )

  10. that's AWESOME! and don't feel mean... my sister's kids (i would say about the same ages as yours) have never had ANY cell phones or mom/dad purchased music players or computers and THEIR last purchased game system?? a nintendo 64 with cartridges and all. and my sister hears about it ALL the time but they are good, hardworking kids. hey.. and bartering a boy with baked goods? smart cookie. (pun intended)

  11. That's the best way to go. Our oldest has been very irresponsible when it comes to gadgets. They either come up missing Ir broke. We don't know about until they are long gone. If its attached inside the house its fine....except for remotest and batteries. I wish we were the same way but my husband tends to be a gadget freak and thats why he brought them. My son only has a psp. We gave him a phone so he can use when he's walking home and he washed it in his pants pocket. Smh

  12. I stopped taking things apart?

  13. Elissa: She is a smart cookie indeed!!They actually have learned that things aren't 'necessary' and usually use good judgement when they have to pay for it.

    Nicole: We had a phone in the toilet last week! My husband likes tv's and sound systems. I don't care as long as I can see and hear it.

    Littlest: I forgot about the old computer in your bathroom closet. What don't I know about?

  14. Well then we're baked from the same batch. Ours don't get much either .. mostly because we can't afford it, but also because they only really appreciate it when they have to earn it.
    Traded for cookies -LOL kids are just kids, even the trench coat wearing kind.


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