How to Master Indentured Servitude
Subtitle: It’s not slavery because I pay them. It’s called Advanced Allowance. Best.System.Ever.
Step 1: A lesson in history. Let’s take a trip back in time, shall we? Back to 1607. Jamestown VA. Now, while a great number of the original settlers in the good ole US of A were scumbuckets that England was trying to get rid of (cough John Smith cough...what don’t make that face at me, look it up!) there were a few strapping young lads that wanted to get over here like nobodies business. So, these lads sold 4-7 years of their life to pay for their passage and escape mommy and daddy. They were not slaves. See?? http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/indentured-servants-in-the-us/ So, my kids are not my slaves and as a teacher I used this little scheme to throw in some school. Of course, right?
Step 2: The bait. Now, normally I would never advocate sitting your child in front of the idiot box for hours and hours on end, I mean I am addicted to a few shows but only a few (Like Saving Hope with Mr. Hot Michael Make Me Melt When You Speak Shanks) but you need the TV here for this to work. And not the shows, I mean you can just skip them. What you need my friend are the commercials, because the commercials that are on kids shows are for three things and three things alone:
- stupid toys
- sugar cereal
- Chuck E Cheese
Now as we have discussed, Chuck E Cheese is not all bad, and if you forgot why please see my post on Birthday Parties. What we need is for your little booger to fixate on choice A.
Step 3: Research. Now if you are going to do this you want it to cost you as little as possible. At this point your child has fixated on an item (oh, need to add in here, don’t let them buy those damn dumb pillow pets, I still cannot figure out for the life of me how those became popular - silly bands I get, I wear those, but pillow pets, no) and you need to see where you can get it cheapest. And believe it or not, it may not be Walmart. It may be Amazon.com. Or Craigslist. Or a good friend who can hook you up because they have tired this before and are passing on the love. Get it cheap, but know where it is most expensive. You’ll see why...
Step 4: Buy the item and make a fake tag. Now it helps that my husband works in retail, but really, if your kids are young enough you don’t even need to worry with the tags. Just make up a price and call them into the kitchen. However, you will need to choose your words carefully. Here’s a script to help:
You: INSERT CHILD’S NAME HERE IN A BABY SWEET VOICE you remember that WHATEVER you wanted?
Child: Yeah, but you said it cost INSANE PRICE YOU MIGHT JUST HAVE TO MAKE UP.
You: Yes, it does, but I thought about it and well (DRAMATIC PAUSE & THEN PULL OUT TOY & WAIT FOR SCREAMS TO DIE DOWN) I wanted to get it for you but.... (A SECOND DRAMATIC PAUSE)
Child: But what?
You: Well you can have it now, because I don’t want you to wait any longer, but you’re going to have to pay me back.
Child: Sure, anything? What do you need me to do?
Step 5: You should have had the list ready. Ok, so my editing team of few close friends and Hot Roommate need to do a better job on this but you need to have a list ready when this question arises. Depending on your kids age these things can vary from cleaning their room, to weeding, to washing dishes to detailing the car with a toothbrush. As soon as that question crosses their sweet little lips BAM have your answer ready.
Step 6: The countdown. There is always a chance that you have in your household a smarty pants. The kid that knows that sacred Lego Batman Video game was $37.88 at Sam’s Club and wants to know exactly how much emptying the dishwasher will decrease this total. This is also something you might want to think about in advance since if you make emptying the dryer $1 then something gross like rinsing the dishes is gonna cause them to demand more. And if you have learned nothing else from me, it is that kids are smart, really freakin’ smart and make us look stupid. Don’t let your kid outsmart you. That's just embarrassing.
Step 7: The pay off. Alright, so you got the little booger to work it off and now according to your (hopefully) careful calculations, they have completed their service. In order to cap this all off, you need to bring the newly debt-free child and all of your other children for the closing ceremonies. Dramatically tear up the debt, which is best hung on the fridge if I forgot to mention, and announcing to the other children about how hard work earns you rewards, blah blah, you get the idea. Hopefully, they’ll catch on. But probably not, they are smart, remember?
Step 8: (Oh crap, we’re finished and at step 7.... what else could I possibly talk about...gotta think here... I could talk about how I am DAYS away from meeting Mr. Canadian Hot Pants and am really scared that I am going to faint in his arms and that he will think I am silly, which I am, but in an adorably cute kinda way right, I mean I need to plan my outfit because my Mord Sith costume won’t be ready by then, so maybe that is why I am so nervous but... Wait? You don’t care do you? Well, I managed to kill a step, so there, and you kept reading. Joke’s on you!)
Step 9: Rinse, repeat. Return to step 1.
Step 10: And since somehow this turned into a mini history lesson, I would like to close today with a quote from one of our founding fathers.
Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance. - Benjamin Franklin
This is why this man in on the hundred. Ole’ Georgie called wine plain. That is why he is on the one. Trust me. I have a Master’s Degree ;)