Search Chandra's Blog
Blog Tags
"Apparition" "Art of Spiritual Warfare" "Best in Show" "Body of a Girl" "Exposure" "Gone with the Wind" "Half a Life" "Husband and Wife" "My Foreign Cities" "Myth of You and Me" "Open Your Heart with Gardens" "Stiltsville" "Substitute Me" "Temptation by Water" "The Bird Sisters" "The Book Thief" "The Guardian Angel Diary" "The Heroine's Bookshelf" "The King's Speech" "The Language of Light" "The Love Goddess' Cooking School" "The Mobuis Striptease" "The Peach Keeper" "The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted" "The Wednesday Sitsters" "This House" "Unintended" 50th Book Club Prize Pack act 'as if' Adam Levine adoption adventure advice Alpha Male Ann Hood Anna Cole Atlanta attachment parenting authors autism babies babywearing bad reviews bats beach house believer Ben Bethany Hamilton Betty Smith Big Nate birderd birthdays biting Blizzards blog hopping blog tour blogging blogswap blurb body image book book clubs book tour Books and Books Boudreaux boys breastfeeding Bridget Asher brothers Buffalo News Caeli Widger cake California cancer caramel oat bars Caribbean Carol Shields Carolyn Haley cats Cayman Cayman Compass Ceausescu chameleon Charles Bukwosi Cherry Cheryl Chick Lit Plus Chickens childhood CHOP CHOSEN Christina Shideler Christmas Christmas cards chuffy Cinderella clothes coconut water color Colorado comedy community connected contests cooking co-sleeping cow milking craft criticism Crown Publishers cry it out Dakota Darin Strauss David Lipsky dawn Dawn Chorus Daybreak 27 Destined to Fail Diana Abu Jaber Diane Lockward DOG BLOG Dog Whisperer dogs domestic ritual Dr. Anna Leahy Dr. Karen Monroy Dr. Oz Due Uve editing editor education eggs Elizabeth Scarboro Emily Kennedy Erin Blakemore evening walk expeditionary learning Exposure Facebook fake it til your make it Falcor family family bed fan mail fans farm life favorite books feminism Fon Wang Forrest Free stuff friends friendship gardening geography gluten-free goats God Grand Family Grant Schnarr grey hoodie grief guest blog Gyllian Davis Hannah Shelton Harper HarperCollins Hayden HHarperCollins hockey Hoffman's Natural home homeschooling homework Hondiuras Honduras horses hospitals Huffington Post Huffington Post divorce editor ice hockey Ilie Ruby inspiration International Women's Day iPhone island living 'It Takes a Village' Ivan Jungé J Jane Austen jasmine tea Jeffrey Eugenides Jenna Blum Jessica Keenan Smith Jessie Jonah journals Judy Blume Julianna Baggott Kelly Simmons Kid History kids Kristin Kimball Labrador Laos Leah Stewart least favorite word letting go Lincoln Pierce Linda Davis Linden Lisa Belkin Lisa McKay literary agent live in the now living with less Lois Alter Mark Lori Odhner Lori Tharps loss Lost Boy love language love story Lucky jeans Maggie Nelson magic Maria Massie marriage Martha Beck Max Maya Ziv meat Meg Waite Clayton Melissa McNallan Melissa Senate memoir menagerie mentor Michelle McGee micro fiction mindfulness miracle Miranda July modern living mojitos momstinct money mothering MoxieMomma nachos NAIBA New Year Newfoundland Newfoundlands Nichole Bernier NRA Nutella NYTimes NYTimes Motherlode ocean Opening Heavens Doors optimistic orphanage paint Paleo Comfort Foods parenting patience Pay it forward persistence Perthes Disease Peter Pan phobia Piper pizza plot poetry ponies Portland Psychology Today publication publishing puppy puppy breath puppydom Pushcart Prize Q&A quilts Quinn readers reading Rebecca Gyllenhaal Rebecca Rasmussen Remy resolutions retreat review reviews revision ritual rockclimbing romance writer Romania running Sally Kim Samantha March Samoyed Sampson sangria school SCUBA secret confessions security senior project Sept 11 serendipity sewing sexting sexy SheKnows Book Club PIck of the Year SheWrites shopping short fiction SImon&Schuster simple life sister sister-cousin sisters slings smells snow snow day songs Sophie space exploration Spain Spanish spiders sshort fiction Starbucks stuttering style Summer reading sunset Susanna Daniels Swedenborg swimming teens Thanksgiving the climbing tree The Four Ms. Bradwells" The Grain Exchange The Name Game Thelma Zirkelbach Therese Fowler THUMOS TIME magazine tingarita Tourettes tradition travel Twitter two lives ugly dolls unschooling Utila wedding whale sharks white wine William Faulkner winter Wisconsin worry write your life writing writing and parenthood YA Fiction yoga Zulu

Chandra's Blog


Entries in money (2)


Still a believer

Max, (middle) downing today's 2 cups of green veggiesLast night, Max (8) crawled into my bed and asked me to hold his hand. In the dark he whispered, 

"Mom, are YOU Santa?"

He's too old and clever to lie to, so I turned the question back on him.

"What do you think?"

There was a long pause. 

"Nah," he said, somewhat shakily. "I mean, there's no way you and Dad could afford to buy all those presents, and the ones under the tree too."

I was a little taken aback by this, because while J and I try to instill the value of a dollar in the boys (and those who know about Max and money are aware this is not lost on the middle son) we don't want them to think we can't stuff a few stockings. 

In the dark, I weighed my options. Hayden learned the truth about Santa from a classmate four years ago and has worked hard to preserve the notion for his little brother and sister. As he told me this year, "You know how I felt when I found out? My stomach went like this," and he made a fist and squeezed it until it trembled. We've talked often about how short the years are when you get to be on the believing side of the magic, instead of the making side. While I welcome Hay's help keeping our Elf on the Shelf on the move and even let him sneak out on Christmas eve to help with a few tasks, he has told me sometimes he wishes he didn't know. 

So I said to Max, "Honey, there are all kinds of miracles and magic that happen around Christmastime."

"That's what I thought," he said drowsily, and rolled over and fell asleep.  

* *** *






Monday Musing... Max and Money; a dilemma

Meet Macrae Maximilian, or Max. 

Max is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. Sandwiched between a big brother with ego to spare and a little sister who is a card-carrying capital-D DIVA, he is not your typical middle child. He is enthusiastic and exuberant, affectionate and energetic. My mother sometimes calls him "Mercurial Max."

At age 6, he loves many things, especially meat, his Mama and money, probably in that order. 

Max has been known to make off with the bacon plate many mornings and he has always told me, "I'm your little carnivore!"

Check out those sweet little fangs of his (right). Even as a baby, they were made for meat. 

Whenever my Dad comes to dinner, Max checks to be sure that the brown cardboard Omaha Steak box has come with him.


While every night here is a musical beds routine with few people ever waking up where they started, Max is the last to leave the family bed. He still insists on starting out with me, preferably spooned, with a leg and arm draped over me. When he invites friends to sleep over, he inevitably leaves them in his bed to sneak into mine, and the poor guests wake up alone.

But this is how I know he loves money more than his mama: a few weeks ago, craving some alone time, J sent Max down to his own bed. He wept and wailed, insisted that he couldn't sleep without me. In a flash of brilliance, J flipped open his wallet and laid a crisp dollar bill over the top of Max's bedroom door. Before shutting it, J told him, "If this dollar is still here in the morning, it's yours." Winner winner, chicken dinner.

I wish I could spin it and say my little homeschooler loves math and numbers, but it's really cash. Last year, on a quiet morning by the fire, I told him he could have whatever pennies he found around the house if he could count them. He got out an egg carton and counted, very carefully, to 271. So we went on from there and he learned his five and ten times tables that morning on nickels and dimes, and fractions, how 25 goes into a dollar four times. 

He squirrels his money away in a red metal locker and keeps a running tally of his savings account at the bank, lording the total over his big brother, who mentally spends his birthday money months before it even comes in. Most days Max greets J at the door with a fierce hug and a shrewd, "So Dad, how much money did you make today? In the hundreds?" It drives Max crazy that we won't tell him exactly how much "Chosen" sold for, or how much is in our bank accounts.

Which brings me to my dilemma: last night my Dad came over to watch the Super Bowl. He brought 5 ribeyes, and a filet for Max, and he brought a betting grid he had made, and ten $1 dollar bills. The idea was to teach the boys a bit about betting pools and make a game that none of us particularly cared about a little more fun and interesting. We all filled out squares, for a potential total of $10. (Just in case I haven't driven the point home about Max and money, before the kickoff, Max had a deck of cards out, and was trying to get my Dad to bet with him in blackjack.)


The first quarter, Max squirmed on the couch between us, constantly checking the chart, agonizing over the fact that he had taken all the outside squares, which meant someone's score had to end in a 9--not the most common football number.

Piper took the first quarter, for a dollar, and skipped off to put it in her Tinkerbell bank.

At halftime, as J was finishing up the steaks on the grill and I was serving up veggies, I was the big winner at $2. Tears shone in Max's eyes, mirroring the sequins on Fergie's outfit.

Sometime during the third period, his belly full of filet, Max broke down sobbing. "I'm never going to win!"

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," my Dad worried.

"It's fine. I'll count it towards a lesson in gambling, put it down for some homeschooling hours," I assured him.

Hayden, who played in several hard hockey games this weekend, was snoring away when my Dad tucked the third period's winning dollar into his hand. 

By the 4th quarter, a despondent Max was fighting sleep, occasionally mumbling, "Any nines? What's the score?" When the Packers took the title and their coach had his Gatorade bath, Piper, the big $6 winner, was tucked in the crook of my arm, asleep, and Max was thankfully sacked out between his dad and grandpa. 

J and I debated before going to sleep. Should we just divide the winnings? Or should we let it be a life lesson? Or maybe we should we even everyone's winnings from our own wallets? We could shred the grid, warn friends and family not to reveal the final score...

"Maybe he won't remember," I told J, "or he won't care." We both fell asleep laughing over that one. 

At 4 am, when Max made his nightly trek to our bed and wriggled in between us, he asked sleepily, "What was the score? Who won the jackpot?" 

It's almost sunrise Monday morning. The grid and remaining six singles sit on the kitchen island where my Dad left them. In an hour, they'll all be up. What would you do?