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Some of you may remember how DD, when she was four, worked hard to earn the funds necessary to buy herself a Cinderella dress. It's been six years since then. Her goals are bigger, but so are her abilities. Here's a story about her latest accomplishment.

This afternoon, DD and I went to the Apple Store. She was so excited that she was literally jumping up and down, which made it hard to talk to her seriously about very much at all. Today, you see, she achieved a mighty goal of hers. She had the funds to purchase her very first “iSomething,” as she calls it.

The story starts back in September when I was running numbers for our remodeling project. DD asked what I was doing. When I tried to explain that it was budgeting for our remodel, and that it looked like there wasn’t going to be enough money for everything we wanted to do, she asked where we would get more money.

"Well," I said, trying to be thoughtful and grownup about it, "we can earn more money, we can use more savings, or we can borrow--"

"Let's earn it!" she interrupted. Always one to get to the point. "How do we earn it? Can you work more at your job?"

I can't, really. I'm a Federal employee and overtime isn't really an option. So I would have to get another job, and maybe spend time away from her. She didn't like that idea. "What else can we do?"

"Well, we could make things and sell them, I suppose."

"Could you make candy and sell it?" No, you would eat all of it.

"How about donuts? Can you make donuts???" Err, definitely not.

"Toys?" No, you would use all of them.

"How about light bulbs?" Err. I don't know how to make those. About the only thing we know how to make is pot holders, really.

And thus was born the Potholders For Remodeling project. It morphed into the “iSomething” project after I explained that putting a lot more money into the remodeling project might mean that we would have to cut back on cool stuff for her. I encouraged the shift, as I wanted her to be able to have a tangible accomplishment sometime this decade.

She worked at it really hard, especially after her grandma helped make the first sales a reality. Grandma’s friends then came back and asked for more to use as Christmas gifts, as they were very happy with them. DD also asked adult friends to buy them, and many of them indulged her with a small purchase, and then came back for follow-up purchases. At $5 each, they were an easy stocking stuffer or small gift. And also vastly underpriced in terms of the labor that goes into them!

After a lot of work and receiving a few Christmas presents, this past weekend it was time to count the money and see where we were.

She had deposited $157 in the bank in early December, and I put another $50 in the bank for her from a Christmas gift later. Since then, she got a $50 American Express gift card, and brought in another $95 in cash from potholders, gifts, and allowance (mostly potholders). Why is this important? Well, the end result is $352.

$352 is a decent amount of money. But DD has had her sites set on an iPad. Somewhere along the way she saw a cool case for an iPad at Justice (her favorite store), and in her mind's eye, that's where she has been seeing herself ever since. An iPad is an expensive thing for a kid. And the one she wanted to get was still almost $100 away. Over the weekend, we went through all that, with the tears and frustration that went with it. She desperately wanted that iPad. An iPad Mini would not do. An iPod Touch would not do. It was the iPad she wanted.

So we talked about how it would take 15 more potholders to get there, and how that's really not that many. She worked for quite a while on the potholders currently in the queue.

Yesterday afternoon, after more thinking, she said to me, "Mama, you said I have enough money right now for the iPod Touch, right?"

Yup, you do.

"Can I go to the Apple Store Web site and look at those?"

Sure. Want to look now?

Of course she did. And once she'd looked, she said, "I want to get an iPod Touch. I like the blue one, and I know what case I would get for it at Justice."

So I said, "Sounds like a good thing to me. And now it's time to go to gymnastics."

This morning, she came back to it, and again said she was sure she wanted the iPod Touch. "Can we order it now?"

No, you have to leave for the bus in ten minutes. How about this afternoon?

"REALLY??? REALLLY???????"

Sure. Really.

There was much excitement -- she was thrilled to be getting to her goal.

This afternoon when I picked her up from school, she asked if we could just go to the Apple Store to buy it, rather than ordering it online. Being the complete pushover that I am, I said, "Sure." That led to a whole lot of jumping up and down, and a firm tug on my hand to move toward the car much faster than I normally walk.

The Apple Store was as busy as always, but the clerks were more than happy to work with DD, find out what she wanted, and get her set up. She was thrilled, and even overcame her normal shyness to talk to the man who walked her through the setup.

I told her she could play with it in the car on the way home, but that since use rules were not finalized among the grownups yet, it would go in a cupboard when we got home and come back out when the rules are clear.

On the way into the house, she clutched the case and iPod Touch so tightly that her fingers turned white, and nearly forgot to bring in her homework. She didn't really want to give up her new purchase so quickly, but I'd been talking to her for a couple of days about the importance of the rules, so she didn't put up too much of a fight.

And afterward, she hopped to her homework faster than I have seen her go. She finished her writing worksheet before I could warm up her snack (90 seconds), did her spelling in similar time, and although she was momentarily frustrated with her math (3/8 of 32 would frustrate any 4th grader who's never seen it before), once she got the concept, she quickly finished that as well.

All the way over to her other house, she talked to me about the rules, what she thought they should be, whether we could just finalize them as soon as we got there, and various other things. And mostly, how totally cool her new iPod was going to look in its case.

It's really a pleasure to see her so happy -- and to see her able to focus for months to accomplish a goal. And now, perhaps we’ll let the potholder business rest for a bit. It’ll resurface in a few months, I suspect, when she next wants to make a major purchase.

ThyPeace, really proud of DD's accomplishment.

P.S. Send me an email if you'd like pictures of the potholders. I put them and some interim updates on a blog for my family to look at.
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