This morning the kids woke up at 6:59 on the dot. Oliver wanted to set up his Thomas train track, but in order to do that they needed to clean the playroom. They did, without complaining. I should've known something was up then, but I hadn't had much coffee so my brain wasn't working properly.
I needed a shower, so I told them to work together to build a track while I was showering, and when I got out if they needed help I would help them. I urged Alison to listen to Oliver and allow him to have some control over the building, then got in the shower, expecting to hear arguing and find them at opposite ends of the room when I got out.
Instead, I stepped back into the playroom to see both of them sitting around a track they had built, not arguing, and playing a game with the trains. When they saw me they announced, rather proudly, how they had worked together to build the track. I expressed my approval in glowing terms. Then I noticed that Oliver had two dollar bills next to him. Because my children are so very innocent, and haven't learned the word 'bribery' yet, they immediately explained what was going on without any questions from me.
Apparently when Oliver didn't want to listen to Alison's ideas for the track she told him that if he listened to her (which also means 'do what I say' in Alison speak) she would give him two dollars. Oliver agreed, Alison built the track the way she wanted, and then gave her brother two dollars she had earned during a fundraiser at school this year. Oliver was happy with his two dollars, even though I'm sure he has no idea the value of money or what he could do with it. Case in point, after proudly showing me the crumpled bills he said he wished he had a hundred dollar bill, then asked me how much that would cost.
I feel like this is a great social experiment I didn't even have to set up. Look, I've never bribed anyone in front of the kids. At least I don't think I have. I have, of course, being a parent, bribed THEM countless time with promises of extra books before bed, movie watching, treats, Wii playing, a ride home instead of walking, and the privilege of continuing to live here for free, but never with cold, hard cash. Perhaps I should try a new tactic, it gets amazing results. The kids have gotten along ALL DAY. Right now I'm pretty sure I could leave and they wouldn't notice.
Money talks, even to those who don't have any appreciation or understanding of its value.