Wednesday, August 5, 2009

save it

Yesterday I read CDP's post in which she describes her son struggling with some of the same issues Jabber has struggled with regarding banks. Specifically, the idea of a savings account.

For a child who was thrust almost three years ago into a perpetual state of acute possession-awareness ("Don't let Monkey get my stuff, Mom!"), handing over the cash and coin, which he has been carefully threading through the slot in his porcelain piggy bank all his life, is not easy. I mean, this is literally his life savings. Why would he possibly want to give all of that away, to some lady he's never met before at a place we had to drive across town to get to?

"But what if I want my money back?" was his biggest question.

We've been doing mini-math lessons for most of the summer--Jabber's been learning to write his numbers, tell time, use a calendar, and count by fives and tens. We've been practicing by counting the money in his piggy bank. And although he has a lot of money, we decided to start with depositing forty dollars into this mystical and poorly-explained place called the bank.

Jabber agreed to open his first savings account.

So we get to the bank (the name and location of which shall be kept top secret, for security reasons but also because you know who you are, lady. More on that in a bit.). David and Monkey are with us this time (not like the last time we tried this and I forgot Jabber's social security number), so Jabber and I take a seat at the woman's wide desk and start answering her questions. Jabber answers like a champ: He tells her his full name and then writes it clearly on a form she had him fill out. He tells her my full name and his dad's full name. He points out his "sosha scurty" number and lists each of the digits for her. He repeats his phone number three times while she enters the information into her computer. He counts out his money carefully--three tens and two fives--and although he stumbles a little between $30 and $35, he gets it the second time through.

"And what's your address?" she asks.

Jabber spits out his phone number again.

"Oh, no, sweetie," she says, flashing a weird look at me. What was that look? "I mean, what street do you live on?"

"Oh," he says, and he tells her the street and also mentions the avenue that we are close to.

"But what is the house number?"

He shakes his head. He can't remember.

She gives me that look, again, and now I get it. It's disapproval. Judgment. "You're five, right?" she says to Jabber. "It's about time for you to learn your address. Before you go to school. That's very, very important." She gives me a final pointed look.

He nods, and the moment is gone. We finish up with the savings account, but now I'm irritated.

Save it, lady. Save the judgment. He knows his name, his parents' names, our phone number, and the two streets that intersect 25 feet from his front door.

This was such a tiny incident, but I found myself still annoyed by the attitude hours later while David and I were cleaning up from dinner. He said something, and I reacted, and then I said, "You know, maybe I'm too sensitive. Did you know I was seriously angry at that lady at the bank today when she made it sound like I was the worst parent on the face of the earth because Jabber didn't know his house number? Was I imagining that? Am I reading too much into people's innocent comments? Am I putting more pressure on myself as a parent that is just imaginary stuff?"

David laughed and shook his head. "No," he said. "She was just a bitch."


CDP said...

I think that your husband's analysis is correct! How rude. I'm not sure I trust that lady with Jabber's $40 (but don't tell him that). :)

cowpops said...

I learned my address when I was 5. My kindergarten teacher sat me down and made a song out of it. I hardly remember anything from kindergarten, but that song is clear as a bell!