Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I spent the day, off and on, tearing my house apart looking for a glass jar of exactly the right size and shape. I wanted something small, sort of an elongated votive candle holder, only a bit bigger & maybe square. Like a rocks glass only a bit smaller & taller.

I almost went to Wal Mart looking for one but as DH pointed out “A lifetime of collecting candle burning impedimenta and you don’t have a small glass jar?”

Which, yeah.

Where are all my small decorative jars? I can remember seeing them on shelves and tables. Of course after awhile you get to that point where you can picture whatever it is you are looking for sitting on whatever it is you are looking at even if you are 100% certain you never put any votive candle holders in the freezer. Yet in my mind I can see one, sitting there on the door shelf, next to the waffles.  I can remember moving them out of the way of small hands. I can recall thinking numerous times, I should move that before it gets bumped and breaks. I don’t remember any of them actually breaking so I must have put them some place. Some place ‘safe, where I will remember them’ no doubt.  I have plenty of round potpourri bowls but they are all too big and a large number of small square glass dishes (for setting candles on) that are too shallow but nothing appropriate. It has to be the right size.  Appearance matters.

The glass jar is for Havoc’s allowance, in nickels. We’re trying something new as a disciplinary technique. Figuring out what works with Havoc has always been a bit tricky because nothing seems to last. He stops caring about the punishment or the reward soon after in most cases. We’ve had some success with sticker charts though so this is a spin on that.

One of Havoc’s birthday presents is that he now gets an allowance - $2 a week. It’s a reward for good behavior, no specific chores are involved, he just has to listen and do the right thing. Probably he would prefer having to wash dishes or something else tangible and over & done with in a short time span. But I admit I am the kind of parent who, while buying her son his long awaited DS for his birthday, thought to herself “Maybe taking this away as a privilege will be a motivator”.

Yes, I was buying him a gift I would take away later.

Back to the glass jar.

It has to be the right size to make 40 nickels look impressive, yet also make it obviously noticeable when some are taken away. He loses a nickel when he goofs off at more serious times, such as homework, tae know do practice, dinner, etc. He wants to be the class clown & there are plenty of times to be the funny guy during the day, but there are also times when you need to be serious & pay attention. We’re hoping watching his allowance dwindle over the course of a week will be motivating.  He can also earn nickels with good behavior (such as not having to be reminded to do his homework or remain seated through dinner) & thus gain back the lost ones and even earn more than $2 a week.

They do this in school with tickets and a weekly treasure box they can buy things from. Havoc is always bragging on how many tickets he has and showing off what he bought with them on Friday so it’s obviously working.

Anyway, back to the glass jar again.

It has to be the right size. 40 nickels just isn’t that impressive a pile of coins.  Pennies are not worth enough to be useable. So the jar has to compensate. I admit I did briefly consider raising the kid’s allowance just so the pile of coins would look more impressive when I took some away (see DS shopping reference). Then I began wondering if glass was the way to go. Maybe plastic would be better. But a cheap run of the mill small storage container seems…inadequate, insignificant, Insert adjectives here… I think it should be a special container. The sticker charts were all decorated and on colored paper. When we did buttons as a reward (which failed due to consistency on my part & subsequent loss of interest on the boys’ part) they each got to decorate their own plastic tub. So I feel like it should be a special bowl. The RIGHT bowl.

Why do I care so much about the bowl? I can control the bowl. I’m in charge of the bowl.

Havoc though? Different story.


Stacie's Madness said...


Too Many Hats said...

I hope you find it soon. I was told in no uncertain terms when middle son was probably 5 that he could not be bribed - this when I tried to set-up a sticker chart system for some such thing for all the kids. Kinda took the wind out of my sails when the other two chimed in they couldn't be bribed either.

2 Toddlers and Me said...

Interesting post. My two are too young for allowances yet, so I don't have any advice to offer. If you don't find anything the right size, maybe try a dollar store. Just an idea.

I like your blog. Found you through Mom Bloggers Follow Group. I am following and looking forward to read more.

Aunt Becky said...

That's a brilliant idea.

*files it away for future reference*

Veronica Lee said...

Great idea!

Jenni Jiggety said...

I would want to control the bowl, too! Happy jar hunting! I hope the right one turns up!

Six Feet Under Blog said...

Hope you find one! Great idea!

Creative Junkie said...

You remind me so much of me, because I too would be concentrating on the appearance and size of the container - perception is so important, especially in the eyes of a child.

Sophia's Mom said...

Great way to motivate/reward good behavior! Hope you were able to find the perfect jar!

That One Mom said...

That is a FANTASTIC idea!!! I totally want to hear how it works! I may want to try this with The Girl!

That One Mom said...

That is a FANTASTIC idea!!! I totally want to hear how it works! I may want to try this with The Girl!