The Gumball Fairy

My daughter is obsessed with gumballs right now. She’s four. Gumballs are pretty great. I get it.

Quarters are a hot commodity. For a while I was doing pretty good at keeping my change purse stocked, in the event we came across a gumball machine at the Y or the laundromat, or any other random corner in Brooklyn where a shop owner may think said attraction makes sense. But, with summer upon us, and my and my kids’ routines changing, the gumball money ran dry. I mean, I got laundry to do, and am not big on carrying cash so this was not a stretch.

The Set Up

She’s four (Ava) and just learning about the value of money. Her brother (Ben) lost two teeth already this summer (I know it’s only been a week) and she was amazed that he was able to turn those teeth into dollars.

We also spent a good amount of time on the living room rug this week, counting all the money in various banks (a pig for him, an elephant for her) to see how much we had saved, and started plotting what to do with it.

You never know what resonates for your kids until it turns up later.

What You Don’t Know

Today, as she recounted her quarters and made them into neat little piles, Ava asked me, “Did you know that quarters turn into gumballs?” I did not know. “And sometimes jelly beans?”.

This was at the end of a long day. We had done hair in the morning, then the kids went to the sitter while I took a client meeting downtown, followed by a run to TJ’s, and then back home for snacks and dinnertime.

“I want to go outside and get a gumball.” Oh no. Yeah, mom’s not going back outside today. Gumballs will have to wait. And then, the tantrum.

Tears, and stomping feet, and wailing, and head thrown back, and heaving breaths. Typical stuff. And through it all, she told me: “I’m just so frustrated!”

Yeah, I get it.

“I’m so angry right now”.

Yeah, I know. “What can I do to help? Do you want a glass of water? Remember to breathe. How about a hug?”

She took the hug.

And then after we had spent all of our feelings, my four year old put four dollars worth of quarters under her pillow. Parenting is hard.