The other day, Crappy Boy approached me and said:
Okay, so he wants a job. I have to be careful here. I want him to learn a lesson!
This is prime lesson learning material right here.
He already helps set the table for dinner. For free. He already helps to pick up his toys. For free. So there is no way I can start paying him to do stuff around the house. He’ll never work for free again!
Plus, I hated my chores and allowance growing up. I got paid to mow the lawn. I hated mowing the lawn. I hated mowing the lawn so much that even as an adult I refuse to own a lawn mower. Our lawn looks horrible, but it is MY lawn and I’m not gonna mow it! You can’t make me! (Yes, I’m still pathetically clutching onto fragments of my rebellious youth. Also we’re planning to dig up our front lawn and put a native garden in anyway. So there.)
I can’t mess this up. I want him to learn that a job can be something you love. That is an important lesson, one I wish I learned early on.
So I’ll help him find something he enjoys doing!
You know, follow your bliss and all that stuff. This was the angle I was shooting for.
He replies impatiently:
He does not like my brainstorming session. He knows nobody is going to pay him to play.
So I have another angle:
I suggest sales.
At first I envision a single afternoon lemonade stand. All kids try this, I know I did. You make signs, you set up a table, you make a drink, you figure out pricing and then you launch with hope in your heart. But your get-rich quick dreams are crushed with every passing car. And in the end, you make a very small sum for a lot of work. Kinda like most jobs.
But that sucks. Do I want that to be the lesson he learns? No, no I don’t.
Luckily, he has his own idea:
He decides he wants to be an artist. Now we’re talking.
So we start to discuss specifics.
At first, he says he wants to sell metal sculptures. Of cars. But when I asked him how exactly he planned to make these metal sculptures he wasn’t quite sure. So I urged him to draw upon his current talents. In the end, he decided to sell sets of cards. Cards that are blank on the inside “So people can actually use them and send them to their friends, Mama!” but with his watercolor paintings on the outside.
He (and Crappy Baby joined in too) got to work:
He was very serious about this. He experimented with different techniques, like splattering the paint on wet paper versus dry or smacking the page with his brush. He narrated everything he did. He had a blast.
The pages had to dry overnight and honestly, I assumed that by the next day he would have forgotten all about the next step. I didn’t even mention the cards, but it was the first thing he wanted to do that morning.
He used (with my help) a paper cutter to measure and cut the sheets into cards. He wrote the prices on little tags that he made using a large circle punch. He picked out envelopes to match the colors in the cards. He tied them in bundles. He even found a small bag (his trick-or-treat bag turned inside out) to carry them in.
He was all set!
Good timing too, the next day we went to a big birthday party where he had access to people. People who carry cash.
I steered him towards family members both because I knew they’d think it was funny and because I knew they’d buy them. Okay, I also didn’t want him annoying strangers.
He sold out. He made $25 which to a five-year-old is like $250. In just one day.
I thought for sure that he’d be satisfied and ready to move on.
But the next day he made more cards. And more.
Only this time, he had run out of family members to sell to.
This was pretty frustrating for him, so he started attacking anyone that came near our house:
The UPS man, the mail carrier and even a neighbor walking by.
But he just couldn’t move his product.
Five days went by and he didn’t sell a single card. He knew it was time to expand his market. He needed to reach more customers!
So he did what anyone does in this situation:
He opened an Etsy shop.
He selected a place in the yard to take photos. He took the photos (with my help) and then he sat on my lap for over two hours as we set up his shop and loaded the listings.
And guess what happened after we opened his shop?
And still nothing.
And then… he got a sale!!!
After he carefully placed the cards in a shipping envelope he said:
Yay! Lesson learned.
Take that, lemonade stand and lawn mowing.
This post was sponsored by Crashy Cards.*
UPDATE: Sold out! Thanks everyone, you have absolutely made their day. We’ll be packing and shipping these out tonight. As to whether or not there will be more cards coming, I don’t know – it is up to him and he is too busy playing with cars right now to make business decisions. (You can still see them in the SOLD section here.)
Do I think this will last? Nah, probably not. But who cares, it was fun.
Oh & the name “Crashy Cards” was inspired by one of his favorite things to do right now, which is to play ‘crashy cars” which is exactly what it sounds like. Crashing cars together, demolition derby style.
*I gave him the immediate family member discount. Yes, he asked me to post about this here. “Mama, can you tell your crappy pictures people about my cards?” So there you go. I just did.