Do you ever let your three year old grab the change out of the automatic dispenser in the checkout line at the grocery store? I do. Usually he gives it to me, but sometimes he gets to keep it and put it in his piggy bank at home.
Do you know where your receipt is by the time you get between 1 and 4 kids into the car, unload the groceries, return your cart, and get two of the four kids buckled into their seats? I usually don’t know where my receipt is—maybe it’s in my pocket, maybe I crammed it in my purse. I’ll be keeping track of my receipts a little more closely from now on . . . let’s listen in on a conversation I had with Spud the other day as I was buckling him into his car seat after leaving the grocery store:
Me: (in shock) What’s that in your mouth?
Him: (pulling a penny out of his mouth) A penny. (I feel compelled to add here, that he hasn’t put things in his mouth for years now, so I never would have expected him to put a penny in his mouth)
Me: We don’t put money in our mouth—it’s dirty and if you swallow it, it could make you very sick.
Him: No response
Me: (quelling rising panic) How much money did you have?
Him: I don’t know.
Me: (looking at the coins in his hand and quelling ever-rising panic) Is that all of the money you brought out of the store?
Him: I hope so.
Me: At this point several images and thoughts flashed through my head—You ‘hope so’—as in you ‘hope’ to have dessert after lunch today?, or you ‘hope’ you don’t have to take a bath tonight? “I’m going to have to take him to the emergency room”. Almost simultaneously I thought of the description of a child in the book Little Heathens who swallowed money and how common folklore/wisdom handed down through the generations (or something other than modern medicine) saved his life, and finally, the most panic-inducing thought of all: the realization that I had no clue how much money he was ‘supposed’ to have.
I quickly began searching the car for my receipt. If I couldn’t find it, our friendly emergency room staff would yet again be admitting one of our family members. At last I found it beside the driver’s seat. A quick glance told me he should have thirteen cents.
Clawing my way back to his seat, I braced myself for the moment of truth. Still clenched in his hand were three pennies and one dime. 13 cents. I counted twice to be sure.
Do you know where your receipts are? I hope so.