Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Belle Jar

Henry's Sister was four last week.

According to someone else, four is the age that you can start to give a child the responsibility of their own money.

Up until the age of four they just eat coins, but on the morning of their fourth birthday they become like the rest of us, able to make a well-informed choice between spending it on shit they don't need and keeping it in a bank account so they can afford the minimum payment on their credit card.

After a small 'discussion' with Henry's Father, we ushered her into the kitchen and sat her down on a chair. I held her little hands and looked into her huge pools-for-eyes, gently stroking her face and wondering where my little baby had gone.

"Mummy and Daddy have got something exciting to tell you darling". Her eyes lit up. "We have decided, now that you are four and a big, grown-up girl, that you can start to have pocket money!".


"Pocket money!"


"Pocket money!"

Stifles a yawn.

"Only if you're good, though", chips in Henry's Father, pointlessly, as we all know that come every Saturday, regardless of how many meals she has failed to finish, screens she has been glued to, tantrums she has thrown and arguments we have had, we will eagerly press shiny coins into her hot little hand and tell her how terrific she is.

We decided on the arbitary figure of a pound a week, mainly because that will accumulate funds quickly enough to be useful when I raid her savings for the crisps machine at the gym. And it makes the £16 I spent on a Disney Princess money box at the Pottery Cafe seem a little less like a massive, ironic waste of cash.

They know how to play it in there, with the tiny, four quid plaster bears on the top shelves and the big bloody unicorns at the average-height-for-a-four-year-old. And as Henry's Sister now has the, apparently unavoidable, OWDP (Obsession With Disney Princess) she ignored my argument that a massive wine goblet is perfect for storing plastic bracelets and went for the Belle that doubled as a money jar.

I felt quite proud when I went back a week later to pick it up. "Wow", I said as the sickly sweet, teenage pottery girl carefully unwrapped the jar in the shop. "You did that ALL BY YOURSELF! Just WAIT til we show Daddy...".

Of course she had barely done any of it by herself but I wasn't going to admit that as I smiled animatedly at our version of Belle, with her Stephen King death-stare eyes and hideous drag queen lipstick.

"She's so pretty!" lied the teenager, "and you can put your pocket-money in there, can't you?".

And so now she sits by the printer in the dining room, Beauty's ugly sister, fending off potential burglars while we sleep upstairs.

She so far contains a pound coin awarded for imaginary good behaviour and a ten pence that Henry found and tried to eat (he's not yet four).

I'm thinking of going back and painting the goblet. If I got a glass of wine for everytime I did something good in this house I'm pretty sure I would be constantly pissed.

And I'd definitely look a lot more like Belle.


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