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You’re Never Too Young to Earn Your Keep

I recently had to bring Mikey with me to run some errands for work. He’s 5, so I figured it’s time he learned to pull his weight, anyway.

First, I had to stop at the post office to check the P.O. box. Since the office wasn’t even open yet and there were no cars in the lot, I was able to leave him in the car while I ran in and checked the box. Is that legal?

Anyway, when I got back in the car I turned around and handed him $1. “This is for our first stop,” I said. “You’ll get a dollar for each stop. That’s your pay for being my helper today.”

I told him that after all our work errands were done, we could go to his favorite store and he could spend his earnings.

“Thanks, Momma!” he said, and grabbed the bill and stashed it in the cup holder on his booster seat.

Next up was the bank drive-through. Again, he didn’t even have to leave the car, yet he got another $1. That also got stowed in the cup holder.

The next stop was the County Office Building, where I had to get some affidavits notarized. Obviously he had to come inside with me for this. He waited very patiently outside the County Clerk’s Office, only notifying me twice how incredibly boring that particular task was, then came with me up to the third floor to drop off an invoice at the legislative offices, and then back to the first floor to do the same at the purchasing department.

When we got back to the car, Mikey said to me, “Momma, I want money with a bigger number on it.”

Ahahahha… Same here, kid. Same here.

Well, the only other bill I had in my wallet besides ones was a $20 bill. Hesitantly, I handed it over to him and told him to be very careful with it. I also made a mental note to keep the windows rolled up.

He stashed that $20 bill in the cup holder along with the other bills, and we embarked on our final stop, which was a co-worker’s house in Kent to drop off some paperwork. Again, he got another $1 without even getting out of the car. (Interesting how that works, isn’t it?)

When we were all done, we went to Mikey’s favorite store – Five Below in Danbury. I asked him to hand over his earnings to me, and I would help him pick out something he could afford with his pay.

Now, since he’s 5 and doesn’t quite understand how this all works, I was able to convince him that all he could afford with his salary was one item. I know this isn’t exactly helping him with math or life skills, but no way was the kid was getting $23.

After much deliberation, he picked out a Bakugan and some Rainbow Friends key chain junk thing – because “one item” always means two.

Then, of course, he also earned lunch at McDonald’s. Oh, and he may have started the day off with a donut.

Not too shabby for only having to get out of the car once!

Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mom of a 5-year-old. She can be reached at


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