Sovay learned to count by watching Sesame Street.  However, she never did things according to the rules.  She refused to count for me so that i could tell how much she knew.  When I would coax her to count for me, Sovay would throw random numbers at me until I became frustrated and walked off.  I would be doing dishes and she would creep up behind me and count perfectly, but the minute I turned around and looked at her it was back to the random numbers gig.

In an effort to get her motivated into counting for me, I gave her an allowance in pennies starting when she was four and making her count the pennies for me.  If she could not or would not count the pennies, I refused to give them to her.  Then when she had enough pennies to spend on a toy, I took her shopping.

The system worked fine.  Eventually I was giving her nickels, and then dimes, quarters, and finally I changed them into dollars by the time that she was seven.

When she was five, I went to work fulltime.

A local classics station started running Jack Benny movies and tv reruns.  Jack Benny seemed to be a harmless enough show that I did not mind her watching them while I was busy.  Sovay adored Jack Benny.

When she turned seven, I told her, “Sovay, you’re too big to spank now.  If you misbehave, I’ll take it out of your allowance.”

Her reply was “I’m thinking.  I’m thinking.”

I had a delicate crystal prism on a shelf.  I was forever having to take it away from her.  One day I noticed there were pieces missing from the prism.  I knew immediately that Sovay must have gotten it and dropped it.

“Sovay, you broke my prism.  I’m going to take it out of your allowance.”

She immediately shrieked as if mortally wounded.  “Spank me, Mom.  Spank me, but don’t take my money.”