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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bow and Money


This morning, at breakfast, Bow spelled: "I heard that it's hard for you to pay." He was talking about a conversation he overheard between me and Lawrence. Lawrence had suggested some improvements that could be made at Orchard House, and I had to tell him that I had no budget for anything like that. I am hoping to generate more income, and everything I am doing these days is geared in that direction. "If I had that kind of money," I told Lawrence, "I would spend it on care for Bow, not home improvements."

Does Bow understand about money? Yes, and no. He knows what it is. He's handled money. He's smelled it. My father used to say pecunia non olet, "money doesn't smell." But clearly money does smell, and Bow likes to sniff it and learn about all the people who have handled it. What he's not interested in is earning any for himself.

At one point I tried to set up a system of rewards that would include money. If Bow completed a task, he would get paid, and the money would accumulate in his piggy bank till there was enough for him to order what he wanted from a catalog. It didn't work though, because Bow refused to say what he would like to order, and he was not at all motivated by Mammon.

The one time Bow asked me to give him money was when he felt jealous that Sword was buying me a present and he had nothing to give. "Give me money," he said. "How much money do you want?" I asked. "22," he spelled out. "Twenty-two dollars?" "Yes."

I have no idea how he came up with that number, or whether it meant anything to him. But when it came time for him to tell the current intern what he wanted her to purchase with the money, he wouldn't say. Eventually, the intern gave that money back to me.

Bow currently has a balance of nine dollars and thirty-one cents in his piggy bank, but he has never spent any of it.

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