Thanks to everyone who commented on “How Much Longer?”. I just wanted to clarify that we have a separate desktop computer for the children’s use. It is a (used) first- or second-generation iMac G5 (BabyMac) with a wireless connection to the home network. It is located in the playroom, which is adjacent to the family room and kitchen area of The Zone.
When I first installed BabyMac, I gave each child his own password, which he was supposed to keep a secret. That didn’t last very long. Before I knew it, Wizard had figured out his brothers’ passwords and was logging himself on to the computer all the time. I changed everyone’s passwords a couple of more times, but Wizard always caught up with me. Finally, WineGuy and I agreed on one password for the kids; only WG and I know this password. Wizard has not been able to figure it out for the last 6-8 months or so.
My concern about allowing Wizard to earn the money to buy the computer is that once he has it, he will never adhere to the rules or limitations. For instance, when Wizard wanted to play lacrosse this spring, his grades and his attitude were lousy. I drafted a contract which provided that he had to turn in his schoolwork on time, do his laundry weekly, and help out around the house. First, Wizard tried to renegotiate the terms of the contract. I refused. Once he signed the contract, Wizard tried to weasel out of the provisions by “substantially complying” [legal term] with the provisions instead of following them to the letter. His continual fighting and manipulating was exhausting — these are his usual ploys for not working.
Lastly, you need to know that Wizard is a deceitful child who always looks for the illicit, easy way out. As I recounted this whole computer issue to Calvin yesterday at lunch, I shocked her with Wizard’s comment that he would steal my ATM card, “figure out the PIN,” and withdraw all the money in his savings account so he could buy that computer. Wizard takes things without asking, uses my stuff without asking, doesn’t put anything away, and then lies to cover his tracks. Nice? Not.
Now, has your position changed?