Michael does not get the concept of money. At all. And, not for lack of trying either.
The first thing I tried was a piggy bank. We ended up buying one that announced the type of coin being placed into it. Only it was frequently wrong and kept telling Michael that a penny was a dime. It also oinked and squealed in a shrill manner and was quickly disappeared from the play area.
Next, I tried giving Michael an allowance. Unlike most kids who are thrilled to get money, he was flat out offended by the entire process and refused to even look at the bag where I kept putting money. He even refused to buy anything with the money, even if it meant going home with nothing.
I felt a little optimistic when his daycare teacher started her lesson about coins and money. Surely, that would help right? Nope, the kid that can tell the difference between an Allosaurus and a T-Rex refused to learn even the names of the U.S. coins, let alone how much each one is worth. He did, however, pick up this strange idea; U.S coins do not stick to magnets but coins from India do.
So, after over a year of trying to teach Michael about money, the only thing he has learned is the magnetic properties of the metals used to make different coins. That's just...um...weird.
As I mentioned earlier this week, on the first day of school, his class had a lesson on how to use the food card to purchase lunch. Michael went to the cafeteria and "purchased" a "hamburger". The idea was to demonstrate how to buy actual food with what is essentially a credit card. WHICH HE SEES ME USING ALL THE FREAKING TIME PEOPLE!
Knowing that Michael had this lesson, I loaded money onto his account and told him he could use his card to buy milk for himself. Michael just looked at me like I'm insane.
I asked him to think back to the lesson where he bought the hamburger and tried to explain that his teacher was trying to teach him how to use the card and that I had put real money on it so he could buy real food and milk with it. "Mommy, you do know that was just pretend, right?"
Don't patronize me child! At least I know how to buy milk.
I finally gave up and decided not to pack him any milk in his lunch with a reminder that he could use his lunch card to buy it if he wanted it. Then, I let it drop because it's like bashing my head against a wall.
Later in the evening, Michael started telling me about the "boys" in his school. "Mommy, there are only two boy teachers, one of them is the gym teacher. But, all of the cafeteria workers are boys and there are 16 of them. So that makes...hmm...18 boys in my school."
Really? He's observant enough to notice that most of the teachers are women and that all of the cafeteria workers are men; plus he can add 16 + 2; but he can't even grasp the concept of money having value? You have got to be kidding me.
Update: I checked Michael's account. He did not buy anything at lunch today. Sigh.