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Mommy's Little Banker, Part 3

The past couple of days I’ve been
recounting Maddie’s first ever trip-as-customer to our local
bank, and how reluctant she was to surrender her hard-earned cash
to someone else. That is, until the kind teller let Maddie get a
glimpse of the inner workings of the coin-sorting machine, and then
persuaded Maddie to hand over her piggy bank and they began
calculating the coinage.

Oh, the fun. Oh, the joy. As she watched the cash total rise up and
up and up, Maddie’s eyes bugged out of her head. When the
machine finally rested – on a grand total of ten dollars and
eighty-eight cents – Maddie was almost faint at the idea of
that much wealth. Who knew she’d had that much lucre inside a
sow’s belly? In pennies and nickels?

As the receipt for her cash came up, Maddie said, “Why is
there a strip of green running down my receipt?” “Well,
that’s to let us know that the paper’s running low and
needs to be changed. Do you want to help me do it?”

Um, is Kermit still green?

Maddie spent another fifteen minutes
helping this woman change the paper roll, tongue sticking out in
concentration, running back and forth to the trash can as she
cleared out every. Last. Piece. Of. Debris. By this time, a not
insubstantial crowd had gathered, murmuring over the absolute dang
cuteness of the situation and speaking solemnly of Life Lessons
being learned here today.

The paper finally changed, the teller locked the machine back up
and said, “Now, shall we deposit your money in your

Maddie stopped short. “Wait, how do I know my money’s
safe here? I mean, I know where I hide it in my closet at home.
I’m a good hider. What about robbers here? No offense.”

The woman nodded solemnly. “Excellent question, you should
absolutely ask that.” And then she went on to point out all
the security cameras, explain the alarm system (“Just like
ours, Mommy!” Maddie said excitedly. Yeah, but waaaaaaaaaay
better.) and in general sell Maddie on the idea of a bank.

“But to be truthful,” the woman wrapped up with no sign
of impatience, “Most of our customer’s money
isn’t kept here in our local vault. It’s kept in a much
more central location, transported by Brinks Security Systems.
That’s who the Fed uses.”

Maddie turned to me, impressed. “Did you hear that Mommy?
That’s who the Fed uses!”

(Side note – best way to case a bank is to bring a kid who
asks a lot of questions. Lots of reasonably useful intel results.)

So Maddie finally deigned to deposit her money –understanding
that when she withdraws it, it won’t be the EXACT SAME MONEY
that she put in there – and decided to turn over her whole
wad, plus her entire allowance for January. We wandered up to the
window and began counting, adding her receipt for $10.88 to the
random stack of bills we pulled out of Piggy.

“That’s fifty-six dollars and thirty-two cents,”
the teller finally said, before turning to me with a twinkle in her
eye and saying, “And didn’t your mommy say she’d
match whatever you put into your account?”

Did I?

Which is how I ended up writing my daughter a check for fifty-six
dollars and thirty-two cents, and watching her eyes bug out as she
realized she’d just deposited over one hundred dollars to her
account. And as Maddie skipped out of the bank she sang,
“Piggy’s completely empty! He feels so light!”

Yeah, my wallet’s feeling a little light too.

I could practically feel the bystanders applauding as we left
– the whole thing had a very Frank Capra-esque feel to it,
and I was happy to see my daughter finally had a grasp of our basic
financial system and was willing to trust it. Sure, the trip was
fun and cute, but I know she is learning a lesson that will
hopefully last a lifetime. If all goes well, Maddie will grow up to
be a wise and prudent saver.

Which will come in handy, because by then her
“matching” mom? Will be broke.


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