I’m supposed to be writing an article about trains. Not just any trains, but luxury trains, like the Orient Express. Yes, there really is still an Orient Express. It didn’t disappear when Agatha Christie died. It zips about the European continent and reportedly has very good food. Hardly anybody ever gets murdered while aboard, Ms. Christie notwithstanding.


Mainly what I’ve learned about the Orient Express and other trains of its ilk is that they are mostly patronized by very old, very rich people. It costs a great deal of money to take one of those trips, and there’s a lot of sitting around in lounge cars, drinking and regaling one’s fellow passengers with ribald tales of one’s adventures.


I would like to take one of those trips, even though I am neither very old nor very rich, nor do I have much in the way of tales to tell. Would the Orient Express set like to hear about my kids or my jobs or…that’s it…all I’ve got to talk about. I’m thinking my politics wouldn’t go over well amongst the very old and very rich, so that’s out. I’d have to spend the whole trip in meditative silence. Nevertheless, I’d like to go. I have a thing about trains.


Speaking of getting old, my youngest child, little Little Bit, is twelve years old today. “I’m not a teenager yet,” she reassured me last night. She asked for three things for her birthday: a visit to the cat adoption center (just to visit—she knows we are not adopting any more cats, no matter how adorable), a raise in her allowance as befits her age, and an iTunes gift card so she can get some not-free apps for her iPod. That all seems quite reasonable.


Poll: how much money should a child of twelve get for a weekly allowance?


This weekend we will host a birthday party for LB. Since all of LB’s pals are in our mother/daughter book club, this will be a combined book club meeting/sleepover party. (Moms are not sleeping over, as far as I know.) That’s right, LB and her nerdy friends are going to happily have a formal book discussion at a birthday party. That’s just how we roll around here. Don’t worry—there will also be pizza and movies and cake baked by her big sister. Props, Tigger!


Happy birthday to my baby girl. Twelve is a major transition age for girls, and watching this one begin turning into a young woman will be gratifying. I will enjoy every little girl hug I can get in the meantime.



22 thoughts on “Twelve

  1. Happy Birthday!  Lil Bit and I are almost birthday buddies!  Plus or minus 30 years.   My kids get a weekly dollar amount equal to their age =  the 14yo gets $14 and the 11yo gets $11 a week.  And this without regular chores.  😉  

  2. Happy Birthday Little Bit! What time should my daughter and I be there? We would be ALL OVER that book club-birthday party combo. My kids are younger, but we pay the same as their grade #. It has worked so far, but we may switch to age at some point, like Tiff – she’s such a trendsetter. Isn’t there a Napa Valley train where you drink lots of wine while driving through vineyards and getting on and off to drink more wine? Let’s do a Xanga meetup on one of those trains. No one will care what we talk about with all that WINE.

  3. I”ve wanted to take a train trip for a long time…I”m always freeked out about train derailments…I’m not afraid of planes falling out of the sky, though…I like the dollar per year so $12 … sounds like a great idea…$12 for just the allowance but with extras more can be earned.  Teach her to write too!

  4. Birthday girl, have a good one. I so enjoy reading your posts. I remember the train trip I took from kansas to PA with a 6 month old baby with no pampers, cloth diapers. We couldn’t afford pampers, that were fairly new. Nor could I afford to eat in the dinning car.

  5. Wishing her a very happy birthday celebration; it sounds wonderful! Can’t believe she is that old! I don’t remember exactly what we did about an allowance; I know it wasn’t a lot. I am thinking it might have been tied to grade as well, at least through elementary. I have never been on a train but it sounds like an easy way to travel.

  6. I give my kids $5 per week. They don’t even need that. What do they need with money?! Every time Christmas or birthdays roll around they end up with extra $$. They each have a savings account. In my opinion they all have way too much money in their accounts.

  7. What a wonderful birthday! You certainly do have exception offspring. As for allowance, I think the suggestion for it to match her age is good. We have not been very consistent about how much allowance we give each week, but if I had it to do over I think I would do the dollar for each year of age per week. Seems fair. What we do (sometimes) is give a dollar amount per chore, with a maximum of whatever amount we decide we want to do (often based on a combination of what the girls want to do and what we can afford). There are set chores they pretty much had to do no matter what, but additional chores earned them more.

  8. @DrTiff – Hmm, interesting approach.@madhousewife – Elder child Tigger, who is also an alum of the Baking Camp of Awesomeness, will be baking the cake, assisted by her chef-wannabe friend.@turningreen – The Napa Valley train meet-up is an awesome idea! And I already know I can tell you people anything, even without wine.@Rockinbear05 – Don’t worry–she’ll need more iTunes money for Hannukah. And your present arrived just in time.@didntusedtobelumpy – The Rocky Mountaineer? It does look fun.@Ninasusan – She’s already a talented writer–makin’ mom proud!@BLB – The luxury trains are a whole different world from an Amtrak haul. And cloth diapers on a train trip sounds…less than ideal.@leenaree – I knew you would be into the wine train idea. @suzyQ_darnit – I can’t believe it either!@ordinarybutloud – They need money so when they ask for something you can say, okay, you can buy that with your own money if you’re sure you want it.@Shahrazad1973 – What chores does Sophie do?

  9. @transvestite_rabbit – yes, I guess, although when I don’t want them to have something, it’s almost never a question of money. It’s almost always because said item is an inappropriate video game, an unhealthy eating choice, an annoyingly messy art toy or the five millionth stuffed animal. Occasionally (very rarely) they want something junky and stupid that’s not worth the money and THEN I tell them they can use their own money.

  10. @ordinarybutloud – That will change as they get older.  Even my 11yo doesn’t really keep track of her allowance or have many opportunities to spend money.  Every so often she will lock onto something she wants and then I tell her she can take money out of her account to buy it… this usually makes the item seem much less desirable. 🙂    My 15yo, however, is definitely keeping track and he’s into regular weekly spending and having pocket money for sodas, junk food, magazines, buying songs on iTunes, or saving up for inappropriate video games.  I really don’t tell him what he can or cannot buy, but he needs a regular cash flow because he can’t get a regular job yet. 

  11. I love Agathe Christie ! My first trip on a train, I SUPPOSEDLY said to the ticket master person (I was only 7 or so) “When is someone going to die?Are you going to kill him?”My parents had an awkward time explaining that =)

  12. @ordinarybutloud – Well, as Tiff says, that changes as they get older. Having some money is a necessary part of gaining increasing independence and skill in navigating the world, as well as getting stuff they want.@Shahrazad1973 – Those totally count!@DrTiff – Exactly. And clothes. My teen wants way more clothing than I want to buy for her. Allowance + thrift store means she gets what she wants and I don’t have to say no all the time.@Want2FitIn2Fat2Fit – I’m thinking the staff on the Orient Express hear that all the time.

  13. I love the idea of trains better than the reality of trains, but there is a Grand Canyon one that is calling me! Allowances are interesting. They tell so much about a family and their structure. What did you decide?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s