Both my children get so excited when they find money. At 3, Oksana just knows that money buys stuff. She has a play cash register but still doesn't exactly 'get' that each coin is different, each dollar is different; she doesn't know how to relate them to merchandise (in her world, everything costs TWENTY CENTS). At 5, Drake knows the units of money are different; he can add and subtract some of them; he can perform rudimentary financial transactions, with some adult help. But their monetary skill levels don't really matter; what matters is that money brings TOYS and CANDY and LETS THEM PICK THINGS OUT THEMSELVES WHEN WE GO TO THE STORE. Money is modern-day treasure, and every time they find a coin they squeal in glee, pick it up, examine it, marvel over its shine, pocket it, can't wait to get it home and deposit it in their counting bank. It's a HUGE thrill.
Today I was cleaning in my room and I found a dusty, dirty old penny. I was making piles on my bed, so I made a 'change for the counting bank' pile with that one penny. A short while later, my son wanders in. Children naturally gravitate towards anything you are working on (the better to make a mess of it all!), so he starts checking out the stuff on the bed.
"ooh! Mommy! A penny!" He examines it suspiciously; it's pretty dirty and worn. "Is this a REAL penny?"
"Yes, honey," I say, somewhat wearily, from my position on the floor (I was digging things out from under a dresser). "I was going to put it in your counting bank when I finished here."
"oooh! Can *I* put it in the counting bank?"
Drake wraps his fingers tight around the prize and starts skipping out of the room. He's all the way out the door when I hear him stop, turn around, and walk back to the doorway.
"Will it make you sad if I put this in my counting bank instead of you? Because you sounded sad about it." He holds out the coin to me.
"No, sweetheart, I'm not sad. You go ahead and do it. I just must have sounded funny because I'm tired."
"OK!" he skips off with his treasure again.
It just touched my heart so much that he is thoughtful enough to recognize that I might be sad over not getting to deposit such a treasure myself, and that he was sweet enough to offer to let me do it, even though it would cost him the thrill of it. When he came back in the room, I had to give him a big hug. My sensitive little man.