I don't know what it is about being away from home, but each time we go away, the boys seem to get re-obsessed with MONEY. The other day walking past some downtrodden shacks in the 'unseen' part of glamourous Goa, Eggie exclaimed, "Look how POOR Indian people are".
We had to explain that India is a country of extremes, and as such, has both shockingly poor and indescribably rich people making up its population. He doesn't really believe us - and neither does Dumps.
For example, Dumpie likes our new house enough, but is put off that it doesn't have an upstairs. (It does actually - a lovely flat empty roof terrace - but it's strictly off limits to the monsters, or so the husband thinks, by having put the push chair midway up the outdoor stairway in a vain attempt to deter them.)
Being so adaptable, children readily accept what you tell them when they are young, but we can't seem to convince Egg that he doesn't need to give money to every child who asks.
A few days ago we were at someone's house and a group of young boys his age, spotting him as an easy target, gathered outside the gates and started chanting, "Money..money...money..." and little Egg came running over demanding money to give to the little boys.
We explained that they were locals and just teasing. For they were certainly not lacking, but merely having a go...and why not?. Egg however became disturbed and began begging us for money (now this whole Pokemon business at school where he'd leave with twelve cards and return with two, makes sense!).
Eventually he must have changed tack and caught his father in a distracted moment -or worse, perhaps begged it off a fellow party goer - for he somehow got hold of 20 Rupees, which he promptly handed over to the braying mass, before running over to me to try and hit ME up for more!
The result is that now Egg is locked in a personal competition with himself to drastically improve his handwriting skills in his little notebook, so as to receive enough 'ticks' from Dada, so as to get his daily allowance of Rupees. This I expect, he shall hand over to the first child who asks. But in the meantime, his slowly growing personal monetary fund is causing major annoyance to us all.
He is forever misplacing his money, swimming in the sea with it, or sticky-fingered Dumps gets his hands on it when Egg isn't looking and hides it in any number of places invisible to the human eye.
Yesterday for example, after Egg had been distraught for two days about the loss of his 36 Rupees, Dumpie suddenly emerges from their bedroom with a wad of cash and innocently asks, "Mama...who money this?"
I look at him sternly, "Dumps, isn't that Eggie's money?" for I recognize the damp, mangled ten and five Rupee notes immediately.
"Oh yes! It is! Me go give Eggie his money!" And off he trots to deposit the bills in a delighted Eggie's lap, looking terribly smug and pleased with himself.
Egg is so overcome with joy that he ignores Dumpie and jumps up shouting, "My money! Yay!....My money!"
Dumps is not impressed, and I suspect, shall see to it that Egg's money soon mysteriously disappears again...and again...until he gets the adoration and gratefulness he craves from his older brother.
In the meantime however, the husband and I are doomed to ongoing financial loss. Our pockets are constantly being emptied, handbags are being turned over, and any money casually left out in the open is furitively scooped up by one little pair of hands or another and lost in the sand, rolled under the fridge or sacrificed to the gods of the Sea during the next family swim.
Or maybe they're involved in some underground crime lord dealings, and are pilfering cash to hand over to those chanting boys. In which case, I'd better go hide my creditcard.