Morgan Mayfield

Like a housewife, but with lots of opinions. A psych major recovering from a career in fashion retail, Morgan now resides in eastern Washington wine country where she teaches yoga, keeps 3 small children alive and maintains a tenuous grasp on sanity.

Lemonade Stands And The Decline Of American Capitalism

(Morgan Mayfield)

We live in a divisive time. One of the few things that unites the human race is we all are out here trying to do our best with our kids. We might go about it in different ways, but in our hearts we want our little rascals to grow into happy, healthy, successful adults. Here, in the land of the free market and home of the brave capitalists, it seems we generally believe a strong work ethic is an essential ingredient in that happy, healthy, successful adult recipe.

Enter a tradition as American as apple pie, baseball, and celebrity sex scandals: the lemonade stand, which will surely ruin our economic system in the generations to come. I’ll tell you how.

I don’t remember how my 6-year-old found out about lemonade stands but we were entering the 4th month of him begging to have one. I stalled for as long as I could, and finally, there we were, Saturday afternoon, setting up in 102 degree August heat.

Despite my resistance to the ORDEAL of launching this start-up, once we began preparation I was immediately overcome with the obvious superiority of my parenting. Here I was, teaching my 6 and 3-year-olds valuable life lessons. We’d utilize mathematics and business acumen, hone our customer service skills, get acquainted with the value of a dollar, all while bonding, creating lifelong memories and undoubtedly looking like a live shoot for a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue.

We started with writing the business plan. While my 3-year-old loudly sang the Trolls soundtrack over me, I formulated a plan with the nerdy one. What were our expenses? Could we afford to make lemonade from scratch? If we charged X, Y, or Z, what would our profit be? Was that even enough to cover our costs? What variables could affect our sales? What was our marketing strategy? How would we utilize our personal contacts and leverage social media? Obviously, he began ignoring me immediately. Undeterred, I shouted my calculations into the void. Finally, we were ready to send Dad to the grocery store while we moved on to Phase 2: Executing our Marketing Strategy.

Jon Hamm Marketing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Using a bigass posterboard, I wrote LEMONADE 75 CENTS. This was my 3-year-old’s time to shine! I gave her and her big brother crayons and said, “Go ye to towne, kids! Bare your creative spirits! Decorate with reckless abandon as I stand several feet away Not Micromanaging!” 37 seconds later their hands got tired, so we taped our partially colored sign to our table and carried our supplies outside.

Once we were set up, I took a photo so everyone on Facebook could see what an energetic engaged parent I am. Then I sent the picture to their aunt so they would have at least one customer. Then we started dripping sweat because The Outside that time of year feels like a sauna packed thigh to sweaty thigh, but with more allergens. Then the children began Building Character*.

*complaining

Lemonade Stand Cash Machine Mv GIF by DRAM - Find & Share on GIPHY

After 15 minutes aka 900 seconds of constant whining, a neighbor came over to buy some lemonade. I poured while teaching my kids fool-proof sales lines such as, “Would you like some lemonade?” “75 cents please,” and “Thank you.” Before long, or after very extremely long if you were there living it, we had made $3. Then a horrifically un-American thing happened that has destroyed my children forever.

A man in an SUV drove by and gave my kids each a $5 bill and said he didn’t want any lemonade. We had been sweating our balls off out there to make $3, and in one instant this guy made back our entire investment without even touching our inventory. We had a couple more customers, and then you know what happened? Another person just gave them a few dollars for no lemonade!

Make It Rain Money GIF by DRAM - Find & Share on GIPHY

I smiled at the kind stranger with gritted teeth as I internally shouted, “Hey asshole, thanks for ruining my kids’ work ethic! You think millennials are entitled lazy pricks? Wait until my kids grow up!” Having completely abandoned their money laundering front of a lemonade stand, my kids busied themselves with celebratory touchdown dances as they headed inside for popsicles, hands full of cash. I called after them to help me clean up, but they ignored me because they were rich now and didn’t need parents anymore.

Months later, the experience has stayed with my kids. Do I feel good about giving them an idyllic formative memory? I mean, I’m glad Instagram has it documented like I’m Norman Rockwell-ing parenting.

But in all honesty I wish they’d just forget about it. To this day, on sunny afternoons my son approaches me with his sister in tow, always with the same question: “Hey Mom, is it okay if we go stand outside and ask people for money?”

A Parent’s Perspective: “Carl Goes To Daycare”

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

For those who aren’t familiar with the children’s classic Carl Goes to Daycare, written and illustrated by Alexandra Day, it’s a hyper-realistic tale of a gigantic dog being let loose in a daycare while the primary childcare provider attempts to break in to save the children and her job.

My kids love the vibrant imagery and childish antics. I love the tension of the entire book hanging on the edge of life-altering catastrophe.

Let’s take a closer look.

Things start out innocently enough. A mom is dropping her kid off at daycare. With a Rottweiler. Like she’s in an early 2000s DMX music video. She’s probably just being facetious when she says, “Take care of the children.” Surely Carl will stay outside.

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Hold up. The dog goes inside, and… what’s this? The childcare provider appears to be locked out?

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

The children are so thrilled by Carl they don’t notice the absence of adults, or that Mrs. Manning is using a crowbar she had just laying around to try to break into the daycare.

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

What is even going on here? Carl has lost control of the children. Someone tell that little girl she is trying to ride a dog with lockjaw mechanism. Your head fits in his mouth kid, watch out!

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Carl has regained control? Carl can read? Carl is making sure they keep to their daily schedule?

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

What is that wacky Mrs. Manning up to now? It looks like she’s trying to pick the lock with a colonial-era device used to churn butter. Meanwhile, a savage 125 pound beast is teaching the children horticulture tips. I know cell phones aren’t invented yet but FFS Mrs. Manning, go next door, ask to borrow the yellow pages and call a locksmith. You’re legally responsible for those children!

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Carl in this picture is ALL OF US. Look at his face. Fuck crafting, amirite?

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Carl is looking burnt out. We’ve all been there. He knows that if he just feeds these little monsters he’s one step closer to the end of this hell day where he can crack open a cold one or dig his teeth into a rawhide bone and imagine it’s the flesh of the loudest, whiniest child.

Meanwhile Mrs. Manning appears to be climbing a pine tree without an OSHA-certified harness and then smash through the skylight like a young Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

What‘s the deal with this daycare anyway? EVEN IF that moron Mrs. Manning was inside, surely this is not compliant with adult-to-children ratio laws?

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Wow, Mrs. Manning. Tie your car to it, a reasonable solution to anything. Good luck to any kids in her care with a loose tooth. I hope the bumper flies off your VW Beetle, you realize this is the wrong career for you, and you’re able to get your fucking life together before a lawsuit destroys you.

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

AW SHIT THAT’S RIGHT! CARL CAN FUCKING READ!

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Carl, you smug son of a bitch. You knew she was out there the whole time and could have opened the door, but you wanted to make her sweat.

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Carl’s like, “Hey genius, you owe me one day’s minimum wage pay and also I took a crap by your desk.”

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

At the end of every book this lady acts like Carl is the crazy one. “Oh, hey, I just left you in charge of my infant daughter and like 24 other kids but I’m going to put my hands on my hips and be condescending because you’ve got a ladybug on your butt like a dang fool.”

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

You bet your ass you’re glad Carl was here, Mrs. Manning. Your jumpsuit is fly as hell but your judgment is questionable.

(Carl Goes to Daycare)

Memories were made, the entire day’s schedule was attended to, careers were saved. Carl may be a man of few words, but that doesn’t stop him from being a gentleman, a scholar, and above all, an unlicensed childcare-providing Rottweiler. Like, I can’t stress that last part enough.

Bottom Line

While it is impressive that Alexandra Day could switch-hit as both author and illustrator, I felt Carl Goes to Daycare had more plot holes than the last season of Lost. The innocent amusement of the children juxtaposed with a savage beast who would rip them all to shreds if he was held without food for a week was, in fact, interesting. But throughout the tall tale I couldn’t help but imagine what would happen if the story was in modern times, and the daycare had webcams. Helicopter parents would immediately call the animal control SWAT team to storm through the windows with high-powered tranq guns. No more Carl. And after the state licensing agency got involved, no more daycare.

But if you can manage to suspend your disbelief for 10 minutes, Carl Goes to Daycare is an idealistic view of the potential heart of a rottweiler. I just wouldn’t be calling the pound to see if they have any good nannies anytime soon.