The candy fortress

We got a call from Clementine’s school not too long ago — something about her collecting money from the other kids in kindergarten. We asked her about it, and all that she’d tell us was that it was a secret. She said that she’d stop, but assured that they had been pooling their money for a good reason. And that was all that she’d say.

Well, that was a couple of months ago, and we’ve been talking to her since, trying to find out what exactly the secret project was. And, last night, tired by the end of a long car trip back from Milwaukee, she let her defenses down and told me. She was falling asleep, and I was rubbing her feet, which had been hurting from the days of walking. She told me that she loved me, and then, after a probing question or two about the money and what it was for, she said something along the lines of, “We want to invent a healthy candy.”

It seems that she, and a boy named Stanley, and a few others, have decided to go into business, chasing the illusive dream of a candy that could be eaten all the time, without the bothersome condemnation of parents and dentists. I told her that I thought that it was a great idea, but that, until they knew exactly how much money they needed for their research, it probably didn’t make sense to solicit investors. And, speaking of money, I asked her what they’d do with the proceeds, assuming the product turned out to be popular with consumers. She said that they had discussed it. The plan, I was told, was to build a fortress full of candy, covered by elaborate booby traps to keep their competitors and enemies out.

And this, my dear invisible friends, was the moment I knew that I didn’t have to worry about her any longer. Clementine, I thought, was going to be alright.

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  1. Ken Boyd
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    She is a Wargirl, like her mother!

  2. TeacherPatti
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I have never wanted kids, not even for one single second. But this post almost made me cry.

  3. Posted August 10, 2010 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Where do I send in my tax free donation to this venture?

  4. Knox
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Small world. My son is raising money to attack the Candy Fortress in an Oceans 11 type manner, stealing their recipe for the everlasting healthy gobstopper. Naomi Campbell, among others, has invested.

  5. Fran
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Awesome. Awesome girl, awesome kids, awesome ideas. They are going to change the world…if not through candy, another way.

  6. Edward
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Of course, by candy she meant ecstasy.

  7. Ted
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    This is how interested I am in your kid.

  8. Curious
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    So, after you catch your breath from being in emotional awe of your offspring, you may want to take a moment and consider the challenge of going through teenage years with a child who is able to orchestrate an entire class to do her bidding, give her money, and keep it a secret. Even after she was “caught & confronted” she was able to charm you with the response “it’s a secret.” Wow, definitely keep us posted on her comings and goings!

  9. Ted
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    My douchiness was in jest, by the way.

  10. Susan
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    And they say entrepreneurialism is dead in Michigan! There may be a future for us yet. Presumably, the school didn’t try to make her out as a pint sized extortionist.

  11. Bob
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Are you sure this wasn’t another Granholm initiative?

  12. Posted August 10, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    You raise some good points, Curious.

    First, I should clarify what I meant when I said that she collected “money” from her classmates. I’m afraid that I may have given the impression that it was a duffle bag heaping with $10s and $20s. In reality, it was a small a small plastic bag with a handful of pennies and nickels.

    Second, it wasn’t her idea. At least I don’t think that it was. From what I can tell, it was Stanley’s idea. She was just playing the roll of the bank, I assume so that Stanley could keep his hands clean, in case the cops ever came snooping around.

    With that said, though, I do get your drift. This may very well point toward issues in the future, especially concerning boys, their ideas, and how much she chooses to share with us. I think, however, that we played this one right. We didn’t tie her down and shine a bright light in her eyes when she wouldn’t tell us what the money was for, but we also didn’t just forget it. Every week or so, I’d mention it, and, ultimately, she told me. And, after she told me, we had a long talk about why it was important not to have secrets. So, I’m happy that we had the opportunity. And, I’m happy that she’s having cool, interesting ideas and projects at 5. She could have been stealing from other kids to buy a Barbie. Instead, she was raising money to fund a cool startup. I’ve got to think that comes from the exposure to all the projects that Linette and I are involved in, and that makes me happy. But, yeah, the secrecy thing is something we’ve got to keep our eye on, for sure.

  13. Posted August 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    And the school was totally cool with it. They just asked her to stop collecting change from people, and she did. And I’m glad that they mentioned it to us.

  14. Anonymatt
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Does Clementine know that as soon as you learned her secret, you went and shared it with everyone on the internet? I’m glad neither of my parents were journalists.

  15. Ted
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Journalist? Now, that is funny.

  16. Anonymatt
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Ted, I take it that Mark never took a personal email you sent him and published it as a Letter to the Editors in Crimewave USA. I mistrust journalists or their equivalents by any other name.

  17. Chaely
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    At this rate she’s gonna be a billionaire by the time she’s 21. Or a mad scientist.

  18. Anonymatt
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    She won’t be a billionaire if Mark posts all her business ideas before she gets a chance to try them.

    Confidentiality issues aside, this is extremely clever and creative behavior, I understand why Mark would be proud to share it.

  19. Fran
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I did some sleuthing on this. Seems that Clementine and Stanley are the “Bosses”. Other kids get to choose their occupation in the fortress, which, incidentally, leaves my child to his lifelong dream of being “elevator guy” (not sure what that entails, but he does always rush to push the buttons of any elevator so maybe it’s a fit). But, nobody else is the Boss. Two bosses. I am glad Stanley was cool with this.

    FWIW, the fortress is divided into 7 layers…Candyland and Healthyland being two of them. I could squeeze no more out of the small-potatoes accomplice living amongst our kind, but it does in fact seem that Clementine and Stanley are like Donald and Martha, or some other empire builders of repute.

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