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By: Audrey Lintner

When your kid teaches himself division by his fourth birthday, you kinda get the idea that he’s seriously into numbers.

Junior has been crazy about numbers from the minute he discovered them. To him, no toy is as interesting as a calculator, and a field trip to an accounting firm is his idea of a dream vacation. Even reading, his second favorite activity, has to include numbers of some kind.

“Want to read dis? I want to read Ten Apples Up on Top, Mama.”

Good grief, the kid doesn't even care about the toy section of Monster Mart! Nope. Action figures and cars are passé when you have a chance to count to a thousand with the number candles in the baking aisle.

While cruising the office supply section, I spied what I KNEW would be the perfect surprise for Junior: an electronic change counter. Oh, yeah. With the help of one AAA battery, this little plastic jar sorts your loose change, tells you what coins you've added, and gives you a running total. I snagged one and brought it home.

Junior was enthralled.

For the past three days, he’s been merrily stuffing change into the slot and offering commentary. “Da penny makes one. Da nick-o makes five. Oo, a quawdoo!” When he runs out of coins, he dumps them back into a bucket and starts over. There’s just one problem.

He’s become a coin junkie.

Pennies are snatched up with glee. Dimes elicit avaricious squeals. “It’s a dime! A dime is ten pennies!” During trips to the store, Junior bounces anxiously at our sides, waiting for the change to be handed back.

On the plus side, our couch cushions have never been cleaner.