Thursday 29 Sep 2016

The Cost of Kids
Jennifer Flaten

You always hear how expensive children are. What are the little darlings worth, something like a billion dollars? Anyway, before you actually have children you assume that the cost is all big stuff like food, clothing college etc. It’s not.

Okay, so a good portion of it is food and god help your bank account if you have fashion conscious daughters-or sons, but that isn’t where all the money goes.

It is really goes to replacing stuff. Your stuff mostly, but occasionally their stuff, which gets broken on an almost daily basis. You know how some factories have a sign that says ‘this plant has gone X days without an accident’?

Well, I want that sign for my house, except in my house the sign would say “We went X days without someone breaking something of Mom’s.”

Why is it always my stuff? I don’t know. Oh wait I do. It’s because my stuff is the forbidden fruit. Look what happened in the Garden of Eden. It’s the same here, exactly.

About the time I bring home a pretty vase or other little something for the house and tell the kids, don’t touch. They will inevitably use said item for a rousing game of tackle football.

I tell the kids don’t touch. They think “What? Don’t touch? She can’t possibly mean I can’t pick it up and look at it “Crash or bang.” Suddenly there isn’t a kid for miles and miles. 

Also all the utilitarian stuff in the house is technically mine. So when they break the microwave-yes, the bloody microwave. No, I don’t know how, probably trying to defrost a wooly mammoth in it or something. It is something of mine they are breaking.

With the girls in the house, it isn’t always breakage, it can be “broken” by being repurposed or redecorated. Ugh, I can’t tell you how many glasses and Tupperware dishes I’ve lost to spa day, painting, clay or *shudder* glitter.

I am afraid I am going to have to check my youngest daughter into a Glitter rehab program. I caught her applying glitter glue to her room’s doorknob yesterday. The first step is admitting that not everything needs glitter.

In terms of clothes, the girls can occasionally find something in my closet, which isn’t hopelessly unfashionable. If that is the case, the only time I will ever see that sweater and so forth again is on the body of my child as she is leaving the house.

Aside from that, the kids will nickel and dime you to death with little things. Why should you think the $400 you spent on school supplies might last a school year? Bzzzt. Wrong.

There are activity T-shirts, field trips, fees, fines and more school supplies. Sure, you bought 620 pencils per the school supplies list, but the teacher has a few additional items after the year starts. Including titanium coated binders and rocket fuel.

Not to mention the supplies for various science projects, oh yeah, you won’t find out you need those supplies until the project due date is a mere 4 hours away. So, instead of shopping at your local craft/big box store for the supplies you will get everything you need to make a working volcano from the corner Kwik Mart.

You will be pleasantly surprised to find everything you need there and at the usurious prices. Your willingness to pay these prices depends on if you want your child to pass or fail. Would failing mean you have to pay for summer school? Then it is probably cheaper to buy the $8 bottle of vinegar.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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