The Cost of Kids

Before we made up our mind to start a family way back when, the husband and I used to have discussions about it in an effort to determine our readiness for this irreversible big step in our lives. Well, I discussed it with him; I think he was in denial until we had a screaming babe in our arms, and mostly only said “OK” to whatever I asked.

Sorry, I digress.

So these discussions covered topics including the finality of the decision (in the sense that there’s no going back), the idea of me staying at home vs continuing to work, our future travel expectations etc. There was also a lot of talk about expenses — the upfront “baby’ ones such as strollers, car seats, cribs — and later, education. What we failed to include in our Excel child budget sheet were the incidentals. Oh, the incidentals. Why, oh why, did we not consider extraneous costs? The kids are probably not going to be able to eat us out of house and home, but I might have to take out a second mortgage to cover our cost of Band-aids. Here’s a list of mundane, unexpected things I need a Costco type store in my backyard for to buy enough of seeing as we’re always running out of them.

Incidental Expense #1 – Band-Aids: Honestly, I’ve yet to meet a kid who isn’t into Band-aids. I think their medulla oblongata, or whichever part of the brain it is that stores data, comes imprinted with the image of this pharma product. Or maybe little kids are born with an innate desire to look kewl, just like teenagers, and Band-aids project the cast-with-autographs vibe that makes breaking a teenage bone bearable? Either way, my kids are obsessed with Band-Aids, and nothing else will do when they want one — no stickers, no temporary tattoos, no clear glue type thingy that seals a wound. Only Band-Aid. Whether there is a scrape is immaterial. In fact, the regular-sized Band-Aid will only be used if there is NO wound. If there is a scratch that is visible to the naked eye, then the big guns have to be brought out, you know the more expensive ones that have grooves to fit elbows and knees, only to be peeled off in the next shower (which, hopefully, isn’t more than a day away). Oh, what a waste, moan I. And, the next time I chop off my finger while peeling cucumbers, I’ll have to make do with ice. And an IV (in a quiet hospital, if I’m lucky).

What a field day they would have with these!

IE #2 – Printer Paper: Pre-kids we used to buy a ream of A4 printer sheets and forget about it with the knowledge that any time we will need to print anything the paper will sputter out consistently. Not any more. Now the ink will dry out inside the damn machine because of every thing becoming e-this and e-that, but printer paper will never go out of demand. In our house, that paper (and that paper only!) is used for drawing, painting, origami, paper planes, fortune tellers etc., to tap the tip. A bound sketch book languishes on the shelf unused, colored paper will never get used for making cards, while half-finished masterpieces on printer paper are found under couches, beds and other furniture, only to be chucked into the recycle bin. I haven’t discovered a way yet to convince them that a dollar store stack of plain paper is just as good. Until then, we will continue to chuck our hard-earned cash into the waste paper basket.

IE #3 – Hair ties: Aka scrunchies, fasteners, ponytail rubber bands. I buy stacks of those every month to keep my non-descript hair under control. Every month they get used up as bracelets, catapults, handcuffs, duct tape, dental braces, and myriad other things that have nothing to do with hair. Result: A crazy haired, unkempt looking lady opening doors for Fedex or pizza delivery guys. I don’t think they even expect tips from me probably muttering to themselves, how can a woman afford a tip if she can’t even afford a hair tie? Oh, well.

IE #4 – Lego: These pesky little blocks are the bane of my existence. We have baskets overflowing with them and shelves bent under their weight, but the incoming flood shows no sign of abating. At least in other things I have the husband’s sympathy. For the Lego problem, though, he’s the perpetrator! He will keep buying more and more sets to add to the chaos, every set comes with some spare pieces (who really cares for 5 extras in a 2,512 piece set anyway?!) and then we have to buy furniture to display them. Every horizontal surface in the house is already crammed with Lego structures, and out Lego master is only 6! I shudder to think of how many more years of this madness we have ahead of us and how much more cash we’re going to have to invest in this “hobby” before filing for bankruptcy. And since I’m only 1 anguished voice against 3 testosterone-filled ones, I will just have to take to shaking my head and chanting to myself in the corner on this one.

Some order, more chaos.

IE #5 – White socks: The efficacy of a dryer really is inversely proportional to the number of white socks you have. If I don’t believe this to be the ultimate housekeeping truth, I may have to check myself into an asylum. ‘Nuff said.

What kid-induced incidental expenses do you have?

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