Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dad Stuff - Lesson #92 "Notes on Money and Girls"

Once a year I read an article that states that I will need $200,000 to raise just one of my three kids. That's a grand total of 600 grand for everything. I sat down and tried to crunch the numbers and my meager, tenth grade math skills still can't reconcile the cost to reality. I'm happy, because I've never seen that type of money in my life; but somehow I have three kids that are alive and doing well.

My only assumptions, apart from saving a small fortune for college for each kid, is that the projections appropriated too much cash to get the job done. In other words, it can be done well on the cheap. And some could argue (which is a wimpy way of saying "I THINK") raising kids with less money makes better human beings. I won't get into a preachy deal because I just don't care enough. But I will break own one aspect of child spending that will help the parents of the future.

I know human are insane because at the same time I feel disgusted every time I take a load of used plastic toys my kids are done with to Goodwill; I go to Target and pass by the kids' aisles and lament the days when I would buy my boys Star Wars spaceships for their birthdays . So, I'm messed up. I'm ruined. I know. But I am here to give you a list of all the toys your kids will need for the first 8 years or so of their lives. This will not make them popular. They won't be able to brag about what they have at home to the kids at the playground. However, they will have JUST as much fun and you will have money to live and eat with.

The list is: Balloons, cardboard boxes, flashlights, crayons, paper, a ball, paper towels rolls and books.

What is that, like $100? The books you can get for free from the library and everything comes in bulk. I'm telling you, they have just as much fun knocking each other in the head with a paper towel roll and crawling into boxes than any bullshit Leap Frog game that tries to shoehorn learning into playtime. When the power was knocked out during three Florida hurricanes, my kids barely noticed because they had flashlights to goof around with. I was ready to throw a chair through the front window because I missed TV too much. They just laughed and drew pictures of stuff they liked.

Just a suggestion.

Along the lines of playtime, I have a bit of information for fathers with daughters. Hey guys? Those little girls play strange, strange games. My girl plays school. And business. And job interview. Where are the monsters and swords and epic battles? What kind of playing is that?

I asked her how her sleepover went after her friend left the next morning. She said:

"We played pretend, where our parents moved away and we had to be alone, and go get jobs and get an apartment together…"

What the hell is that crap? That's not fun, that's life! That's work! This is a girl with two older brothers that never fail to drag her into a wrestling session at least once a week. She knows how to avoid a headlock. But when she's in her room, the plush toys are at makeshift desks, the homework is given out and roll is called.

I know nothing of this. It was just me and my brother growing up. When we weren't throwing snowballs or citrus at each other outside, when we beating the piss out of each other and farting in each other's faces. If he mentioned "Hey, lets' play school!", I could not imagine the ass-kicking I would have to give him.

The point? We're different, guys and gals. Sometimes you can't blame the media. My girl is more organized than my wife. She has a more concrete work ethic than her dad.

Not a bad thing.

1 comment:

  1. Depriving your kids of certain "toys" (which are generally never as much fun as they seem/look in the commercials) forces them to entertain themselves--I know from my experience growing up. My mom still tells me about the time I made the zoo out of construction paper and all the animals stood up because I put toothpicks behind them. Construction paper and toothpicks. Kids are a lot simpler than we give them credit for, often.