Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Not Including the Cost of Replacing Spoons

A now-dated U.S. Department of Agriculture survey indicates it will cost a four-member family annually earning $65,800 or more almost $250,000 to raise each child. This figure only takes a child to age 18 and doesn't include college, which if your child attends a private school, can easily add another $150,000 to the total sum. If, like me, you've already boarded the parenting roller coaster, there's really nothing to do at this point but close your eyes in terror until the ride's over. I'm thinking, though, that the $250,000 figure isn't even a fully loaded cost, because there are expenses in the 500Jerk household that no Department of Agriculture wonk would even think to include in the cost of raising a child.

Take, for example, the mysterious and expensive phenomenon of disappearing spoons. At some point, Boy Wonder came to believe that all flatware was inherently disposable. Done with your yogurt? Throw the plastic cup AND the spoon in the trash. Finished your chili? Throw the bowl AND your spoon in the trash. Easy clean-up! Mom offers congratulations on keeping things neat! Win, WIN!

It took a while, but I eventually caught on--Boy Wonder was waging war on our flatware, and the casualties were fierce. I counted our spoons last night, in fact, and although we used to have fourteen complete sets of flatware, we're down to eight teaspoons and six place spoons. This explains why I'm always pulling spoons out of the dishwasher to handwash when there's company. When I asked Boy Wonder about the spoon issue, he reassured me that he hadn't thrown any spoons away in a very, VERY long time. "Like maybe since I was three."

I question this.

After explaining the importance of taking care of what we have, I ordered some new spoons. You may not be aware, but spoons? Cost WAY TOO MUCH MONEY. The Department of Agriculture survey may be dated and inaccurate, and it certainly doesn't factor in the personal reward involved in raising a child. But it's got one thing right:


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