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Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Economics of Children

We all know that children are expensive.  We all know that because I wrote about it.  And we all know everything we all know because we all read it somewhere on this delightfully entertaining yet informative New York Times-E! News-Parenting Magazine love child.  (Yes, threesomes can produce offspring.  Biological.  Fact.)

Anyway.  And not to blow your minds.  But sometimes children can save you money.  True, you'll spend those savings on some other child-related product, like the latest Strawberry Shortcake ankle bracelet or a great bottle-drying rack that looks like hyper-neoned grass.  Predestination notwithstanding, sometimes your kids will come in so handy that they'll obliterate the need for you to invest your time, energy and savings account on something you would have back in the days you used birth control.

Today's example: pets.

That's right.  Having a baby means you can put an end to that years-long debate with your significant other over whether you're more of a cat family or a dog family.  When you become a person-family, you become a unit that can enjoy all the perks of having a domesticated animal living in your house without having an actual domesticated animal living in your house. 

My son has generously volunteered to show you how this all works.

Here's what he did, just this morning between the hours of 6:30AM and 8:30AM:

  1. He alerted the household to the fact he'd awoken by making low, gurgling noises from the recesses of his throat.  The longer we ignored those noises, the louder they became.
  2. When I finally entered his bedroom and turned on the light to signal the beginning of his day, he rose up on his haunches and kind of wiggled his behind.  That is the signal for "YESSSSS!!!!  Let's get this party STARTED!!!"
  3. He went to the bathroom in a place that is not a toilet.
  4. The first thing he wanted to do was to be escorted on a walk through our house to see how things compared to the state he'd left them in last night.  "Hall light?  Still there.  Outlet covers?  Still in place.  Whirring fan?  Right where I tried to topple it over before bedtime.  Carry on, day."
  5. Next order of business: food.  Some Cheerios landed in his mouth, some landed in a drool patch on his upper neck.  Most landed in a spray of whole grains on the floor.
  6. He greeted every new addition to the day with either a tail shake or a yelp of excitement.  In the case of his sister, both.
  7. When left to crawl, he remained somewhere within the six inch radius of my right ankle.
  8. He tried to eat my shoes.
Clearly, we are a dog family who had a son instead.  I don't need an animal covered in fur to wag, slobber, bark, heel, gnaw or soil things.  Because I have a human covered in skin that does all of that for me.  I don't take him for walks with a leash; I take him for walks with a stroller.  I don't take him to the vet; I take him to the pediatrician.  I don't take him to PetSmart; I take him to Target.

My economics classes were the reason I upped my glasses prescription and doubled up my meds.  So I'm not really sure if this is a lesson in savings or a lesson in supply and demand or a lesson in substitution.  Maybe it's a lesson in import-export and tariffs.  Or Reaganomics.  Now that I think about it, this must be a lesson in Reaganomics.  Because really, isn't everything a lesson in Reaganomics? 

It doesn't really matter.  The bottom line is, if you can't resolve your dog-cat debate, just have a baby.

I'm currently working on a theory as to how a baby can resolve the buy-versus-rent debate.  I'll get back to you as soon as I have that appropriately modeled.


  1. Awesome. My dog is actually more high maintenance than my kids!!

    1. A lot of women have this same feeling about their husband.

  2. Oh, I agree. I used to want a dog, but after two kids I never ever want to clean another creature's poop again, or get it food, or get up early to deal with it, ever again.

    1. These are wise words, people. Pay attention.