As I have stated in the past, I am approaching fatherhood for the third time, and I’m 45. My currently-existing, already-born kids are only 7 and 10, but given that another one is on the way, I’m basically treating them like they are already grown and out the door.
It’s not like I’m eager to get rid of them at all (and legally I can’t), it’s just that kids cost money, as unromantic as that sounds, but so do babies. Big time. And this is something that I hadn’t really been thinking about when I “agreed” to have another one. Well, I might have mentioned the astronomical cost of raising a child once or twice or every time the subject came up, but that was always shut down by a random combination of facial expressions, emotional cues, or verbal persuasions, sometimes accompanied by minutely implied physical threats.
I’m not suggesting that my (much younger and stronger) wife blackmailed me into having a baby in my almost-twilight years. It’s just that she let it be known that this could, in fact, be my twilight year if I didn’t get with the program.
So, with the cost of camps, and tutors, and clothes, and various candied confections, I am adding cribs, and strollers, and nursing pillows to the list of expenses that no one celebrates in pre-natal classes when they tell you all about the miracle of child birth.
Of course, you don’t need any of these things. Millions of years have passed without the need for a nursing pillow, although the fact that there is almost no evidence of dinosaurs using them, and there are basically no dinosaurs left, could be used in a pro-pillow argument.
The same goes for strollers. I could argue, for instance, that babies don’t really need to be mobile until you salute them as they march out the door to kindergarten. I mean, isn’t that what we have dogs for? I’m already dropping some $150 a month on organic, grain-fed, non-GMO food for a beast that I then shell out some $1000 a year on medication because it can’t stop eating sticks and rotting carcasses every time I’m not looking. Just strap the baby to that thing and make it work for its penicillin.
Ok, maybe a stroller can come in handy. I suppose we need something filling up the trunk so groceries have to be squeezed in the back seat between the two bigger kids and the car seat ($$) for the new one. Which means a bigger car ($$$). Practicality dictates a minivan. My wife dictates “no way.” Of course.
Am I the only one who thinks that babies should be wrapped in paper for the first year of their lives? What’s the point in buying clothes made of actual cloth? They grow constantly, from what I remember. You burn through onesies almost as fast as diapers…which, I’m being told, will be cloth as well. Which means I’m expected to master the twists and turns of the cloth diaper, and the accompanying diaper cover, or whatever it’s called. I’ve been through this before, and needless to say, when I’m on duty (not going for the pun) I’ll be sneaking disposables (non-chlorinated) under the diaper cover. “I seriously have no idea how that got on there…I’m pretty sure the dog might have done it.”
I may be exaggerating a tad with all of this. It’s natural, at least for me, to expect the worst, or bemoan the inevitable. The world is against me, and only I can carry its burden. The truth, of course, is that none of this really matters next to a healthy, happy wife. And baby.
Of course, you can substitute the word “wife” with any number of terms, depending on your situation. No matter what type of partnership, sexual background, race, creed, or age you are, we all want the same thing: a happy, quiet baby that won’t bug us. If that means doling out thousands of dollars, and going without yet another new Xbox, or making do with the last, stupid version of the iPhone, so be it.