Archive for September 4, 2014

Babies and Budgets

SwampDaughter got home from work last night as the aroma of roasting chicken filled the air. “My check was deposited a day early; want to ride with me to Walmart to pick up some diapers and formula?”

“Dinner is almost ready, so I can probably go!” I answered. She had mentioned that morning that, if her check was in today, she needed to go. The kids had already done their homework, reading, and taken their baths.  They were good to go. Mommy just needed to sign their behavior reports and look over the notes and corrected work that had come home from school.

Dylan, the eight-year-old second grader, had bombed a language arts test because he hadn’t used a cedilla under his digraphs. Mommy and I looked at the test in perplexity.  He HAD answered the questions correctly, his spelling was perfect, but he forgot to put the cedilla. Every language arts test in his grade has multiple proofreader marks that must be used correctly, or the answer is wrong.

“What is up with this?” Mommy said.  “Granted, when I was in school, I did not see the need for algebra, yet now I use it daily in my job.  But this? What possible use could this be?”

“I think it’s called ‘creating employment for English majors through common core standards'”, I answered.  I have never, in my long and varied work history, had occasion to even know what a cedilla was, let alone the proper usage. I believe that he will see this multiple times in the future on standardized tests (sigh), so we had better make sure he uses same. I briefly pondered whether our news anchors and local journalists know about the cedilla.  Would knowing minutiae about diacritical marks help them to write (or read) news stories without sounding like 13-year-old girls with PMS? If so, they need to be put into diacritical re-education classes immediately.

After dinner, we headed to Wal-Mart for said formulas, diapers, wipies, and assorted baby paraphernalia. $150-some dollars later, we headed home.  Daughter looked over her bill in disbelief. “I got paid a day early, and I’m completely broke again!” she wailed.

“Well, that was a month’s worth of formula and diapers, right?” I asked.

“No, that was a WEEK’s worth of formula, maybe ten days. The diapers and wipies might last three weeks.”

DAMN! “Maybe we should consider cloth diapers….”

“I REALLY can’t afford those!”

Well. Maybe we can look into the cost of buying cloth for making diapers over the weekend. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about the formula. They are shorthanded at Mommy’s job, so she barely gets to eat her lunch, let alone having a full 20 minutes at lunch in order to pump milk. Her milk supply is drying up.

Babies really are expensive.

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