I never would have thought that the baby would be so inexpensive. Really. Unless you have one of the those high-end models with the silver spoon in the mouth, babies come relatively cheap. Think about it for a second. If you are fortunate enough to have generous family and friends, you don't have to pay for a wardrobe or any big-ticket items for what appears to be about a year. She has a seemingly never-ending supply of free food that puts the all-you-can-eat buffet to shame. And she finds amusement in the simplest and most innocent things.
All we really spend money on is take-out, since we've put cooking on the back burner. Pun intended. While we might be saving tons of money on baby necessities, we are spending a lot on the accessories. We may not need to spend money on Penelope, but we're doing it anyway.
The Short Hills Mall used to be our favorite destination. We'd buy so much my debit card would have skid marks on it. My wallet would be smoking, and hot to the touch. Thanks to my wife's status as Prime Minister of the Banana Republic, we also enjoyed very healthy diplomatic relations with the nice folks over at J. Crew. Why else would I dare to walk around wearing those bright orange pants? Pride in my alma mater? A little. But, mostly, diplomacy. And they were on sale. That's why I have the yellow pair too.
But we had one favorite store, and it didn't sell clothing. It called us like a ship to shore. Both of us would get giddy when we knew we were approaching it. This was at the height of our Halloween parties. When we just had to have jack-o-lanterns and glow-in-the-dark witch's cauldrons and haunted houses. This magical shop was something out of Hogwarts. Its name was as mystical as what was inside: Illuminations. That's right. I got pumped up to go to a candle store. I am very comfortable in my metrosexuality.
Then we directed our financial focus to the dog. Anything and everything. You name it, we bought it. I didn't think it was possible to drop $500 at a pet store! That's just gross! But that is exactly what we did. Designer bags to carry her around in. And the clothing! More sweaters than Cliff Huxtable. Don't forget the rain slicker and the winter jacket. And the $30 worth of treats, because 'she's such a good girl.' And you can't leave without getting her a toy. Come on. She loves that fuzzy little thing that looks like a sperm! How could we resist?
That has all changed now. The dog has been spoiled, yet we've managed to ween our spending habits at the pet shop. And sadly, Illuminations has shut down. Now, however, we have fallen into the seductive clutches of another monetary mistress.
We can't go into Babies 'R Us without dropping at least $150 at a time. It's ridiculous. But if you ask my wife, we're buying all stuff that we need. I must admit, I am guilty as well. A few weeks ago I insisted on getting her a little Jets cheerleading outfit. That same trip, my wife had chosen four, yes four, outfits for Easter. Who is she, Diana Ross with all of these wardrobe changes? It's really amazing. We go to that store to get diapers, because we have coupons! Our intention is to save money, but we spend it like it's our last day on earth.
And why not? We can't spoil her yet. We might as well enjoy it while we can, because there will come a time where we have to start saying "no" to this little girl. And she's going to have to deal with it. So are we.