Most of the time the "Why We Can't Have Nice Things" aspect of having children is a bit of a bummer. There's an entire tumblr devoted to "Shit My Kids Ruined." If you haven't visited it, I strongly recommend its therapeutic and healing benefits. After seeing the pictures of mayhem, I definitely felt better about the time 9 year old Elly thought the refrigerator door would make a great jungle gym. She swung back and forth on it for god knows how long while I was tucking in her brother, and the door never shut right after that. But after looking at the "Sh*t My Kids Ruined" site, I felt better. My offspring are not the only forces of random, well-meaning destruction in the world.
So we know that we can't have nice things because children destroy them, but today I'd like to take a moment to ponder the cash they save us because of the nice things we want but cannot have because of youthful phobias. Children are risk-takers, yes. They do not understand the world and its dangers. But I have yet to meet a child that doesn't also have some bizarre terror of relatively harmless objects, and I'd like to praise the dollar-saving potential of those fears.
It's on my mind a lot at this time of the year, because of my son's undying hatred and fear of all (non-candy related) Halloween. It speaks to the tenacity of his sweet tooth that he will trick or treat for candy while loathing Halloween with all his might. I lay the blame on a preschool teacher who decided that the best way to introduce toddlers to Halloween was to terrorize them. Regardless, Paul's feelings about Halloween are long-standing. He would love to see a holiday that provided him with candy and pumpkins, but that omitted the skulls, the blood, the witches, the ghosts, and the spider webs.
Meanwhile, in the last eight years, the Halloween vendors have upped their game. Even going to the grocery store for milk, I come upon all kinds of spectacular Halloween decorations that could turn my home into a veritable orange, black, and silver paradise. Those things cannot be mine because I am not in the business of terrorizing my offspring. Think of the twenties of dollars I could potentially have spent on glittery skulls! Thank you, Paul. We will put that into your college fund... or our nursing home fund... one or the other. Or since I'm at the grocery store looking at the glitter skulls, I'll go ahead and pick up milk and yogurt.
So in the grand accounting of "Why We Can't Have Nice Things," I will have to replace my couch cover sooner rather than later because of the persistent sneaking (and therefore, spilling) of yogurt and milk on the sofa. BUT I can pay for the couch cover with the money I've saved by refraining from all Halloween decorating.
I have successfully bought and used two Halloween tea towels this year, so it may be that the child needs to develop a new phobia for next year in order to keep this fiscal ship afloat. Maybe a fear of milk and yogurt?