Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Are You Raising A Perfect Child?

I found the funniest article in the Wired magazine yesterday. I tried to find it on their website, but they didn’t post it there, so I’ll just have to quote a lot. © Wired magazine, June 2005, all rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Pages 52-53, in case anyone’s interested. I do suspect the article is just a little tongue-in-cheek, though.

But look at this:

“… today it costs some $179,000 to support junior from birth to age 18. But what if you want to rear the perfect progeny, a kid who’s genetically prime, privately schooled, and poised to become a master of the universe That’ll run you four times as much – about $800,000 – if you count every supplement, activity, and advantage you want to provide your future world leader…”

Are you with me so far?

In the article, there is a list of required expenses, broken down by age group. To be honest, I was surprised to see what a large portion of the list we have covered with I12 and K9. Only, of course, we got much better deals. Here we go. I’ll add my comments to the list. The list goes up to 17 years of age, but, since my oldest is twelve, I will only go that far (because I’m getting tired of all the typing).

Early years – ages 0-4

Fertility treatment/assisted reproduction - $35,000

Mr. Goldie was generous enough that he agreed to assist me for free in the reproduction process. Twice. Not counting all the test runs – you know, making sure the equipment works properly, that sort of thing.
Prenatal genetic testing - $2,000
You mean the ultrasound… right?
Stem cell banking - $3,550
Bilingual nanny – two years - $84,000
What, only one bilingual nanny? We had two. Meet my parents!
Baby yoga - $3,120
Does that count if you pick your 5-month-old up under his arms, set him on a flat surface, and he walks around with your support… and walks… and walks… ow, my back!
Baby sign language - $1,500
We opted for Basic Electronic Training instead. By age 2, I12 was able to operate a screwdriver, pliers and a few more electronic tools. At age 4, he took apart two old TVs. Alone. Tutor: Mr. Goldie. Cost: free of charge, plus it kept I12 busy.
Preschool – two years - $38,400
Ours accepted Welfare Day Care vouchers. $60/month.
Basic needs (shelter, organic food, medical care, etc.) - $52,306

Elementary school – ages 5-11

Private Chinese-immersion school (7 years) - $113,150

Public school that has kids from all parts of the world – how’s that sound?
After-school learning center (4 years) - $3,600
We tried it, and it sucked so bad that we decided to stick with the bilingual nanny.
Social-skills coach (1 year) - $4,000
Again, only one? Sheesh. We had two, and not just for one, but for several years. One is called “your sibling”; the other one, “elementary-school playground”. Both work like a charm!
Music lessons (7 years) - $10,500
Art classes (4 years) - $3,200

We substituted the above two by advanced electronics and programming lessons (for I12) and basketball league/swim team (for K9). You have to be flexible, you know.
Summer day camp (3 years) - $9,840
Ours is $500 for nine weeks. Wait, they raised their prices. It’s $600 now.
Science camp (1 year) - $1,285
Hey, we actually did send I12 to Camp Invention when he was little! $180/week.
Growth hormones (2 years) - $20,000
Basic needs - $75,148

Junior High - ages 12-13

Private Chinese-immersion school (2 years) - $33,550
Private tutor (2 years) - $10,920

Haha… that would be me!
Individual SSAT/ISEE prep - $2,299
That would be me again. Yes, I actually prepped I12 for ISEE when he was in fifth grade. Took us about two months and a lot of work. The cost of the class was about $30 – that’s what I paid for “Cracking the ISEE” book. He did great! Remind me to tell you sometime later why we did it.
Tennis lessons (1 year) - $7,500
My son says sport is a waste of time. So Ha.
Music lessons (2 years) - $3,000
I12 and music instruments can be a dangerous combination. Skip.
Horseback-riding lessons (1 year) - $1,770
He actually rode a horse once, and did great. Remind me to do it again with him sometime.
Cybercamp (2 years) - $5,912
Now this is amazing coincidence… we actually did send I12 to a computer camp for two weeks when he was ten. He got a scholarship. It still cost us an arm and a leg. But definitely not two thousand dollars. But he got a free subscription to Scientific American as an award.
Chess camp (2 year) - $1,438
I say, lock him in a room with his Grandpa, don’t let him out till he learns how to play chess, and count that as a chess camp. In fact, he can play a little. We must have already done it. Remind me to ask Grandpa.
Growth hormones (2 years) - $40,000
5’10”… size 13 shoes… what growth hormones? Skip.
Orthodontics - $5,000
Perfect teeth, thank God! Skip skip skip.
Basic needs - $22,808

So, what do you think? Am I raising two future world leaders? Are you? Is this list completely out of whack? Isn't it the family name and connections that eventually determine who's to become "the master of the universe"? If so, doesn't that make the list useless? Do rich people really do all that and pay these prices? If yes, why?

The Goldie has spoken at 1:39 PM

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