Got Kids?

Feb 11, 09 Got Kids?
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I am the proud single mommy of a 7 y/o boy, J. I shoulder the costs of sneakers, allergy shots, dental fillings, afterschool care, haircuts, uniforms, books, pop tarts, 2% milk and Disney/Pixar movies with the latest talking animals.

J is at the age where exposure is key. As I learn more about his interests, I further adjust my budget in order to engage them. When J developed an apathetic attitude towards tae kwon do after 2 years, I deleted that line item from my budget spreadsheet.

My investment had already appreciated in the forms of discipline and focus. And although I’d miss how cute he looked in his gi, the funds should be allocated to an activity that he actually enjoyed.

The new activity: tee-ball. Even as I’ve witnessed his running from 3rd base to the dugout (perhaps he felt as if the “run” was inevitable), I knew he’d found his niche. I live for the games when both teams chase after a free ball or when the players practice impressive slides into home plate without ANY threat of not scoring in sight.

I have also found, within these 7 years, that J thrives off of “right brain” activity…much like me. Drawing, building, performing parachuting experiments with paper men and plastic shopping bags, and his new extracurricular drama class (another line item) actually win over episodes of Sponge Bob. Tough competition, you say? I wondered how I could further cultivate this interest without my budget absorbing a major blow.

During my daily Google, I discovered free parent-child art classes at the local visual arts center. You just can’t beat FREE in almost any situation. Last Saturday morning, J (enticed by the knitted monster toy strategically-placed near the sign-up sheet) chose knitting as his first class.

Amongst all of the subjects to choose from, I was shocked. But once he realized that we wouldn’t actually make that project, his level of interest headed in the same direction as my 401K.

His knitting needles became drumsticks, his bright red yarn rolled across the floor in chaotic patterns, and his attention diverted to the odd machines around the room. Needless to say, we’ll be attempting batik next Saturday but I DID come away with a neat knit stitch technique…my spring line of shrugs coming soon. You just can’t beat FREE classes and granola bars, whatever the outcome.

Afterwards, we went letterboxing with friends at a local park. We walked around for an hour but couldn’t find the box. However, J has a homing device that detects other same-aged children and monkey bars. To the playground, we went. I noticed that when he reached the exit of the spiral tube slide, he would roll around in the sand for dramatic effect, akin to his friends’ well-timed, home plate one-legged, toe taps.

As he called out to me, with sand in his hair and a grin from ear to ear, I reluctantly joined him. Before I knew it, I was performing kamikaze slides down the tube and tumbling in the sand with the rest of the playground thespians. In my unbiased opinion, I had THE best landings and will accept my Oscar unabashedly.

In the end, I’d actually received much more than anticipated…for free, no less. My time is often spent monitoring investments, massaging spreadsheets, bellyaching over the housing market, and wondering if The Prez is going to call another office-wide meeting.

Methods of decompression have often fallen by the wayside. But certainly, stress release needs its own line item. Can you imagine a better way than getting a little sand in your hair? After all, a child’s spirit is recession-proof.

S. TAE

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for so poignantly reminding us that this recession is not merely about dollars and cents. I am sure that many people will find inspiration in the clever ways you circumvent tougher economic conditions.

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