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11:44 a.m. - January 11, 2006
One Can - $30 - and I Can't Drink It
Ah, kids!

You love them to death, but they are expensive little buggers.

(Adoption costs notwithstanding – thanks to tax laws a lot of that cost is tax deductible. For once, the US Congress has done something right!)

Katie has dance class, with all of its apparel and accoutrements, Montessori school and its trappings, soccer coming up in the summer, Hello Kitty hair clips, and just the general needs of a four year old that is now becoming aware of material things and television ads.

(Liz cried herself to sleep the other night when she realized that Katie could sing the McDonalds “I’m Loving It” tagline with the ba-da-bas and all. It was a tragic day at the Smed household. Though Katie still calls it “Old McDonalds”, so there’s that.)

I am waiting for the fashion sense to kick in around the time she’s in elementary, with weekly trips to Lafayette to the mall and all. I can just picture the money fleeing our bank account now.

Then there’s Kristin. She’s seven months old and now eating peas, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and baby cereal with gusto. Sure, it’s a bit messy, but hey. You can always wash clothes, and clean a kitchen.

Liz and I both have had to remember how Katie ate her solid food. Soon Kristin will be onto fruits, and then we get to try those exotic baby food combinations that seem gross but somehow are yummy to an infant.

She’s also growing, but fortunately we saved a lot of Katie’s baby clothes so there won’t be a big cost surge for new clothes.

However, there is one item in particular that is insanely expensive.

Baby formula.

We buy the good, name brand stuff, and normally buy it at Costco for about $30 a can for a giant size that last about 10 days or so. But we had no time in December to make a run, so we had to buy it at CVS or at Kroger.

They wanted $25 a can for ¾ of the size of the large ones that last just a week or so.

And that’s the powder. Back when Katie was small and Liz worked, we had to buy the liquid as well for Katie’s day care (they didn’t want to mess with mixing the powder). That’s even more expensive.

As I get older, and poorer, I’ve realized that for many items, the store brand is just as good as the name brand. When you’re making chili, for instance, the store brand tomato sauce and tomato paste works just as well, because you’re adding about 13,129 other ingredients in there so who really cares.

There are just a few things I won’t try a store brand for, and one of them is baby formula.

Our first pediatrician recommended our brand (Enfamil) by name when Katie was first born. (That was a funny appointment – we scheduled an appointment with him as a consultation because we knew Katie’s birth mother was about to pop, we just didn’t know when – and Tada! Heeeeeeeere’s Katie!)

(And yes, I put the brand name into the essay for a reason. Hey, Enfamil! You know our address; send us more coupons for that stuff!)

I use store brand diapers, store brand wipes, store brand bottle liners, but not store brand formula.

So we pay the premium.

And it’s not cheap.

I guess there could have been an alternative. Supposedly a woman can pump herself up with hormones, etc. and start to produce milk and breastfeed.

Which makes me wonder how wet nurses did that back in ye olden days before hormones, etc. Did they just steal away someone who was already nursing? C’mere, fair maiden, the queen wants your teats for the royal child!

My crazy SIL actually advocated that, but of course, she’s in La Leche league. She breastfed her kids until the age of four or so. Yikes!

One day I was visiting there and her son, who was two, was hungry so he walked up to her and she just flopped ‘em out and he started suckling away.

I think that’s what drove me to therapy the first time.

Liz wasn’t going to play that hormone game, especially after our fertility dance with that stuff in the past. So we’re stuck with formula.

Not that it isn’t good for Kristin, because it’s exactly what she needs. We use the formula with Lipil, that’s supposed to be good for brain and eye development. It’s also formulated to be like breast milk.

I adore this time with Kristin. She’s almost ready to crawl, she almost has teeth, but she’s laughing and smiling and just a pleasant little baby, with a big, big appetite.

But I look at my wallet, and part of me can’t wait until she’s a year old. Because that’s when our pediatrician has said to stop the formula and start with the whole milk.

I can put that money to better use, like, uh, swimming lessons, or books, or toddler clothes.

I guess it’s not going to be my money again for a long, long time.


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