Thursday, August 23, 2012

Having siblings – the joy and (wallet) pain

I have three sisters. Growing up, we had our deal of fun, but honestly due to the age difference between the four of us, it is probably only now that we’re all grown up that we spend time together, and enjoy family dinners more. When I was a younger kid, my two older sisters probably thought I was a “liability” to bring around – and this was how I felt about my younger sis (cos she was 10 years younger than me!)
Nic on the other hand had good childhood memories growing up with his younger sister, as they were only two years apart.
Jay and Xav are three years apart, and it looks like they are going to have truckloads of fun together, especially when Xav is at a more talkative and “interactive” age now, and Jay has realized he has not only gained a younger brother, he has gained a parrot as well.
Now, courtesy of his older brother, Xav has learnt the word “poo-poo.” Sigh.
Twice the fun… and twice the budget.
To many people, the “ideal” number of kids differ from person to person.
  • One kid? That ain’t enough, the kid will be lonely/have some social problem/won’t learn how to share.
  • Two kids? Nice, but hey, isn’t three better? After all, the first two kids are to just reproduce you and hubby, but baby #3 is “real” growth!
  • Two girls? How about a boy to carry on the family name?
  • Two boys? Trying for a girl, I see.
  • Have a boy and a girl? Well, then the gender of the third child won’t really matter.
  • Three kids? Having three and four kids has no difference eh?
You can never please them all. I have honestly lost count how many people have asked us when the “number 3” will be coming. Well, to me, the pregnancy part all the way to the giving birth was easy peasy. Times two.
Then you bring the baby home. And get the hospital bill. And reality sets in.
Both Nic and I earn a pretty decent salary. We stay in a nice house. We eat out pretty often. Oh, but the kids are so expensive. Jay is in a full-time childcare; Xav in my office infantcare but will soon “graduate” to join his brother before the year end. I have a domestic helper who helps me keep the house in a liveable condition. Just the above-mentioned expenses take a HUGE chunk off my take-home income. And then there’s still milk powder, diapers, groceries, electrical bills, enrichment classes etc… And non-essential-but-still-pretty-important expense items like toys and ice-cream treats. Then there are the “other” expenses – and unfortunately, my clothes, online shopping sprees, shoes, and SK-II products fall into this category, alongside my manicures, pedicures and foot massages.
So it is really a matter of ability. Ability to provide the best for the kids. And truth be told, sure we CAN have another kid, but I think the “quality” of our life, while it might be enriched in many ways with the introduction of a third lil’ one, will also eat up in many other areas of our lives.
And so I think it is this very practical reason why we will choose to stop at two. (Disclaimer: Of course if I do have the third kid, we will do our best to give all three kids the best. Cos you never know, ya? Hahaha…) And while I appreciate the Singapore government’s help to want to increase the number of babies… just a one-off kind of Baby Bonus will simply not cut it. Not when I estimate that I will have spent a total of more than $80,000 to send my two boys through CHILDCARE (up to 6 years old). My dad spent about $15,000 to send me through three years of University in Singapore. I think cheaper baby products, and a more significant subsidy when it comes to the foreign domestic worker levy (which now stands at $175 a month for parents) or even tiered childcare subsidies for each subsequent child will be good, as it is not just about a one-off monetary boost, it is about helping with the finances on a more regular basis. 
Well, this is just my rant, and personal wishlist, I guess! Haha!
Have a Talkative Thursday post? Where you can pour out on anything (the antithesis of Wordless Wednesdays, if you will), and feel free to link up!

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