Micro-Sized Birthday Budget

Recently we celebrated my second son's 11th birthday. Of all the things he could ask for, including a pony, he requested, no--he desired, yenned for, would only be happy with one thing: a laptop.

My first reaction was that this was way out of the birthday budget and thus crushed his hopes and dreams by telling him to think of something else. Well, he couldn't. Only a laptop would do. Butthead.

Being the wonderful, gracious mother that I ultimately am, I decided to do some research. We found a local store that held some promise in the form of less expensive laptops. Off we went.
The whole way to the store I was thinking: Why don't they prepare you for this in high school during Health Education or Home Economics when they discuss sex? Surely, the possibility of having to spend hundreds of hard-earned dollars on a child for his birthday might convince one couple to use a condom prior to getting it on. I am sure that at least one woman immediately refilled her birth control prescription after seeing my chaotic gang of 5 kids at the store.

So there we were shopping, feeling a bit disappointed as most of the laptops were at least the cost of one whole paycheck. I went from feeling saddened to feeling mad at the child. What the hell was he thinking? There has been no precedent in this family that would demonstrate that several hundred dollars was an acceptable birthday budget. Why didn't he just ask for a space shuttle while he was at it? Go big or go home 'lil fellow!

We did ultimately find a laptop we could afford, but not before I considered a whole new laptop specimen: the Netbook. It looked like a computer for hobbits. Seriously, who can work on something so small? If bought that for my son, and it did cross my mind since it did cost considerably less, he would end up spending hours hunched over it. Soon he'd be complaining of neck and headaches like a stressed out, middle-aged, white-collar drone. I'd hate to rush his future for him.

Besides this netbook, plus his other "micro" sized electronics would surely have some detriment on his posture. The shrinking size of our children's electronics is such that when you combine the effects of handheld video games, text messaging and the use of a netbook (and some laptops as well) we will be raising a generation of hunchbacks.

We opted for a laptop and I was in shock the whole way home. The only way I could get myself to chill was to tell myself that if he didn't treat it properly or use it regularly I would be well within my rights to confiscate it. I mean, what's he going to do? Run after me? Last time I checked I could out run a hunch-backed hobbit.


  1. You must thank your lucky stars. My daughter took a pony ride on her sixth birthday, and literally thousands of dollars, four horses and twenty years later, she is self supporting. Don't let him anywhere NEAR a barn!

  2. Oh, the things we go through for our munchkins. I have a techie husband so the kids were born with gadgets in their hands. I am hoping all this exposure to technology will lead to lucrative jobs that will enable them to support us in our old age.


  3. But this is good? Now (I'm guessing) you won't have to share your computer on laptop with him! :)

    It's always something, isn't it? My 7yo wants a Nintendo DS. But with all the other stuff she has, so far it's a no.

  4. Yep, got the laptop. But my guy is 19, so he only does mature things with it that are essential for his education. Like watching Japanese cartoons and You Tube videos of himself playing Pokemon.

  5. Nice piece! We have quite a few laptops in my house since my husband is in the computer biz and can sometimes get them for a cheaper price.

    But I can totally relate to the birthday gift requests. I think when I was a kid all we got was maybe a new record album. $3.50 back then.

  6. See, I could never do that. There's the "precedent factor" to consider, at least around here. :D If bought one a laptop, then it wouldn't be fair to not get the other a laptop or something of equal or greater value. LOL!


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