Brad and Betty came over with the baby the other night and, despite havin’ two parents who look like that (God love them, it’s a sin) it turns out the little fella’s actually pretty cute so far. He’s as round as he is long and he just laughs and spits and burps all day.
Anyways, we’re all there goo-gooin’ at him at the kitchen table, playin’ peek-a-boo and everything else, when Betty says – And was I ever surprised the other day when I opened the mail and our first baby bonus cheque was there!
Your first what now? I says.
Well, Minnie said. They don’t call it the baby bonus anymore. Nowadays it’s the child tax benefit, but yeah, you’ll start gettin’ those.
I leaned over in my chair and looked in the livin’ room where Little Bill had Rosie in a headlock and she was whackin’ him in the kidneys with the remote control.
Wait a minute now, I says. We got two little monkeys right in there, so how come we don’t get a cheque – or, wait – TWO cheques every month?
Minnie rolled her eyes and her and Betty started laughin’ at me.
Billy, you’re not serious, she says.
I am, I says. First thing Monday mornin’ I’m gonna get on the horn to somebody and god help them, I’m gonna say where’s our cheques at? Send them now, buddy, or I’ll string yis up by yer –
We do get a cheque for them, Minnie says.
I couldn’t believe my ears.
What?! I says. How long has this been goin’ on?
Only since they were born, Minnie says. Though the government might as well send it directly to the grocery store, because that’s where all the money goes anyway.
Groceries! I say. Imagine! We get free money every month and it gets spent on groceries!
Imagine, Minnie says. Feedin’ your kids. Isn’t that awful.
Now see, this is where me and Minine got different ideas about things. I say if you get free money – whether you win $10 on a ticket, or somebody gives you a $20 in a birthday card – you should always spend that money on things ya want instead of things ya need. Minnie always says ya gotta get your priorities straight and if you got extra money you should use it to make sure ya got the most important things first. But if ya live like that, sure ya might have food in your fridge, but how will ya ever buy one of them 20-in-1 tools with a flashlight on the end that comes with its own belt holster? Or a beer glass with Super Dave Osborne on it? Or tiger print seat covers for the truck?
I know what we gotta do, I says to her. We gotta have another kid.
Oh! Betty chimes in. Wouldn’t that be somethin’! The baby would have someone his own age in the family!
Are you off your rocker, or what? Minnie says.
Well think about it, I says. If we had a new baby, that means we’d start gettin’ a whole new cheque. You’re always askin’ me where we’re gonna get money for stuff. I say let’s have a new baby and let him start pullin’ his weight around here.
Babies cost a helluva lot more than the little cheque they send ya, she said. Think of how much money we dish out for the two we already got.
OK, I said. Last week, Rosie needed new sneakers for gym class, right? Well babies don’t wear sneakers, so we’d be savin’ money there. Little Bill wanted $20 so he could get new strings for his guitar. But babies don’t got guitars, so we’d be savin’ money there. Rosie needed $10 for that class trip, right? But babies don’t go to school, so we’d be savin’ money there. Bill’s always askin’ for money to go to the dance, right? But babies don’t dance, so we’d be savin’ money there. If anything, I’d say we need to have another baby to afford the two kids we got.
Betty laughs and says, Oh! But Nicholas dances! Show them your movies, buddy! And she holds him up so he can do a little stepdance on the placemat.
Good for you, buddy! I said to him. Don’t cost ya nothin’ to dance on the table, does it, pal? Aunt Minnie should have a little cousin for you to play with, shouldn’t she?
It’d be a lot of work for yis! Brad chimes in.
Tuh! Minnie says, makin’ that noise where she clicks her tongue. Wouldn’t be any more work for Billy, that’s for sure!
Hey, I said. I told ya right from when the kids were small, when it comes to changin’ diapers, or babies spittin’ up or anything like that, I got an awful weak stomach, and I just can’t do it the way you can. Awful thing, to have a weak stomach like that, I say. I see anything like that, and I get sick right away.
And Minnie says that’s awful convenient, and she starts askin’ how come I don’t get grossed out by them operation shows on TV, or the ninja movies where they rip each other’s eyes out and stuff like that.
And just as I’m about to explain it to her, little Nicholas stops his step-dancin’ and shoots a puddle of baby puke all over my arm.
Well cripes, as soon as I realized what happened, I could feel myself gettin’ sick. I clamped my hand over my mouth and bolted into the livin’ room so I could run upstairs to the bathroom.
Uh-oh Minnie, I can hear Brad say behind me. Judgin’ by the way he flew up them stairs, either he’s gettin’ sick or he’s serious about gettin’ started on that baby-makin’.