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I can't find it right now, but I distinctly remember you posting about BIDA having a similar "kids excluded" policy, I think back when under-5s couldn't be vaccinated. At the time, you said it was no/low cost, and someone in the comments pointed out that the cost was the entire cost of attending the dance. I didn't see an explicit revision to your thinking posted. Can you articulate your revised cost-benefit for under 2s, who can't do basic things like cover a cough or wash their hands after touching their mouth?

Possibly scarier: the federal government and national lab system has not identical, but very similar barriers.

Not wanting your kid to be at minimal age to start school is a totally valid counterargument. Perhaps there's a middle ground - prioritizing the spring for example. 

Had anyone I'd been discussing this with brought up this counterargument I would have had a very different takeaway from the conversation. The point I was trying to make was that even people who are thinking some about the economics of pregnancy and parenthood don't seem to be thinking about it very comprehensively in my experience. 

That said, IIRC from your blogs, 2 of your 3 kids have June-ish birthdays, so I take it your concern about being in the youngest quarter of the year wasn't something important enough to you to actively avoid.

| as you start looking for a house

We've been keeping our eye on houses in our area for several years. If the right one showed up on the market we would likely try to buy. I know people who have spent their entire careers in this state. Maybe it's not the most typical approach, but I don't expect there will be a concentrated 6 month period of "looking for a house" for us.

For a more concrete example, we nearly lost our housing last year on very short notice (<1 month), and so had to secure a new rental. Most rentals require income to be a certain percentage of the rent (often 300%). We would have ended up living in a hotel. 

The idea that you should in other circumstances be able to have while choosing to make lest rings as fairly naive and not based in reality to me.

I think means testing goes in a lot of different directions. You may qualify for housing assistance and your kid may qualify for more financial aid in college, and I don't know that either of those would be questioned. However, my understanding is that court-ordered child/spousal support works differently and is unlikely to be adjusted downward based on a decrease in income, especially in this scenario. 

On the other side of the coin, good luck buying a house.

I agree completely, and yet I am also very convinced that very few people enter parenthood having done rational economic calculations. 

As an example: 

(A) I've seen many folks TTC with an explicit intent to get the entire pregnancy + birth on one year's health insurance deductible, which I'd guess saves $7500 or so on a HDHP versus the worst case of meeting the full deductible in two consecutive years. This often results in a baby born in the fall. 

(B) A summer versus fall baby requires ~10 months less childcare before public school (or combined childcare + private school if you want the really long view), a savings of easily $20,000 five years later assuming $2k/mo in childcare expenses. And the first three months of pregnancy with an unassisted conception are realistically going to cost under $1k for the vast majority of people. 

When I've brought this up with friends and acquaintances considering (A), they often tell me that (B) had not crossed their minds, or that the benefit is simply too far away to think about, or variations on those. 

These are all educated, planning-oriented people, and that is still the level of long-range economic consideration they are giving to having a child. They budget for a crib and later on they open a 529 to save for college, but I do not think that they, let alone all the less-planning-oriented people choosing to enter parenthood, can be considered fully aware of the economic contract they are signing.

What is your current approach if a kid wants to call someone just to talk (say, your dad)? Do you do it for them on your phone? Do they do it on your phone? Is this something that they just don't have interest in doing?

I'm similarly interested in how you are teaching your kid phone skills. Has your kid ever picked up the phone? At what age do you anticipate they will start picking up a phone? 

We are considering getting a land line or a family device in a year or two, not sure which yet.

I'm curious if the ceiling fan is reversible, and if so if you tried it blowing up. That would give you something of a pressurized plenum approach and may more evenly mix the air. 

We also prioritized sleep pretty heavily. Just as a datapoint, here are some of the ways that has looked for us:

  • Both parents get 4+ hour chunks of uninterrupted, "both ears closed" sleep from the time the baby comes home. Mom sets alarms to pump and baby gets bottles of breastmilk when Mom is on her sleep shifts. 
  • As baby got older and more settled, taking dedicated shifts whenever we expect a more difficult night - e.g. switching at 2 AM. Parents sleep in different rooms, baby sleeps in room with on-shift parent, the first minute that parent is awake after 2 AM, they move the baby to the other parent's room. (Sometimes modified to first time they are putting the baby down after 2 AM). On less difficult nights, we did the same thing by switching sides of the bed so that the on-duty parent was close to the baby.
  • From the beginning, each parent getting periodic off duty nights, sleeping in a room with no baby or monitor all night. Mom sets an alarm to pump if she's off duty. Our experience was that waking at a pre-determined time to pump and not having to monitor for or judge baby noises, or know which chunks of sleep would be long versus short, was overall much more restful than getting up to nurse, even if the two took the same amount of time.

We have in general lucked out with our baby being a relatively good sleeper and generally easier than average, but the above has been very important to us as well. 

I'm finding this exchange strangely frustrating. I was trying to ask whether you planned to explicitly exclude children under 2 and/or 5, since my understanding is the local laws would permit an event with them and so your plan in this regard wasn't clear to me from your writeup. I expected there to be either a small additional risk in your analysis from including them or an included cost to not, since then presumably people are paying a sitter (or staying home). I don't have a strong opinion either way on the correct approach. But "I would not personally bring my small child" is not an answer to the question.

I will say that I, personally, have not returned to the dances ~one hour away because they will not permit my <1 year old to enter the building. It's not a principled disagreement, it's just that the cascading impacts mean that it is not worth it to me personally to attend. If my kid were to attend, I wouldn't do a carrier. Various people would trade off sitting out. One venue managed to accommodate this by having a space in a different room (not the one used for dancing) for the kid and the kid-minder, but the main venue that has resumed dancing does not allow entry to the kid under any circumstances. And that's fine! But it means it is not worth it to me to attend. 

I do bring my kid to other indoor places (e.g., shopping, buses) which I understand is not the cultural norm in the Boston area currently.

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