A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

By Nina Pajak

It looks like either my daughter is going to have to settle for being an only child, or my husband and I are going to have to work until we’re 90 before we live out our retirement dreams. Because according to new research from the USDA (yes, that USDA, and I don’t get it either), raising a child costs the average married, middle income American couple around $245,000 from birth through age 17. That means before college. I assume once you factor in higher education, that number becomes something closer to $7 or $8 blazillion, give or take. You know, depending on which university your kid attends and whether you attempt to do the math on the potential return on investment from his or her dual degree in English and “Mass Media.”

So, if we were to have another baby, we should anticipate forking over an easy half mill before the kids are even old enough to vote, let alone pay their own rent. And at the rate I’ve been going with all the extremely necessary developmental toys, environmentally-friendly sippy cups, organic produce, and super adorable tiny little dresses, I’d hazard to say we’re already overshooting that estimate. If we have a boy next, I hope he’ll be born with an appreciation for purple glitter and floral prints.

Fortunately, I’ve recently been made aware of a burgeoning, high-profit industry: stolen Lego trafficking. A Lego theft ring was just broken up out in Phoenix, AZ, which was in possession of around $200,000 worth of merchandise. And a seemingly unrelated Long Island woman is out on bail after having been arrested for stealing nearly $60,000 of Legos. Honestly, when I first read that last headline, I had a brief and glorious moment in which I imagined a brilliant, misunderstood woman, driven by creative passion and the obsessive desire to build. After arranging a dangerous, meticulously-planned heist, she spent the next three weeks in an empty warehouse constructing the Lego palace which she’d been painstakingly designing in her mind for a decade. There, atop the ornate, architecturally-sound turret swirling in primary colors, did she sit and wait for the FBI team who’d been tracking her to finally bust down her door. Tearing apart brick by tiny brick, they made her way towards her. She watched her masterpiece crumble around her, faced a future of incarceration, yet she did not move. She did not care what happened next. She’d done what she needed to do, and some part of her knew it could not last. Therein lies the treacherous, dark beauty which fills the hearts of all those who dare to love the Lego.

Actually, she allegedly stole a bunch of Lego sets from a commercial storage facility and then fenced them on eBay. There is no romance in this world. When we help our kids launch their own international Lego theft ring, we’ll make sure they do it with a bit more dignity. Insert blue Lego brick Heisenberg joke. Laugh. Okay fine, chuckle noiselessly.

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!

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