Think your kid is going through a destructive-little-monster phase? Well, it could (probably) be worse! You could be rearing a young Calvin, who wreaked a lot of havoc with his pal Hobbes over the ten-year duration of Bill Watterson's classic comic strip.
According to Matt Michel, editor of the Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science, a half-satirical, half-serious-but-also-a-little-bit-jokey scientific journal, the perpetual six-year-old racked up $15,955.50 in damage from 1985 to 1995. That comes out to $1,850.55 per year.
Michel points out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates raising a child to age 17 costs between $226,000 and $265,000 for a middle-income family. That's inclusive of housing, food, clothing, transportation and more -- but not physical damage caused by tiny hands. Presenting Calvin as the "worst-case scenario," Michel flipped through every single published Watterson strip, tallying numbers from "explicit depiction or mention of physical damage." Costs were estimated assuming Calvin's home existed in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where Watterson lived for decades.
Calvin's most destructive months were January, February and August, caused mainly by flooding parts of the house. Michel postulates this may have been due to a return to school (which Calvin despised) after extended breaks. However, as the chart above illustrates, he seemed to get less destructive over time -- comforting news to those who do have a mischievous child under their roof.
Nevertheless, the author leaves readers some sage words of advice on raising a tiny horror.
"If you believe your child does more than $1,850.55 in damage annually," he wrote, "then you may want to consider professional help, alternative forms of punishment, or, at the very least, take away their stuffed tiger."