At what age should you start planning for your kid’s future?

The only legit topic of conversation at parties any more, as anyone over 13 knows, is whose kid is going where. “Your son’s gone Psycho? How lucky! Mine is still trying.” It’s application season! Colleges, cut-offs, fees, grades, predictive scores… But sadly, as your 13-year-old will find out — he’s too late already!

To get into a uni of any stature (except Kembridge at Crawford Market), you’ve got to start younger.

High school used to petrify parents, what with the risk of smoking and drugs. Nightmares that pale before this one: What if he gets a B? Especially after all those bleed-him-dry tuitions.

Your kid should appear on TV winning the spelling bee, be a math genius, a master chef, and have taken ample selfies on his trip to NASA. He should have at least two start-ups and speak five languages, while teaching the underprivileged in three (Whatever did the
toddlers do without French all this while?)

Which comes to the critical bit. Social service! Every pre-teen turns passionate about some cause, the way they used to sprout pimples. Yours should be rampaging around, collecting cashmere sweaters for flood victims, playing violin in Homes for the Elderly (which they don’t mind if they’re deaf enough), knocking down doors to raise funds for a cowshed. Ah, nothing adorns an application more than a heart of gold (which he can abandon straight after he gets admission).

The real stars start even earlier. Vedic Math classes before he can count the two candles on his cake. Contemporary dance (a scam no one has cracked yet) and chess classes. And a suitably expensive sport! Golf, preferably, or rowing (train him in the bathtub).

Actually, start when he’s born. Make sure your tutors are on standby. He will first be thrown into an Olympic swimming pool, be taught to cry by a Bollywood film coach, to gurgle in specified octaves for Carnatic voice training, not to forget teaching him to wiggle his fingers in the Fibonacci sequence.

Or hey — even when you’re pregnant. Your baby can hear! Strap a speaker onto your belly, and blast Mozart concertos alternated with Dostoyevsky’s audiobooks. Shove almonds (for brain power) straight down the umbilical cord. Order Calculus-printed wallpaper to cover the nursery, with the periodic table on the ceiling.

Your baby is kicking. Engage a Premier League coach to make him kick like a multimillion dollar footballer. The last scan showed he’s prematurely bald already, calculate his forehead to fix his optional career path as space scientist, so you can apply for the early learning program at Oxbridge.

But why wait till you’re pregnant? Plan it. Consult tony school calendars about which month your baby should pop out, consult numerologists about which date stacks up to make him rich and famous. Ah, now you’ve cracked the system. A little earlier even — before you’re even married, when you’re looking out for that perfect partner so you can both produce a batch of super genes. Start looking, let’s say — when you’re 13 yourself?

Where Jane De Suza, the author ofHappily Never After,talks about the week’s quirks, quacks and hacks.

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