CHOCOLATE. Someone to do the ironing. A vat of Infacol. Just a few of the things I'd have been better spending my child benefit on than the stuff I anxiously bought my perfect firstborn (baby massage sessions to cure the colic, which he greeted with outrage; a stupidly complicated stairgate that never got built because we lost the instructions). But spend it on someone else's children? That sure divides the sheep from the goats.
This week the Liberal Democrats voted pointedly at their conference to keep child benefit universal - paid to anyone regardless of income. Their leader, on the other hand, said he and his lawyer wife Miriam don't really need it. Which suggests the Treasury is still considering whether (and how) to slash the child benefit bill for the Bugaboo-pushing classes.
One sees their point. I can't pretend I need £80 a month as much as single mothers facing swingeing welfare cuts or families clinging on with their fingernails. Why not tax it, or take it away from me?
The trouble is it's not so easy. Child benefit goes to mothers, and in Britain, couples are assessed separately for tax. So scrap it for higher rate taxpaying mothers, and the non-working Wag of a squillionaire footballer keeps it while a nursing sister whose husband is out of work could lose out.
You could find a way round that. But it might mean breaching the principle that the money always goes to mothers - repeatedly proven to be the best way of it reaching children, particularly in families where an abusive man holds the purse strings.
Or you could stop child benefit for over-16s still in education, which is largely a middle class perk (the poorest children tend to leave straight after GCSEs, so don't get child benefit any more). But for those kids from deprived backgrounds who do consider sixthform, it could be a powerful deterrent.
The Labour MP-turned-welfare-czar Frank Field's idea is interesting: scrap child benefit for older kids and pay a big lump sum in the preschool years, enough to make a serious dent in childcare costs or subsidise working mothers going part time. But it doesn't really save money upfront, so it probably won't happen.
We'll see what the Treasury does next month. But if it ducks reform, were I a coalition of children's charities I'd be tempted to exploit that liberal guilt and politely invite wealthier parents (starting, perhaps, with the Clegg-Gonzalezes?) to donate what they might have been taxed to a fund supporting poorer families through the recession. How terribly Big Society.