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Preparing for Parenthood

Preparation is not just reading books and decorating a nursery. Here are some simple tests so want-to-be parents may prepare themselves for the real-life experience.

Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag chair down the front. Leave it there for nine months, then remove 10% of the beans. 

Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local drug store, give the pharmacist your wallet and tell him to help himself. Go to the supermarket and arrange to have your salary paid directly to them. Go home, read the paper for the last time.

Before you have children, berate other parents about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance level, and how they allow their children to run riot. Tell them how to improve their child’s sleeping, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior. Enjoy it because it will be the last time you will have all the answers.

To discover how your nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5 to 10 PM carrying ten pounds of wet sand in a bag. At 10, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and fall asleep. Get up at midnight, walk around the living room again with the bag until 1 AM.  Set your alarm for 3. Since you can’t sleep, get up at 2 and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:30. Get up at 3 when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4. Set the alarm for 5. Get up, make breakfast. Repeat nightly for five years. Look cheerful.

Can you stand the mess? To find out, smear peanut butter on the sofa and jam on the curtains. Hide a fish finger behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

To learn what dressing small children is like, buy an octopus and a string bag. Put the octopus into the string bag so no arm hangs out. Time allowed for this: all morning.

Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet tube. Using only Scotch tape and tin foil, turn it into a Christmas cracker. Last, take a milk container, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Coco Pops and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations. You are now qualified for the playgroup committee.

Sell your sports car and buy a sedan. But don’t think you can leave it out in the driveway, spotless and shining. Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and leave it in the glove compartment.  Stick a quarter in CD player. Mash a packet of chocolate chip cookies into the back seats.  Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.

Before leaving for the evening, wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come in.  Go out. Walk down the front walk. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes. Stop to inspect every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you’ve had as much as you can stand, until the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now nearly ready to take a small child for a walk.

Repeat everything at least five times.

Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child—a fully-grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy oatmeal and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.  Continue until half the oatmeal is gone. Pour the rest onto your lap, then let it drip on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month-old baby.

Learn the names of every character from Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When you find yourself singing “Postman Pat” at work, you are finally qualified to be a parent!