A co-worker just announced that he’ll be a first-time dad in the fall. It took a little searching, but I found my favorite parent preparation e-mail that someone sent to me when I announced that The Boy was on the way. It took some searching, so I’m reposting it here, followed by another similar list that isn’t quite as funny.
Preparing for Parenthood
Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father.
Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a bean bag chair down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans.
Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local drug store, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run riot. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour. Enjoy it-it’ll be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.
To discover how the nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 lbs. At 10pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, till 1am. Put the alarm on for 3am. As you can’t get back to sleep get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish finger behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flower beds then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems: first buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang 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 a piece of foil, turn it into a Christmas cracker. Last, take a milk container, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Cocoa Pops and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations. You have just qualified for a place on the play group committee.
Forget the Miata and buy a Taurus. And don’t think you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a quarter. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family-size packet of chocolate cookies. Mash them down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.
Get ready to go out. Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette end, 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 neighbours come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk. Always repeat everything you say 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 Wheatabix and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half the Weetabix is gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls 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 finally qualify as a parent.
The Jan Andersen Training Course For Parents-to-Be
What the course involves:
Taking away 99% of your salary. The remaining 1% is what you have left to buy food and essential household items, pay the bills and enjoy your leisure time
Having vomit, diahorrea, milk and mucus tossed and wiped over your clean clothes at regular intervals
Sleep deprivation, which includes pacing the floor at one, two, three, four and five in the morning with a sand bag strapped to your chest, whilst listening to the sound of relentless screaming
Wearing clothes that have been soaked in sour milk
Having a leaking urine bag placed in your lap several times a day
Attaching a vacuum cleaner nozzle onto your nipples at least every two hours and switching on. Leave in place for 45 minutes each time. You are now prepared for breastfeeding
Placing food into an electric blender, leaving the lid off and switching on. Keep dropping food into the blender whilst it operates. This gives you a broad idea of what feeding time is like for the first couple of years
Having a small, restless and demanding creature alternately tied to your leg, hip and shoulder 24 hours a day. A Jack Russell Terrier is a good choice of animal for this exercise
A visit to a sewage farm on a hot day. The smell should prepare you for the nappy from hell
Being humiliated in a crowded, public place at least once a day
Being head butted in the nose and mouth and having your eyeballs prodded with a forefinger several times a day
Going to an important social extravaganza with wet hair, one eye made up, a tomato sauce / chocolate / miscellaneous slop stain on your dress and wearing odd shoes
Being denied the opportunity to go unaccompanied to the toilet, take a shower or do anything else that you would normally do alone
Taking a herd of Wildebeest around a shopping centre, then apologising to the store managers and offering to pay for breakages
Having your bed used as a trampoline at the crack of dawn, whilst you are still in it
Bathing a small squid
Trying to place five live eels into a small, cloth bag simultaneously. This demonstrates the dexterity needed to dress a small child
Being asked a series of awkward and embarrassing questions · Sitting in a room full of your friends, relatives and work colleagues whilst a loudspeaker broadcasts all the unflattering things that you have said about them recently, with certain details embellished, exaggerated or changed completely to make it sound as awful as possible. This is what small children do.
Going on a five minute walk that takes two hours because you have to stop and inspect every insect, flower, stone, leaf and dog turd en-route to your destination. Every thirty seconds, turn round and start running in the opposite direction
Attending a school parents’ evening and sitting on tiny chairs that cause your knees to smack you under the chin and then being spoken to in a patronising manner without laughing (or crying)
Admiring a series of children’s paintings without asking, “What is it?”
Throwing all your valuables down the toilet and flushing it. This is another fun game that children play
Putting the plugs in all of the sinks in the house, turning on the taps and running off to do something else
Never leaving the house without taking a small suitcase with you
Being smiled at, laughed at, cuddled and kissed for no particular reason at all
Being told “I love you” when you’re least expecting it
If you manage to endure all of the above, then congratulations, you are ready to become a parent.