How do you advise non-parents on how to get ready 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.
1. Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a
dressing gown and stick a beanbag-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 pharmacy, 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.
2. 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 behavior. Enjoy it --
it'll be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.
3. 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.
4. Can you stand the mess children make? To
find out, first 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 flowerbeds then rub them on
the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
5. 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.
6. 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
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 have just qualified for a place on the playgroup committee.
7. 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.
8. 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 neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into
You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a
9. Always repeat everything you say at least
10. 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
11. 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 Weetabix 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.
12. 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.
1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any
6. If I'm doing or building something, all of the pieces
7. If it looks just like mine, it's mine.
8. If I think it's mine, it's mine.
9. If its worthless and I've never payed it any attention
but someone else shows interest, it's mine.
10. If its slightly valuable and breakable, it's mine;
and now broken.
An FYI Guide. How to Identify the Driver's
One hand on wheel, one hand on horn: New York
One hand on wheel, one finger out window: Chicago
One hand on wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator:
One hand on wheel, one hand in pants, cradling cell phone in lap,
brick on accelerator: California*
* with gun also in lap: L.A.
Both hands on top of wheel, one foot on brake, watching pedestrians
cross against the light: San Francisco
One hand on the wheel, one hand drumming (with drum stick) on
the dash board, left foot tapping, right foot on the accelerator,
head bobbing from side to side: Silicon Valley, listening to
Both hands on wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering
in terror: Ohio, but driving in Boston.
Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned
to talk to someone in back seat: Italy
One hand on Latte', one knee on wheel, cradling cell phone in
lap, foot on brake, mind on Win95 GUI: Seattle
Both hands on steering wheel in a relaxed posture, eyes constantly
checking the rear-view mirror to watch for visible emissions from
their own or another's car: Colorado
One hand on steering wheel, yelling obscenities, the other hand
waving a gun out the window and firing repeatedly, keeping a careful
eye out for landmarks along the way so as to be able to come back
and pick up any bullets that didn't hit other motorists so as not
to litter: Colorado resident on spotting a car with New York
- A woman is suing the pharmacy that sold her a popular contraceptive
jelly - because she ate the stuff on toast and got pregnant anyway.
And, incredibly, many legal experts are saying she's got an excellent
chance of collecting!
"The woman is a complete idiot," said one attorney who asked that
we not use his name. "How bright can you be if you think eating
a vaginal gel will prevent conception?
"But certain aspects of the case involve truth in labeling and
false advertising issues. She may not collect but she'll make a
lot of noise and trouble. People are down on lawyers anyway. They
think we waste time and money on frivolous lawsuits. This isn't
going to help our public relations any."
A spokesman for the unnamed mom-and-pop drugstore says he's shocked
and angry that such a case could ever be taken seriously. "All she
has to do is open the box and read the directions," says the spokesman.
"Next thing you know someone will come after us because they couldn't
stick things together with their toothpaste.
"I can just imagine some moron saying: 'It's paste, isn't it?
Why can't I glue these papers onto my bulletin board?' "
But attorneys for Mrs. Chyton say she was swindled and lied to
by implication and they intend to make the pharmacy pay $500,000
for the hardship the woman will have to endure.
"It says right on it 'jelly,'" says Mrs. Chyton, a former model
who was once a cheerleader for a popular professional basketball
"And they kept it on the shelf just two aisles from the food section.
I know, now, that the directions say it should be used vaginally
with a condom.
"But who has time to sit around reading directions these days
- especially when you're sexually aroused?
"The company should call it something else and the pharmacy shouldn't
sell it without telling each and every customer who buys it that
eating it won't prevent you from getting pregnant."
As bizarre as it sounds, the pharmacy could wind up losing the
"It's hard for businesses to avoid troublesome lawsuits," said
"With the courts bending over backwards to please consumer groups,
the temper of the times is perfect for these crackpots to bring
legal action against businesses - even a moronic legal action like