Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are some 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 beanbag down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After about 7 months, practice rising from a sitting position with your husband on your lap. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans. Check out your figure in a full length mirror.
Men: Go to the supermarket, drug store, children's clothing store and toy store. Arrange to have your salary paid equally and directly to their headquarters. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it in peace 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, appealingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run wild. 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, until 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 3 years.
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, first smear Peanut Butter on the sofa and jelly on the curtains. Hide a fish sandwich behind the CD 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?