Dear readers, particularly potential and future parents: As you know, my blog is about healthy living practices and information that can improve and maintain your good health but this post may be somewhat different and no less important; although it could be argued that parenthood affects health in more ways than one – for example, you’ll never suffer from as many different varieties of colds combined with fatigue and lack of sleep as in the first few years of being a parent; in addition, the amount of stress and entropy progressively increase.
I’ve read this test for future parents just the other day (almost 4 years too late for me) and found it both very accurate and hilarious at the same time – it’s funny how true these things really are and how challenging day-to-day activities with kids can sometimes be – the test captures some of those challenges in a humorous and precise, realistic way.
“Test For Future Parents” is originally by author Colin Falconer and comprises 14 steps to follow and test your psychological stamina and resilience before you have children and was originally printed in his book ‘A beginners guide to fatherhood’ in 1992 before finding its was on to many parenting blogs, Facebook posts and other places.
I invite you to read it, laugh and then roll up your sleeves and try some of the things, for both good fun and a sneak preview into your future.
TEST 1: Preparation
Women: To prepare for pregnancy
1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.
2. Leave it there.
3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.
Men: To prepare for children
1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself
2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.
TEST 2: Knowledge
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 wild.
Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour.
Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.
Test 3: Nights (Kiss the beauty sleep, sleeping ins and hungover-passed-out-till-3pm sleep goodbye)
1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 – 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.
2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.
4. Set the alarm for 3am.
5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.
6. Go to bed at 2.45am.
7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am.
9. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off.
10. Make breakfast.
Keep this up for 5 years. LOOK CHEERFUL.
TEST 4: Dressing Small Children
1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hangout.
Time Allowed: 5 minutes.
TEST 5: Cars
1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.
2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
3. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.
4. Take a box of chocolate biscuits; mash them into the back seat.
5. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.
TEST 6: Going for a walk
b. Go out the front door.
c. Come back in again.
d. Go out.
e. Come back in again.
f. Go out again.
g. Walk down the front path.
h. Walk back up it.
i. Walk down it again.
j. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.
k. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.
l. Retrace your steps.
m. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.
n. Give up and go back into the house.
You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.
TEST 7: Conversation with children
1. Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.
2. Repeat the first step.
TEST 8: Grocery Shopping
1. Go to the 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.
2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.
3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.
Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.
TEST 9: Feeding a 1 year-old
1. Hollow out a melon
2. Make a small hole in the side
3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side
4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an aeroplane.
5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.
6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.
TEST 10: TV
1. Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Teletubbies and Disney. (in my case I’d also add Peppa Pig and Mother Goose Club)
2. Watch nothing else on television (or on Youtube nowadays) for at least 5 years. (the Youtube suggestions for you will both make you laugh and cry, I guarantee you that one)
TEST 11: Mess
Can you stand the mess the children make? To find out:
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains
2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look?
4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor and proceed with step 5.
5. Drag randomly items from one room to another room and leave them there.
TEST 12: Long Trips with Toddlers
1. Make a recording of someone shouting ‘Mummy’ repeatedly. Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mummy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet.
2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4 years.
You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.
TEST 13: Conversations
1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.
2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mummy tape listed above.
You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.
TEST 14: Getting Ready For Work
1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.
2. Put on your finest work attire.
3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it
5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt
6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture
7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel
8. Do not change (you have no time).
9. Go directly to work
You are now ready to have children. ENJOY!!
Share this invaluable test with all would-be parents you know – you’ll then be able to have your moment of “I told you so” and you’ll all share a good laugh. At lest perhaps you’ll have a bit more understanding for the poor parent in a store or on a plane, who’s simply ran out of tricks and options to handle her/his child.
Yours in Health and Parent solidarity,