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 down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After nine


    months, take out 10% of the beans.


    Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local chemist, 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





  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, smear peanut


     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


      How does that look?



 5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems: first buy an


     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 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 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 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

      the house.

      You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.



  9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times.



 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

       grocerie 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.



 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 aeroplane.

  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




 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.

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