Thinking of having kids? A 11-step program

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to the grocery store’s head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time. Ever.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are parents already and berate them about their:

1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.

Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior.

Then enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

This lesson is a really good way to discover how the nights might feel once you become a parent.

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8 to 12 pounds with the radio set to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. Eat cold food with one hand for dinner.
2. At 10 p.m., put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at midnight and walk around the living room again with the bag until 1 a.m.
4. Set the alarm for 3 a.m.
5. When you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2 a.m. and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45 a.m.
7. Get up at 3 a.m. when the alarm goes off again.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4 a.m.
9. It’s finally 6 a.m. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive).

Repeat steps 1-9 each night for 3 to 5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out:

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. — the one that you would grab if ever there was a fire, the one that is more precious to you than words can possibly express — and tear out random, individual pages. Potato stamp the rest.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons.
How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Helpful hint: Time allowed for this exercise: all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a minivan. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family-size package of chocolate cookies and mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle Cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Here are a few steps to determine whether or not you are ready to feed a 9 month-old baby.

1. Hollow out a cantaloupe or honeydew melon.
2. Make a small hole in the other side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

Lesson 8

Do you currently enjoy “Sex and the City” reruns? SportsCenter? “Law and Order: SVU”? Or any other form of television?
Are you prepared to alter your viewing habits? To find out:

1. Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, Dora, Diego, and Pokemon.
2.Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, or Noggin for at least five years.
(I know, you’re thinking “What’s ‘Noggin’?” Exactly the point. )

Lesson 9

To build up the endurance necessary to take a long trip with a toddler:

1. Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying ‘Mommy’ repeatedly.
(Important: no more than a four-second delay between each ‘Mommy.”
Occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is also required).
2. Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years.

Lesson 10

Are you ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room?

1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.
2. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt sleeve, or elbow while playing the ‘Mommy’ tape made from Lesson 9 above.
3. Repeat for every single conversation for the next 8 years and 7 months.
4. If you decide to have a PHONE conversation with another adult, make sure to have TWO other people tug on your skirt, shirt, or elbow while simultaneously stripping naked, pouring Draino into your shoes, and attempting to feed GoGurt to the cat.

Do not let on to the person on the other end that there is anything amiss.

Lesson 11

A final pre-parenting test:

1. Go to the local grocery store.
2. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a preschool-age child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice.)
If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat.
3. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight.
4. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you’ll need when you become a parent!

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