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== == * 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. # Women:to prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans.

Men: to prepare for paternity, go the local drug store, 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 and read it 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, 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 of the answers.

# To discover how the nights feel, walk around the living room from 5 pm to 10 pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 lbs. At 10 pm 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 1 am. Put the alarm on for 3 am. As you can't get back to sleep, get up a 2 am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45 am. Get up again at 3 am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4 am. Put the alarm on for 5 am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

# Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, 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?

# 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.

# Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a can 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 tree. Last, take a milk container, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Coco Puffs and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations, you have just qualified for a place on the playgroup committee.

# Forget the Miata and buy a Mini Van. 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!

# 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 butt, 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 in the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

# Always repeat everything you say at least five times.

# 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 children.

# 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 Fruit Loops and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half of the Fruit Loops are 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.

# Learn the names of every character from "Barney and Friends," "Sesame Street" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." When you find yourself singing "I love you, you love me" at work, now!, you finally qualify as a parent. == == * I feel it my duty to point out that the previous answer sugar-coated the topic thoroughly. == == * I knew at age 40 -- hey, I finally know how life works. So why not pass on some of that knowledge. A year later my son was born. I felt ready when I knew I could carry any responsibility. == == * I don't think anyone is every truly prepared for the life changes, responsibilities and incredible joys that come from being a parent. But, some good questions to ask yourself are:

Is my home life stable enough to provide the emotional security this child will need? Do I feel comfortable with making tremendous sacrifices as far as my personal time requirements? Am I financially stable? (Please note, this does not mean "Are you wealthy?" as income levels have nothing to do with parenting) Do I have a support system in place? (Partner, friends, family, church, etc.) Is my partner in agreement with my decision to become a parent? (If you are emotionally involved with a partner) Do I realize that the decision to have a child will CHANGE MY LIFE FOREVER?!?!? Does my desire to have a child reflect my need to compensate for a void in my life? (If yes, WAIT...) Does my desire to have a child stem from a need to be loved? (If yes, WAIT...) Is this a reaction to friends and family members who may be having children at this time in my life? (IF yes, WAIT) Do I want a child because I think it will either save or improve my current relationship? (If yes, or even maybe...WAIT).

Our city has a facility that provides shelter and parenting classes for pregnant women who have nowhere else to go... if there is one in the city where you live, it might be a good idea to volunteer some of your time there to get some idea of what being pregnant is all about, and the challenges you will be facing. Visit or volunteer at a day-care center as well as that could shed some light on what the day-to-day care of an infant will involve. = = * I am in total support of the last answer given above. I contend that it is an inhumane act of criminality to bring a child into this world if you do not have the financial, emotional and physical ability to competently cater to the needs of the child. A person who decides to bring a child into this world should consider the social, physical and emotional conditions under which the child will be expected to exist. A person who is unfit to be a parent should not be permitted to bring a child into this world. Unfit persons can fall within the following categories: medically unfit, physically unfit, emotionally unfit, socially unfit and financially unfit. A child does not have the freedom to choose the most competent person for his/her parent, so those who have the privilege of choice, should do so wisely. * You are ready when you are prepared and comitted to providing a loving, stable, healthy home to the child. Being a good parent is an unselfish act. I have observed that most teenagers THINK they can provide all those things - HORSEFEATHERS! Teens are NOT ready to become parents. Well - maybe the exceptionally mature 18 or 19 year old who has graduated from school and is married to the other potential parent (if you aren't willing to make enough comitment to marry someone, you sure aren't comitted enough to be a parent). The comitment required to be a good parent bears a lot of resemblance to the vows a lot of people take when they get married - in sickness or in health (you make whatever sacrifices are necessary for the child's health including staying healthy yourself), for richer or for poorer (you make sure you provide for the child's needs - not their WANTS - their NEEDS, like food, shelter, love, education/training, clothing, social skills, etc.), till death do you part (once a parent, always a parent - you continue to look out for them as long as you live - although you do have to let them go out on their own when they are grown and ready to start their own life) * If you wait until you are ready to become a parent, it will never happen. Children do not come with a manual of how to do this or that. You follow your instinct that is inbred in all of us and ask friends and family members for input when you need assistance. Don't be afraid to call out for help, no one will know better than you what you need. Good Luck

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โˆ™ 2009-06-25 16:45:55
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Q: How do you know if you are ready to become a parent?
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