The bittersweet anticipation of an upcoming family reunion has filled my mind lately. Not that I don’t like seeing my relatives, but their insistent questioning about when I’m getting married and having children grinds my nerves like the shrill of someone’s long cuticles, trailing down a blackboard in the classroom.
I feel like saying immediately after their insensitive inquiries, “When are you going to lose some weight? You’ll live longer, you know?” Or, how about, “I wish you’d mind your own business and pay attention to your own children and grandchildren, who have issues worse than mine”?
Sure, I love children. If I didn’t, teaching wouldn’t be my profession certainly; but the thought of having my own and the personal responsibility offsprings bring with them into this life, makes me want to wait a bit longer.
Youth is still stringing along behind me, and the proverbial “biological clock” is ticking away the time left, but with today’s technology, women past menopause have been having children through in vitro, fertilized-egg implantation in utero. Sounds like hocus-pocus to me. I definitely don’t want to wait that long if I decide to have kids.
Throwing around the pros and cons of child-rearing, researching others who have contemplated raising a family and decided against it, I came across a psychological and physical test to make the final determination about yea or nay on the subject. It’s entitled, “Kid Test: How to know whether or not you’re ready to produce progeny.”
This concise examination is broken up into the following segments:
Mess Test: Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there for the rest of this summer. See what you think about the smell and tactile mess at around Labor Day.
Toy Test: Obtain a 55-gallon box of Legos (you may substitute roofing tacks if you wish). Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold and take off your shoes. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream because this would wake a child at night.
Grocery Store Test: Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.
Dressing Test: Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff it into a small net bag, making sure that all the arms stay inside.
Feeding Test: Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill the vessel halfway with water. Suspend it from the ceiling with a cord. Start the container swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.
Night Test: Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and filling it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00 p.m. begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 p.m. Lay down your little sack and set your alarm for 10:00 p.m. Get up, pick up the bag and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00 a.m. Reset the alarm for 5:00 a.m. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for a minimum of one, to two years. Look cheerful the whole time.
Ingenuity Test: Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet-paper tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, an empty box of Cocoa Puffs, and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.
Automobile Test: Forget the BMW or Lexus and buy a station wagon. Purchase a chocolate ice-cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it into the CD player. Take a family-size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a rake along both sides of the vehicle. Pour a milk shake into the speakers on top of the dashboard. There we are: a perfect, soccer-mom automobile!
Physical Test (Women): Obtain a large beanbag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Then remove the beans. And try not to notice your closet full of clothes. You won’t be wearing them for a while.
Physical Test (Men): Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.
Final Assignment: Find a couple who already has a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training and their child’s table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.
Thank goodness this test wasn’t around for our parents to take, otherwise we wouldn’t be here today. Good luck and be well.