I have a coworker who's expecting her first baby. It got me to thinking. As a father of two children, I consider myself a seasoned expert on the subject of child-rearing. I mean, so far I've done everything right, and documented all of my successes so that when the Father Of The Year award comes up for grabs again, I'm a shoe-in.
But that's just my opinion. I might be wrong. But I doubt it.
I have some suggestions for all those new parents-to-be out there. Some might call this unsolicited advice. I think of it more as a warning to all the new players on the team. And it certainly is a team. If we don't band together, those meddling kids will take over. Ever seen the Matrix? Yeah, it's like that but with more goo. So here's how you can best ready yourself for the onslaught:
1. Start buying twice as much food as you do now. When you get home, throw half of it away. That's exactly what will happen when your kid starts eating real food. You'll spend countless hours slaving over dinner and preparing a nutritious meal, and your kid will eat one carrot and half of your slice of garlic bread because three hours ago she had conned her grandma into an extra lollipop. But she'll have plenty of room for ice cream later.
2. Pay a neighborhood kid to call your house every 47 minutes starting at 7pm until around 6:30am. That will get you used to a normal sleep pattern once you have kids. For a more realistic effect, let the neighborhood kid know what TV shows you are watching so he can be sure to call you right when all the best scenes come on.
3. Practice the Dish Color relay. Take a blue dish from the cabinet and place it on the dinner table. Walk back into the kitchen. Now go and retrieve the dish, put it away, and replace it with a red one. Now do the same with two drinking cups. Then, bring out a fork and switch it with a spoon. You see, this is what will happen when your child forms an opinion. Bring him a bowl of red grapes in a green bowl on the third Tuesday of the month, and he's going to want them in the red bowl. Give her milk in the pink sippy, and she's going to want the Dora cup with the built-in straw. And don't even think about asking which bowl she wants before you select one; she will only change her mind the moment you bring it. You see, this is how they break you down, forcing you into submission.
4. When you talk to your spouse, only say the third and fifth word of every sentence. And repeat the fifth word twice. That's how it will be once you have a kid that knows how to talk. Or, more accurately, how to interrupt.
5. Accept the fact that you and your fertile loins will be personally responsible for global warming. Between the twelve thousand pounds of diapers your little varmint will go through, the massive collection of non-biodegradable plastic Disney Princess toys that will amass in the corner of the basement giving off toxic fumes, and the truckloads of empty cereal, Eggo waffle, and Easy Mac boxes you will dispose of each week, there's no hope for this planet and it's all because you wanted someone to carry on the family name. Ironic, ain't it.
6. Ask each of your friends to plan on getting together no more than once a month. When the day comes to get together, one of you should cancel due to illness. It doesn't matter if anyone's actually sick, but it will get you used to the fact that you will never be able to make advance plans with anyone because when the time comes someone's kid will have a fever of 102 and have spent the previous night throwing up on the duvet.
7. Kiss the following things goodbye: friends, spare time, exercise routines, sleep, disposable income, nice furniture, savings, cars that don't smell like spoiled milk, ironed clothing, polished kitchen floors, CD collections, recollections of important events in history, and extra space. All those items will be distant forgotten memories once he takes over.
8. Rent a classic horror movie. When the "girl screaming at the top of her lungs" scene come on, turn the volume up past 11. This will enable you to get started on the inevitable hearing loss that comes as a result having children. There is no sound more piercing on this earth than two children playing loudly in a bathtub while you are less than a foot from them.
9. Take a container of cottage cheese, and store it under the kitchen sink for a month. Now open it. Mmmm, notice that pungent aroma? That's kid barf. Get used to it.
10. No no, this one's for you to find out yourself.