Saturday, March 14, 2009

Parenting isn't for sissies!

My good friend Allie moved to GA this week to follow a vision for their family- helping to sustain a church plant that really jives with their values, dreams for how they want to raise their boys, etc. I'm so happy for her, but so sad for us. Caiden will miss playing with their boys every Thursday while I work, and I will miss having a good friend nearby. That said, when she came over to say goodbye, we had the best conversation/ idea and we both ended up laughing like little girls at their first slumber party. We both agreed that it would make an excellent blog post, and even though I consider her a more talented writer, I think I can do it justice, and plus- I have computer access right now, and she doesn't know where hers is! ;)

So we were discussing how parenting isn't for sissies. I can't recollect what prompted that vein of conversation, but it was probably something related to a sticky substance that our offspring produce that somehow end up on our clothing. She shared with me an opinion that one of her acquaintances from college held about parents. They thought that people should have to take an IQ test and score a specific number in order to bear children. However, we both agreed that perhaps that wasn't the most appropriate assessment for parenting skill- perhaps something that could measure one's flexibility, creativity, and determination. How would you measure such non-tangible qualities? With a simulation, of course! The parent to be would be placed inside a room with a monkey for 36 hours, unable to shower, use the bathroom alone, or apply makeup.. From there, the prospective parent would have to accomplish certain tasks, like challenges (for all of you Survivor fans) within a certain time allotted, while their emotional and physical reactions are closely monitored.

The first challenge would be to capture the monkey and put him in clothing appropriate to the weather. The contestant's emotional response and verbal reaction will be carefully watched when the monkey refuses to wear a hat and pants, but insists on wearing galoshes to the park, and causes them to be late to the play date. Points will be deducted for every minute they are late. . Any inappropriate verbage will be interpreted into sign language and taught to the monkey to use at embarrassing moments like during church, or in front of Great Grandparents.

The next task will be to keep tabs on the monkey at the park, ensure it doesn't escape, to climb a tree too high, or consume any poisonous berries, but they are disallowed to restrain it in any way. When they both have worked up a healthy appetite, they must catch the monkey and give it a healthy lunch. When the monkey throws said lunch across the park, they are free to try again. When they think the monkey is full, they can eat their own lunch- they will need the energy! Of course the monkey will want to eat half of what they are eating, and the other half will be knocked from their hands onto the ground as they attempt to hold the monkey and eat at the same time. A good portion of that will make its way onto their clothes or perhaps into the monkey's hair.

Following the play date, they must bring the monkey back home and give it a bath. The amount of water on the "parent's" clothing and on the floor will be measured. When the monkey is clean, dry and clothed, they must convince the monkey to take a nap. Every time the monkey climbs out of the crib, screams, and for every minute the monkey generally does not sleep, points will be deducted. When the monkey is finally off into dream land, a second louder monkey will be released into the room. Any inappropriate yelling or language will be documented. Blood pressure and pulse rate will NOT be monitored for this part of the simulation.

The next challenge will involve making dinner. One must make an appetizer, entree, and dessert, coordinate the timing so their are all ready at the appropriate times, all while both monkeys climbs up their legs and perch on their head, or pulls all of the toys into the middle of the room taking special care to place legos right under foot. At this point, the prospective father will "arrive from work" and enter the scene. If he comments about the mother's hair being dirty, or her general appearance being sub-par, the house being a mess or dinner not ready, points will be deducted. Conversely, if he hugs the mother, tells her she's beautiful, thanks her for caring for the monkeys all day, says the meal smells great, or volunteers to clean up, points will be returned. If he kisses the mother unsolicited, he will receive a special cash bonus.

The last challenge for the first 24 hours will be to wake up every 2 hours with the monkey to feed it. (Several times the second monkey will wake up and need attending as well.

For the remaining part of the simulation, the parents must cope with their lack of sleep, reduced caloric intake, lack of alone time, and increased decibel level of the room. Depending on their teamwork, and the level of emotional support they offer, points will be added or deducted. If their marriage survives this simulation and the monkeys remain alive and healthy, and based on the points earned, then- and only then does the person earn the "right" to become a parent.

We're thinking of selling the idea to ABC for a new reality show- what do you think? (j/k- kind of) ;)


Anonymous said...

This was HILARIOUS!!!!!!!! My husband and I were laughing so loud and totally relating: thanks for writing it!!!!! :-)


Anonymous said...

I love this! I was LOL! After the last few days, I think one monkey should be sick and need constant holding!

Heather said...

Haha this is awesome!!! I would fail that test right now, good thing we are waiting a while! But when I am ready you can put me through the test with Caiden and Addison, and see if I pass. :)