Some of you may have read the posting about having a child. It lists things you should do before deciding... But all of them were for the preschool set.
As my darling children are all in the school ages now, one a full fledged teen and one almost a teen, I figured that people who make it through those lessons might (like most of us who make it through the preschool years) think they are prepared. They may have the assumption that now that they have nailed working and coping with parental demands on zero sleep, that life will be simpler now that the child at least allows you to sleep.
I present these lessons before attempting parenting in your home...
Drive to the nearest elementary school. Head straight to the office. Sit in an uncomfortable chair and think of all the reasons that you may have been called to the school. Make sure none of the things you are thinking of are good and the more outrageous the better (bet you never thought you would get called to school because your child clucked like a chicken? Was caught chewing toilet paper? Didn't get in a fight but could have? I have been called for all these reasons. Be creative.) Now hand your paycheck to the office. Advise them that you will be back with the contents of the nearest Office Max. The school will nod and smile. They are used to it. Then ask them to make you feel like you are the worst parent ever and how dare you have thought you were doing a good job parenting. Once you have been thoroughly chastised, get in your car.
Go home and talk to a wall. When the wall doesn't a. clean a room b. answer you about grades c. have an explanation as to why it thought it was a good idea to convince the baby that gummy worms and real worms are the same thing... continue to try to convince the wall to accomplish/answer a. b. and c.
You have now had a conversation with a child.
Get back in your car. Drive in large circles. Pause at museums, schools and random houses. Get more gas while blasting a tape that repeats, "Are we there yet? He is breathing on me again. I'm hungry."
That's all. Just do that. Every spare moment you have.
Go back to the wall. Give it three random directions. (Example: Take off your shoes. Put them by the door. Hang up your coat when you are done.)
Then ask the wall why it only finished one of the directions.
Tape a high pitched shriek that shatters your ear drums and makes your eye twitch. Then go back to the wall. Talk to it. Every time the wall would be expected to reply, play the shriek. To really do this exercise well, you must never raise your voice or lose your patience. Continue to talk to the wall. Do this for an hour. You have now discussed something with a teenage girl.
Assume you are wrong. About everything. All the time. Because between the children, other parents that don't seem to be frayed around the edges and the aforementioned school... You will realize that you are wrong. Always.
Luckily, your kids have an answer for everything. Everything. And they will tell you. At length. Usually when they should be sleeping.
Once, every so often, fill a bucket with a mixture of rotten potatoes, spoiled milk and kool-aid. Set your alarm for 2:30am. Wake up. Pitch the bucket at your couch or the carpet or even better dump it on you and your bed. If you want realism, have someone else wake you by dumping the bucket, preferably after warming it, on you while you sleep. Wake up. Notice that the smell hits you first. Instead of shrieking in panic and disgust at the mess, grab a pillow covered in vomit. Cuddle it and clean it gently while murmuring soothing things. Then give it a bucket and clean up the rest of the mess. For more realism, have a back-up bucket and have someone dump it when you are almost done cleaning up the first.
You have now experienced projectile vomit. And no... they rarely ever make it to the bathroom.
If you can do all of these steps, continue to smile and never yell at the wall or stinky pillow, you are ready to love an older child.
This is tongue in cheek fun, people. Kids are totally worth it. You will never laugh so hard or be so willing to conquer anything as you are when you are a parent. Kids make you brave. Kids make you learn what love is.
But there is still the projectile vomit...
Hope you enjoyed!
(Oh and the picture is me as a child... At which point I was far worse than any of the examples listed above. :) )