children

The Letter is “T”

Mrs. G.  was my first grade teacher.    Now, keep in mind I’m from a small town in South Central Texas and this little hamlet wasn’t very enterprising.  In fact, I think back on it now and I believe progress scared the hell out of the City Fathers (this was 1965, there were no City Mothers yet).  Construction of a Dairy Queen in late 1972 made some quake in their boots.

Even so, many who graduated from High School especially after World War II went to college  and then came back for some reason.   Family perhaps; it was easy and  familiar.    Others  left and never returned.  Still,  a few went home the night they graduated from High School  and just stayed there.

My father and mother dated in High School.   Both went to college and both came back home.   They got married and spawned three girls.    I’m the youngest.  Many of my parents’ siblings also came back home, settled down and had kids, so it wasn’t a big deal that my first grade teacher and a few subsequent teachers in later grades, also taught my older sisters, most of my cousins, my parents, every aunt and uncle.  They were also either friends or members of the same clubs and organizations as both of my grandmothers.

So misbehaving  in class: not an option.   Comparisons to older family members:  a constant occurrence.

I was hardly unique.  Lots of kids I knew were second generation students, especially in Mrs. G’s.  class.    She taught everyone in my family.   She was also principal of the school which housed first and second grades.   She was kid savvy, large and imposing.   She could be stern when need be, but basically, she was good teacher and above all, she was extremely patient.   One would  have to be in order to teach students with varying degrees of aptitudes..  And back then, kids were piled into three separate first grade classrooms.    I’m not sure of the methods used in terms placement, but I remember my first grade class being a mixed bag of quite gifted kids and others who (in the simplest terms) weren’t.

For privacy’s sake, I’ll call him Carl.

He came from a large family from “the wrong side of the tracks” as they say.    He sat across the aisle from me in  Mrs. G’s class.   He was very tall, lanky and shy.   He kept to himself, in class and during recess.   He’d talk infrequently.   Occasionslly, he’d initiate a conversation.   At other times, you might attempt to talk to him, but he’d ignore you and look straight ahead.   When he and I did speak, which was rare,  conversations were  always brief and about mundane things, such as the the Friday night football game or the raging thunderstorm that blew through  the night before.    Yes, Carl was different,  but he remains a very vivid first grade memory for two reasons.

Reason #1:  I remember looking at him;  his long legs,  the well worn, hand me down   “highwater” pants he wore.  I stared at his profile and saw  longish, blond whiskers growing above his upper lip.    At the time, I didn’t quite understand what that meant since none of the other boys in the entire  school  were as hairy or as tall.   Later on, I realized  he must have been held back several grades.   It was either that or Ma Nature cruelly bestowed puberty upon him at the tender age of six, which college biology later taught me, was highly unlikely.

Reason # 2:  One day in May, when the end of first grade loomed near, Mrs. G decided to test us on spelling and our familiarity with the alphabet.   She’d hold up photos of simple objects and we would either be called upon or we’d raise our hand s to tell her what the object in the drawing was and then we’d spell it out now for her.    These were easily identifiable things, nothing above our reading  level.

For example, she’d hold up a picture of a boat and Sheila would raise her hand and tell Mrs. G that the item began  with a “B.”    It was boat and spelled  B-O-A-T.      Gold star for Sheila.     Then, she’d hold up a pic of a car and Timmy would get a chance to demonstrate his spelling prowess.

Mrs. G got all the way down to “S” without a hitch.     Then came the next letter in the alphabet.     She held up a photo of a common vegetable, a terrific side dish, often baked or mashed, great with fried chicken or diced and fried, making it the perfect accompaniment for a hamburger.

Carl uncharscteristicslly raised his hand and announced to Mrs. G and the entire class that the object in the drawing began with the letter “T”.     Mrs.  G stopped him before he could say anything else.  I distinctly remember the perplexed look on her face.

“A “T” Carl?    Why would you say the item in this picture begins with a “T”?, she asked.

To which Carl replied adamantly, “Well, it’s a tater, ain’t it?”

I don’t remember how Mrs. G handled it.    I don’t remember how the class  responded.   But I remember thinking it was funny and to a six year old girl, it was.  I knew what a tater was a slang term for a potato.   I was six.  Name a youngster who doesn’t like Tater Tots or know they are born from potatoes.     But for me, it was also the emphatic way Carl answered Mrs. G’s questiin, as if every other  human was an idiot  for NOT knowing  the object in the photo wasn’t commonly called a tater.   There was an unusual certainty, a surprising confidence in a voice rarely ever heard.    There was  no gold star for Carl that day, but you have to give him credit.     If the bulk of what’s learned in childhood comes from home, he merely proved  that point, whether right or wrong and in his In his world, a potato was a tater.   Case closed.

My childhood memoties are getting blurrier everyday, but while I clearly remember Carl’s tater comment, I honestly don’t remember him after that.  I can’t remember him being in any my other classes.  I have no point of reference, either.  After a million moves,  I have no idea where any of my yearbooks are and I’ve only been to one of two class reunions.   I went to the first one, 30 years ago.    And I don’t keep up with my classmates, so I’ve no one to ask, not that they’d know of his whereabouts either.   You see, this particular  class of 1977 has never been very close.    But if I were to see Carl today, I’d ask him if he remembered me then I’d hug him, if he’d let me, and I’d ask him about his life, hoping he’d be willing to fill me in on things since 1966.

At the appropriate time,  I’d say goodbye and wish him well.   And I’d silently  apologize to him  for being a victim of ignorance to certain disabilities, which  at the time, was also used as another means of exercising prejudice.    Once again, I don’t know what happened to Carl, but it was obvious his problems hadn’t been properly dealt with by his family, but due to certain circumstances, might not have even been aware there was a problem.  Nor was he properly dealt with by the educational system in the place I once called home.    I’m currently far removed from anything school or student-related, but I’m pretty that 51-years ago, having developmental issues, coupled with being from a poor, struggling family  meant it was easier for educators to label, allow those particular kids to slip through the cracks, then simply look the other way.

I think Carl was a prime example of an unspoken caste system that once existed in public education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Friday Night At The Burger Despot

I currently enjoy being of  a certain age when the impetus to go out and see and be seen is no longer alive or kicking in my system.   I look forward to quiet weekends.     I have all I need:  my beloved cat, my dog and an iPad and I keep fingers crossed for good weather,not for gardening or because I have something to do outside.  No, I like cloudless days because means stellar satellite reception.    Any combination of those things plus a lack of noise,  make for a delightful evening in Laurieland.  laurieland

Now, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy the occasional rip in my personal space/time continuum.   My balance is thrown off from time to time and I welcome it, especially when I’m called upon to babysit my four-year old great-niece, Emily, when her parents, who are in their early 30’s will on occasion, give in to that youthful need to go out on a Saturday night.  She is no bother at all and I love having her as a guest.

She’s a typical Kendrick–lovely platinum blond hair that won’t see a L’Oreal box of Lightest Blonde (Shade 9A) to keep it looking  that way for at least 14 more years.     She has big blue eyes and a smattering of freckles–cute as a button.   Smart too.   I’ve already gotten her fixation started with tornadoes.    Yes, she too is fascinated  by nature’s terrorists.  I plan on introducing her to paramecium over the Fourth of July weekend.

Her favorite thing to do when she visits me  is to eat yogurt and then go to Burger Czar, in that order.    There’s a play ground there.  She’s like every child;  going there to combine play with eating a kid’s meal consisting of chicken strips, a Sprite and some lame ass prize  is like Mecca to them.

Usually, the  fast food place isn’t that crowded on Friday nights but it was on this particular evening.    There were five young boys already playing on the plastic Jungle Gym with its slide, netting to climb, tubes to crawl through and conjunctivitis to contract.     She had more guts than I did at her age.  She walked right up to the contraption and started playing.  Soon, she was fully involved in the boys’ game which combined tag and hide and seek.     They got along well, except for one tyke who I feel sure has an undiagnosed issue somewhere within the Autism Spectrum.     I’m no specialist in the field of childhood behavior, but I know different when I see it and every time Emily approached this boy, he shouted “NO!!!”, as loud as he could while holding his hand in her face, palm up.  Then he’d run away.    He didn’t do it to the boys, just with Emily.        I watched this scene repeat several times.   It was like he’d taken some kind of a kiddie self-defense classes or had one of those Bean Sprout/sugar-free moms who give their kids time out  when bad behavior rears its head.   She also restricts access to certain TV shows, monitors use on the computer and stresses the importance of ‘their own space”.      Sure, all these things are vital.   I would imagine my life would be quite different had I understood the relevance of imposing my own spatial restrictions.

But I didn’t,  so this was rather odd behavior to me, especially for a child.

Emily wasn’t phased by it all.    She looked him over then promptly overlooked it him.   It didn’t affect her playtime.    Take the possibility of autism or Asperger’s out of the scenario and  Emily didn’t care if he was different in look or actions.   She was there to have fun;  she shared the kids’ motto:  join in if you want, but if you do, be prepared to laugh and play.     “Just say no” will come in handy right around their Freshmen year of High School.

She was a joy to watch.  Laughing with the other kids who made up a delightful ethnic salad.     Two white kids, two Hispanics, Mr.  No and Emily.   None  of the kids did seemed to even notice.   It wasn’t about the amount of melanin in the skin–or the lack thereof, as was the case with the two pale-skinned Lebensborners.   They played with kids, as kids, untarnished by the race and gender issues of their elders.    Fun was the order of the day.     As long as you could play, you were welcome to join in.    Kinda like life.

I loved watching it all unfold amid the smell of grease and feet.    You see, shoes are verboten in the play area.    odors aside, Emily was a  delight; strong and happy,  independent yet she played well with others.  She was, “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (Gym)!!

When it was time to leave Burger Shah,  all the kids said goodbye to each other.    We went back to my house to look for snails in my front garden.   They’re very large here in Texas this spring.   This past weekend,  I found a two single incher making dinner out of a Caladium.

Like any good hostess, I keep candy in a dish in my foyer.   York Peppermint Patties are the current culinaire du jour  and Emily LOVES these things.  She grabbed one as she went out the front door to go snail hunting.     It wasn’t long before we found ( in Emily’s words), several mommy snails, daddy snails and baby snails.      I watched her pick up a tiny one to examine it.    She was holding a mint in one hand, exploring the slimy underbelly of a snail in the other one.

“She’s so smart”, I said to myself.   “Further proof of those wonderfully superior Kendrick genes!   She’ll go far in this world.”

I went back to my search for more daddy snails, when I heard her give out this combination scream and laugh.     I turned around to  see if she was okay and she was making a face.  Apparently, she absent-mindedly put the snail in her mouth in stead of the mint pattie.      She spit it out, informing me even though she didn’t bite down on it, it did indeed, “taste like doodoo”.     I did nothing but laugh along with her.   At four she was too young to understand an escargot  joke.

She ate the mint,  we continued our snail hunt and I uttered to myself a familiar, but now slightly modified rhetorical,  “Further proof of those Kendrick genes.”

An Open Letter To Young Moms

I’m not a mother and I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t possess a maternal bone in my body.

And even though I’ve never walked in your Payless flats, I have a deep, abiding respect for what you do.  I know how difficult motherhood is and I know that with all it’s dilemmas and sacrifices, it’s also extremely rewarding.  It is also extremely important.

You shape young minds.  You are the first interaction children have with other human beings;  with life,  nurturing, education,  values, manners, with love and affection.    Without those vital components, children grow up to be angry, jaded comedy writers living in Houston.

I will admit that I adore my nieces and nephews.  They’re adults now, but even when they were younger, that was fine because I could give them back to their parents after needing them as throw down progeny for whatever reason, but generally speaking, I’m not a fan of the kinder.   And when they’re loud and screaming and unruly regardless of locale, it’s enough to make me seek copious amounts of Lithium.

Therefore, I must ask, what is it with some young mothers these days?

A few days ago, I was in Target shopping for sundries, but my experience was sullied by a screaming child.   Not just the occasional outburst, this was incessant shrieking.   The phrase, “plaintive wail” comes to mind.  I made my way over the Mens’ Department to take a peak at this erstwhile junior banshee.   It was a little girl, strapped in the Target trademark red shopping cart; her older brother frantically kicking at a display of folded T-shirts as the mom, blithely ignoring her obnoxious charges, rifled through a sale bin.

She was either unable to hear the decibels with which her daughter was screaming or willfully chose to ignore the situation.  I looked for any obvious sign of discomfort.   None that I could see.   Did the child have a disability that was discernible?  Again, nothing that I could see.  All indications pointed to this being nothing more than a very unruly little girl, undisciplined,  unattended and futility demanding attention.

The young mother did nothing to quiet or comfort the child, at least she did nothing during the excruciating 12.7  minutes that I had to spend in the department next to them.    The child was loud, annoying and extremely bothersome.  I shook my head; another shopper covered his ears.   Yet, the young mom seemed oblivious to everything.

Sadly, I’ve seen this scene repeated many times. So, my question is how could this happen?   Why does this happen?

When I was a child, I would NEVER acted this way and certainly had I, the situation would have been handled efficiently.  The fear of my mother’s pinch or slap was as bad, if not worse than the actual physical contact.   Then there was the fear of the dreaded “you just wait till we get home” spanking.  Even when she’d give me that “look”, that was enough to instill the fear of God in me and by God, I mean the fierce, vengeful Old Testament version.

I can’t say every young mother is guilty of this, but obviously, when a young child is screaming, a basic knowledge of biology and gynecology will tell you that a younger mother is usually part of the equation.  Additionally, I don’t know what was coursing through this particular young mother’s mind; why she allowed her child to scream without blinking an eye, but from the perspective of my incredibly victimized ears, I would think her completely selfish.  Her child, her life…everyone else–deal with it.  She showed utter lack of consideration for the shoppers around her.  I would go one step further and say she showed utter disdain for everyone in the store.

I don’t understand this at all.   What happened to respect?  Is good taste now passe?   Has breeding just become another word for procreation?  Has a misplaced and errant sense of entitlement surpassed common decency?

Now, permit me reiterate that I understand the plight of all you young mothers.  You’re tired, you’re frustrated and probably completely unappreciated for all your efforts,  but does that negate appropriate displays of manners, tact and diplomacy?   And didn’t Doctors Spock and Linden Smith tell us time and time again that children need and want structure?

And what about this new mode of contemporary child rearing?   Why aren’t more kids being censured for this kind of behavior these days?   Are we scared that any disciplinary “pop on the butt” could and would be misconstrued as abuse and we’d be reported to Child Protective Services?   And is a liberal, hands-off approach to child rearing working?  How effective are “time outs” and really, is this any way to reason with a young child?

The reality is this:  young children, especially unruly ones have no business being in  public.  Parents have no right to foist ill mannered children on the populace.  Sorry, but this is true.   Young, unruly children should not be  in nicer restaurants.  Young children have no business in theaters, especially during movies not geared for kids.  This is why  Fischer Price and Walt Disney invented babysitters.   If you can’t afford a babysitter, you damn sure can’t afford dinner at a nicer restaurant or the 18 dollars you’d shell out for a pair of movie tickets.

And DO NOT tell me that sometimes children misbehave because they feel bad.  I understand this,  but if that is in fact the case, why then are they out in public and not at home enduring Pink Eye or  teething in private?

And furthermore, if you have no other recourse than to take your child with you, then you should have the sense to train…yes, I said TRAIN your children to behave correctly and respectfully in public.  If they don’t and their behavior is disruptive in any way and you as a parent refuse to handle the situation either by calming or removing them from the premises, then you should be held responsible and fined exorbitantly for disturbing the peace.

As I see it, one of the biggest culprits contributing to this problem is that so many people today have absolutely no class; they’re completely devoid of it.    And let’s get something straight;  class has nothing to do with socio-economic status.  It’s not indicative of where or how you live, the kind of car you drive, the labels on your jeans or the amount of money in your bank account.   Class is demonstrating kindness, respect, proper behavior, reasoned reactions and abiding by the rules and regulations of polite society.   It is reflective in good manners–regardless of situation or circumstance and it’s the willingness to make the tiniest of sacrifices in order to be considerate of others.

Everyone can use a primer in what class is and isn’t,  but young mothers in particular, I beg you to learn the difference.

Out of The Mouths (& Minds) of Babes

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HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?

“You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports…..and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”
Alan, age 10

“No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.”
Kirsten, age 10

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WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?

“Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.”
Camille, age 10

“No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married. That’s why daddy says anyway.”
Freddie, age 6

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HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?

“Married people usually look happy to talk to other people. And I guess they talk to each other, too.”
Eddie, age 6

“You might have to guess based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.”
Derrick, age 8

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WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?

“Both ya’ll don’t want no more kids.”
Lori, age 8

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WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?

“Dates are for having fun and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.”
Lynnette, age 8

“On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.”
Martine, age 10

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WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?

“I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead people columns.
Craig, age 9

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WHEN IS IT OK TO KISS SOMEONE?

“When they’re rich.”
Pam, age 7

“The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.”
Curt, age 7

“The rule goes like this: if you kiss someone, you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.”
Howard, age 8

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IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?

“I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.”
Theodore, age 8

“It’s better for girls to be single, but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.”
Anita, age 9

“Single is better, for the simple reason that I wouldn’t want to change no diapers. Of course, if I did get married, I’d just phone my mother and have her come over for some coffee and diaper-changing.”
Kirsten, age 10

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HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T
GET MARRIED?

“There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?”
Kevin, age 8

“You can be sure of one thing – the boys would come chasing after us just the same as they do now.”
Roberta, age 7

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HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?

“If you want to last with your man, you should wear a lot of sexy clothes, especially underwear that is red and maybe has a few diamonds on it.” (EDITOR’S NOTE FROM LK: Tried it; doesn’t work))
Lori, age 8

“Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck.” (ADDITIONAL EDITOR’S NOTE FROM LK: This really works and it should work more often, too.  Try it!–with special emphasis geared toward my current paramour)
Ricky, age 10

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(Sent to me via e-mail. Original author unknown)

A Science Fair We’d LOVE To See!!!

I can only imagine that these photos were Photoshopped, but wouldn’t it be fun to think that these future Bill Gateses and Enrico Fermises and Stephen Hawkingses had at least one crack at being so deliciously vile toward their fellow students and society in general?

I post these, not to mock participation in the standard issue school Science Fair.   Au contraire.   I have a deep and abiding respect for dweebs, geeks and spazzes.   I’m fairly sure I have been at least one myself on certain occasions in my life.

Nah, that’s bullshit.   l’m just being patronizing.

Anyway, my friend Trish sent these to me and based on the tag on a few of the photos, they came from a site called  somethingawful.com.   Are these pics nasty and vulgar?  You  bet your ass they are,  but funny is funny and these made me laugh.

So, here they are: photos from a science fair that never was, but so easily could have been…here in LaurieLand.

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Out of The Mouths (& Minds) of Babes

(Sent to me via e-mail. Original author unknown)

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HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?

“You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports…..and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”
Alan, age 10

“No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.”
Kirsten, age 10

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WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?

“Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.”
Camille, age 10

“No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married. That’s why daddy says anyway.”
Freddie, age 6

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HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?

“Married people usually look happy to talk to other people. And I guess they talk to each other, too.”
Eddie, age 6

“You might have to guess based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.”
Derrick, age 8

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WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?

“Both ya’ll don’t want no more kids.”
Lori, age 8

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WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?

“Dates are for having fun and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.”
Lynnette, age 8

“On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.”
Martine, age 10

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WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?

“I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead people columns.
Craig, age 9

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WHEN IS IT OK TO KISS SOMEONE?

“When they’re rich.”
Pam, age 7

“The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.”
Curt, age 7

“The rule goes like this: if you kiss someone, you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.”
Howard, age 8

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IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?

“I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.”
Theodore, age 8

“It’s better for girls to be single, but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.”
Anita, age 9

“Single is better, for the simple reason that I wouldn’t want to change no diapers. Of course, if I did get married, I’d just phone my mother and have her come over for some coffee and diaper-changing.”
Kirsten, age 10

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HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T
GET MARRIED?

“There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?”
Kevin, age 8

“You can be sure of one thing – the boys would come chasing after us just the same as they do now.”
Roberta, age 7

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HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?

“If you want to last with your man, you should wear a lot of sexy clothes, especially underwear that is red and maybe has a few diamonds on it.” (EDITOR’S NOTE FROM LK: Tried it; doesn’t work))
Lori, age 8

“Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck.” (EDITOR’S NOTE FROM LK: This works. It should work more often, too)
Ricky, age 10

The Procreation Test

My niece, Dana just gave birth to her third and final son yesterday. Congrats to her.

My other niece and goddaughter, Becky will bear her first groin fruit this December.

My eldest sister Kathy has four kids and my middle sister, Karol currently grapples with three. I—the childless crone of the bunch—am surrounded by breeders.

But were the women in my family ready for the trials and tribulations and incredible responsibilities involved in motherhood specifically? What about their husbands? Were they ready for fatherhood?

Too bad this incredibly adroit test wasn’t around for them:

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TEST #1 Preparation

Women: Thinking about getting pregnant? Try this first:

1. Put on a dress…a house dress or something big and unrestrictive. Stick a beanbag chair down the front of it, positioning it on the abdomen
2. Leave it there.
3. After 9 months remove 5% of the styrofoam beans inside.

**This test simulates the baby weight you will carry for nine months and the post delivery weight you will not lose.

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Men: Preparing for children::

1. Go to your friendly, neighborhood pharmacy; dump the entire contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself
2. Go to the grocery store, speak to the General Manager to arrange to have your salary paid directly to their corporate offices..
3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

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Test 2 – KNOWLEDGE (FOR BOTH PARENTS)

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 wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior.

Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.


TEST #3 NIGHTIME (BOTH PARENTS)

To discover how the nights will feel:

1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately six to ten pounds, Make sure a TV or radio is on and emitting static and painful decibels.
2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.
4. Set the alarm for 3am.
5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea. Beer is optional.
6. Go to bed at 2.45am.
7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off.
8. Humor softly sing songs in the dark with the wet bag in your arms until 4am.
9. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off.
10. Make breakfast only to realize you’re too tired to eat

Keep this up for at 5 years. ATTEMPT TO LOOK CHEERFUL.

And awake.

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TEST # 4 – DRESSING SMALL CHILDREN (BOTH PARENTS)

1. Buy a live octopus and a burlap bag.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that no arms hang out.

Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

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TEST #5 – CARS (BOTH PARENTS)

1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door station wagon.
2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
3. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.
4. Take a box of chocolate cookies…something fudge covered is best, then mash them into the back seat and across at least one window
5. The future mom and dad flip a coin. Heads one drives; tails one sits in the back and kicks the back of the driver’s seat incessantly
6. Place burgers on the door handle
7. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. A trowel works nicely, too

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TEST #6 – GOING FOR A WALK


Wait
Go out the front door
Come back in again
Go out
Come back in again
Go out again
Walk down the front path
Walk back up it
Walk down it again
Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.
Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty Kleenex, cigarette butt, tree, car, dinosaur, dead insect, bird and monster dream along the way.
Retrace your steps
Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbors come out and stare at you
Give up and go back into the house.
Weep quietly in the kitchen

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TEST #7 REPEAT EVERYTHING YOU SAY AT LEAST 5 TIMES

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TEST #8 – GROCERY SHOPPING (MOMS ONLY)


1. Go to your favorite grocery store. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child – a fully grown goat is an excellent choice, If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.
2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.
3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

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TEST #9 – FEEDING A 1 YEAR OLD (MOMS MOSTLY)

1. Hollow out a waltermelon
2. Make a small hole in the side
3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side
4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes or Spaghetti O’s and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an airplane or a determined “choo choo”.
5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.
6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor. We suggest a decent spray of foodstuffs on the wall and ceiling will also work well.

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TEST #10 – TV (BOTH PARENTS)

1. Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Dora, SpongeBob, Teletubbies and Disney.
2. Watch nothing else on television for at least the next 5 years.

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TEST # 11 – MESS (MOMS MOSTLY)

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains
2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look?
4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor & leave it there.
5. Take a Magic Marker and draw on the wall
6. Draw pictures of dinosaurs and firetrucks in old, rare priceless books and family heirlooms

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TEST #12 – LONG TRIPS WITH TODDLERS (MOMS MOSTLY)

1. Make a recording of someone shouting ‘Mommy’ repeatedly.   Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mommy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet.
2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4 years.

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TEST #13 – CONVERSATIONS (BOTH PARENTS)

1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.
2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mommy tape listed above.  Have a “Daddy” tape handy, too)

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TEST #14 – GETTING READY FOR WORK

1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.
2. Put on your finest work attire.
3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it
4. Stir
5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt
6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture
7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel
8. Do not change (you have no time).
9. Go directly to work
10. Fall asleep at your desk
11.  Weep silently at the copier

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