Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 7, Issue 13, Tuesday, March 27, 2012




E is for Essential Parenthood Requirements

Munize Manzur

You need to take a test before you are allowed to drive a car, fly a plane, or operate heavy machinery. You need a license to run a bank, start a business, hunt, fish and even own a television. Guiding a heavy bucket of nuts and bolts from point A to point B requires you to learn basic rules and regulations. However, guiding a human being from birth to adulthood -- from point Zero to point Twenty-one, if not more -- requires no such aptitude test. How does that make sense? The belief is that parenthood is something innate in all of us. However, it is the finer differences between procreation and moulding which decides the new generation's worth.

On any given day, proactive intelligent parenthood is a tough call. So really, if you're not cut out for it, you shouldn't go down that road. But of course, once you've become a parent, there's no turning back. Most of us just cringe or singe our way through it. Alternatively, some parents have been known to cling or sing their way through it. In short, we basically wing it as we go. To take this winging factor out of the equation and make it a winning formula, I think people should take an aptitude test on parenthood beforehand.

Here are the minimum requirements:

1) Candidate should have a flexible sense of hygiene. Slobbering kisses must be welcomed at all times but grubby fingers in the overpriced age-defying cream “to feel the ickiness of it” has to be dealt with swift justice.

2) Candidate requires a secret stomach compartment wherein leftover food from Child's plate that is eaten in a tired haze can be stored without any dire consequences to waistline.

3) Candidate must be willing to forego morning ablutions and drive Child to school at a moment's notice because the driver has called in sick or Child has missed school bus due to morning crabbiness. All and any PG13 mutterings by Candidate have to be in sotto voice.

4) Candidate should have a home-kit containing (i) long, thin tweezers for extracting foreign objects from Child's nostrils and ears (ii) bandages that make the 'ouchie' instantly better but don't hurt when stripped off (iii) magical elixir that makes hyper Toddler calm, picky-eater Child hungry and sullen Teen answer questions in more than mere monosyllables.

5) Candidate has to undergo a potentially risky, brain-compartmentalisation surgery to gain the ability to finish an office project while supervising Child's homework while fixing the dinner menu while carrying on an intelligent conversation with Candidate's best friend.

6) Candidate must take regular Robotox injections in order to mechanically smile through Child's social faux pas, such as: revealing family secrets to the class teacher; telling a bride she looks ugly with all that 'white makeup'; talking about natural gas emissions and other such bodily functions at a large picnic table.

7) Candidate must have selective hearing control -- superhumanly powerful enough to hear inappropriate language from a mile away, yet unable to pick up sound vibrations of Child whining in a car stuck in traffic for 45 minutes.

8) Candidate should be able to put personal fear on hold and bravely check under beds for boogie monsters and/or kill flying cockroaches.

9) Candidate has to be willing to share last piece of chocolate fudge cake with Child, regardless of who has had a tougher day.

10) Candidate must have soft lap for cushioning Toddler over bumpy roads; well-formed biceps to carry sleeping Child between airport transfers; zen-like patience for petulant Teen; and fierce ninja attitude for anyone who dares to harm Toddler/ Child/Teen.

A person who can meet these requirements is ready to start the Parenthood Chapter. The good news is once you assimilate these basic requirements for first Child, it gets easier with each subsequent Child.


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