It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Parenting Preparation Curriculum

Really. We have childbirth preparation classes. I found mine so useful that I eventually qualified to become a prenatal instructor, and did that happily for about ten years. Loved it! But are there Parenting Preparation classes out there? If not, there should be! A friend sent me this great curriculum outline this morning, and I thought I’d share it with you.

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have 75% of your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel…
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work. (Work hard and be productive!)*

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 4 – 7 months. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 3

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out…
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed and then rub them on the clean walls.
4. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
5. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 4

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this – all morning.

Lesson 5

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle Cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 6

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can accomplish this easily, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 7

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by
pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half the remainder into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine-month-old baby.

Lesson 8

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you’re thinking What’s ‘Noggin’?) Exactly the point.**

Lesson 9

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying ‘mommy’ repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each ‘mommy’; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 10

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the ‘mommy’ tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

*Doesn’t this one make you SO GRATEFUL for Canada’s full-year maternity leave? Can you even imagine going back to work when your child is four or six weeks old? Barbaric.

** Know what? I couldn’t do that, either. Why? We don’t watch television. Who has time?

January 31, 2011 - Posted by | parenting |


  1. That is too funny. I am tempted to send it to a friend that is pregnant for the first time, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

    We did take a “bringing home the baby” class for what to do once you have a baby. I still wasn’t prepared.

    Nothing can prepare you for the reality. Even if you have a ton of experience with other people’s children, your own is still a shock. If you don’t have that experience… Take the classes, I say, they’re useful and will smooth your learning curve a bit — just don’t expect to be fully prepared!

    Comment by Brie | January 31, 2011 | Reply

  2. Time and time again, I have been so relieved and rewarded that we do not let the kids watch tv. Of course it has led to “Read me a book…Please read me a book…I don’t wanna read it by myself…” ad naseum for several hours/days.
    So for me it is forgetting Lesson 11: Reading the same 8 page board book with three sentences over and over and over….

    Thanks for the smile!

    After twenty-five years of child-rearing, there are many, many books I can recite without even looking. A very large percentage are Sandra Boynton… 🙂

    Comment by Danielle | January 31, 2011 | Reply

  3. Bwaahahahaha! Hilarious!!

    Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!

    Comment by Merrilee | January 31, 2011 | Reply

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Julie Butcher, Merrilee Faber. Merrilee Faber said: *Dies laughing* Parenting Preparation Curriculum « It’s Not All Mary Poppins […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Parenting Preparation Curriculum « It’s Not All Mary Poppins -- | January 31, 2011 | Reply

  5. It is barbaric to require new parents, male or female, to return to work 6 weeks after a baby’s birth. The day we brought Christopher home from the hospital, Pete was on-call at work. Which meant he got a phone call at THREE IN THE MORNING (after we had FINALLY achieved sleep) to come fix something with the server (or something). He quit four days later.

    Ugh. Brutal. That must vary by employer, I’m guessing. We were living in the States when my eldest was born, and her dad got five days paternity leave. Not nearly enough, of course, but enough to get me over the ‘oh my GOD this baby is MINE I’m a MOTHER please don’t leave me ALONE with her’ terrors! 😀 Here, parents don’t get to both be off at the same time, but they can split the mat. leave, so quite a few of my clients choose to have mom home for the first months, and dad for the latter.

    Comment by Candace | January 31, 2011 | Reply

  6. Will you marry me?

    (I just snorted hot milk out my nose. I blame you. ;>)

    I wish I could take the credit for this, but I didn’t write it! I’m only sharing the joy! (Sorry about that milk thing…)

    Comment by Hi, I'm Natalie. | January 31, 2011 | Reply

  7. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

    Isn’t it, though?

    Comment by LoryKC | January 31, 2011 | Reply

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