Wanted: Person for the job of Parenthood
By John Gray
Hours are flexible. That means your day will start when you hear screaming coming from the crib in the next room, and continue until the screaming stops roughly 18 hours later. Applicants must enjoy having food, milk, and occasionally urine, flung in you direction. Successful candidates must be fluent in “baby talk”. Example: “Baby gotta do da pee pee on ma ma?”
This job does not require a college degree, but a degree of ingenuity. Example: You may have to breast feed a baby in a crowded restaurant while eating linguine with clam sauce, with no hands and without anyone knowing it. This is especially difficult for a man. You must enjoy bending over and picking up spoons and cups from the floor. In a typical 20-minute meal they will be tossed to the ground a minimum of 800 times. Candidates for this position must be able to take ordinary kitchen utensils and turn them into a variety of transportation devices.
Example: trick the baby into thinking the spoonful of crushed peas is, in fact, an airplane or train. Qualified candidates should be able to couple this skill with the aforementioned “baby talk”. Example: “Choo, choo, choo, here comes da twain. Can da big boy open up da tunnel?” The right person for this job should have no pride.
The right candidate must possess superior skills fastening buttons and snaps and the nerves of someone on the bomb squad. Meaning you will be required to undress, change and re-dress a kicking infant in the pitch dark at 3am. In order to keep the child from waking everyone in the house you must fulfill this task in approximately 4.2 seconds.
Job applicants must enjoy watching educational videos that are geared toward a baby. These tapes will be set on a continuous loop and played over and over again causing your ears to bleed and your eyes to throb. Here is an example from an actual tape: “What starts with the letter B? Cat? No. Flower? No. How about bird? Yes, bird starts with the letter B. What starts with the letter C?” You will be convinced there are 1,200 letters in the alphabet and this tape is never going to end.
Proper candidates must understand that while your child-less friends will want to talk about last week’s episode of “C.S.I.” and “Desperate Housewives” you will be fluent in “The Wiggles” and know every character on “The Bear In The Big Blue House”.
If you care about how you look this is not the job for you. Applicants should enjoy wearing baggy sweatpants and t-shirts with the phrase “World’s Greatest Mom or Dad” on them. If you insist on wearing nice clothing it will be covered with applesauce inside of 10 minutes. While state law requires mandatory work breaks, this job is exempt. That means you might go days before you have an opportunity to eat real food, watch an entire television show or take a hot shower. The baby, however, must be bathed each day. You will need a firm grip, as a soapy baby takes on the same physical characteristics and texture of a squid doused in grease doing the Cha Cha.
Once the child has teeth you should expect to be bitten. Often, you won’t see it coming as it will be disguised as a hug. As much as you may want to bite the child back this is strongly discouraged. You are allowed to insult the child as long as you use a kind, high-pitched voice and offer the disparaging remarks in the form of “baby talk”. Example: “Baby made a boo boo biting da da, now Mr. Poopy Pants is going in the playpen for the west of da day.”
Should you decide to put “Mr. Poopy Pants” in his little cage for an extended period of time, you must watch him. By the age of two most children have Houdini-like skills and can escape from almost any enclosure.
Be warned! They will also talk to the animals in your home and conspire against you at mealtime. Example: if at dinner the child’s broccoli is suddenly gone you should immediately smell the dog’s breath. If you smell broccoli then the dog ate it. If you smell breath mints then clearly the dog and your child have been planning this caper for some time, and as a parent you are in over your head.
Parenthood candidates should expect to have a skewed view of right and wrong. Meaning, if your child is in the room with other children and there’s a disagreement over a toy, you will know for certain, and without any evidence, that your child had it first. If your child falls you will know instinctively that someone shoved him. If another child falls down, you will know instantly that your son or daughter has an airtight alibi and wasn’t near the incident when it happened. Besides, the other kid is obviously a klutz.
Finally, the proper candidate should get used to saying the following phrase: “I don’t care anymore.” Once you have a child, this little spiting, biting, conniving, broccoli-sharing creature will burrow inside your heart and become the most important thing in the universe. You used to play golf every Saturday, but now your son has a soccer game? “I don’t care anymore, I’d rather see him play.” Used to love meeting the girlfriends at the bar and laughing until midnight? “I don’t care anymore, I want to be home when my little sweet pea closes her eyes.”
Salary is commensurate with the size of your heart. The more love you give, the more you get in return. But please know that someday, after all you’ve done, they’ll meet someone special and leave your side. It will be the worst heartbreak imaginable…that is, until your daughter hands you the bill for the wedding reception.
Reading this job description I can’t imagine anyone wanting the position. Yet once you have it, you can’t imagine living your life any other way. Besides they can’t bite forever..
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writing at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org