I am far from the realms of NCT classes, in fact I never made it to any with my first, despite being anally prepared, as my first born decided to arrive 11 weeks early. The ‘ping’ of a reminder to attend the ‘preparing for labour’ class on my phone almost brought a laugh as I sat and stared at my tiny boy in his little plastic box of wires and tubes. With my second baby however, I was able to partake in such a session, I was hoping this time round I could actually prepare myself for labour and deal with it like the supermum that I am. It still went tits up, obviously, but that’s another story.
However in the moments of reflection when I am battling a two and three year old who are hell-bent on bringing as much chaos to my life as possible, I ponder over whether we should really prepare parents-to-be with what may follow after the birth. I mean giving birth – yeah, that’s a proper fanny-changing moment but that process is fleeting. What follows however, requires a proper parenting 101.
So here’s what I think should be experienced at NCT classes*:
*this could be deemed as torturous to the childless adult, but be warned, this is real life.
OK, so this needs to be experienced over a few back to back sessions for a more realistic effect – create a nice cosy dark room, filled with hypnotic sounds and soothing lights, hand them a decent sized, perfectly butter-creamed cake (a representation of the delicacy of their beautiful baby to be) and prevent the delights of sleep from descending. They are not to put the cake down otherwise it will ‘cry’, they may stand and sway/rock/bounce with said cake, they may shush said cake, they can also occasionally sit down however prolonged periods of time with no activity will activate ‘crying’. See how you cope with that!
What’s the betting someone smashes their cake by the end of the sessions?!?
May this cake also represent the fragile state of your sanity, slowly chipped away at until you are literally a shell staring vacantly at the wall.*
*oh to stare at a wall in peace
The Tea Test
This is to develop and appreciate the taste of cold, or on occasion tepid tea (which is just as gross). The opposite of this would be scolding cups of tea but we don’t want to inflict physical torture on these poor unsuspecting parentals-to-be, they will have endured enough. Having made a cup of deliciously hot tea, may they indulge in getting nice and comfy ready to revel in such a luxury – as soon as they are ready to take their first sip a barrage of demands and tasks must be completed. Only once they have completed these tasks may then drink their tea – and they must drink it!
Soon they will appreciate the simple pleasures of a hot brew. To mix this up a bit, allow them the pleasure of having a warm tea in the confines of a bathroom, whilst someone is continually knocking and screaming on the other side of the door!
The Never-ending Laundry Pile
To lure these suckers in, a vast array of intensely cute newborn clothes are laid out ready to fondled by excited fingers as squeals of delight emits from their lips. That delightful, loving glow descends as the magic of a having a baby starts to feel ever more real – however for every item that they have touched the amount of clothes that they must then sort and fold starts to double. Every time they reach the end of a laundry basket – it instantly refills and then doubles again. Watch as the glow becomes an exasperated sweat of defeat as yet another pile of laundry needs to be folded. To add to the madness every now and again, someone may come along and mess up a neatly folded pile of clothes just for the hell of it.
By the end of this session the plan to never clothe their child becomes increasingly more likely – in fact items are rapidly being returned to avoid such calamities.
No one ever prepares you for the eventualities of a poonami and to comply with health and safety we wouldn’t inflict a faecally covered small being on them, however we can improvise. This task will be disguised as a simple dressing task whereby parents-to-be get to grips with the delights of poppers and buttons on multiple items. ‘Baby’ will need to be dressed ready for a winter walk so we are thinking LOTS of layers. As soon as they have completed such a task and as they bask in their glory, said baby will perform the ultimate shoulder-grazing poonami. The challenge will be to change, clean and redress said child, all while the clock is ticking, because such events tend to coincidentally occur when a vital appointment needs attending.
May the improvised health and safety checked ‘poonami’ also have the delightful stench to really shake the senses, I’m talking eye-wateringly pungent so it stings the back of the nose and you can almost taste it.
Expect utter chaos!
A simple task of tidying away toys and dishes in various small rooms, only for someone to undo all the work that has been done. Time how long it takes for these eager parents-to-be to give up.
Inform them that this will be their life, day in day out, there is no escape!
This session will be a series of challenges, one to test patience, two to test quick thinking and three, just to piss you off.
Parents-to-be will be set challenges as simple as to make some toast or a drink. ‘Easy’ I hear you childless adults sneer – however, how they serve said drink or toast will be challenged until it satisfies toddler criteria. Each failing will amplify the sounds of a tantrum taking place. They will know whether they have completed said task (on the correct-coloured fucking plate) when the sounds of silence descends. Allow 10 seconds recovery – next challenge.
End with a complex task of building a Duplo/Toot Toot/Lego structure to specific requirements, something that requires a degree in engineering to achieve. Complete, revel in glory and then be told its not wanted anymore – and can they go and make a sandwich instead. Watch as their soul is slowly destroyed.
If, by the end of such sessions should they still feel excited, congratulate them with a wave of vomit over the front of them and a turd-finding task.
The experienced parent knows far too well the ‘moves’ needed to escape a small child’s bedroom without being detected. To the untrained childless adult – let the games begin.
It’s basically a child-orientated escape room. Muster as many moves to escape the clutches of a small child pretending to sleep whilst avoiding; squeaky toys, creaking floorboards, obstructive furniture – oh and you will need to have pins and needles in at least one limb just to up ante a bit.
Once you have completed these sessions – you may now declare yourself ‘prepared’. Welcome to parenthood, suckers – you’re in for the ride of your life.
Documenting the trials and tribulations of being a mum to two boys. As well as misadventures through motherhood I like to ramble on about reflective moments in parenting, body image, my experience with a premature baby and whatever else I have enough brain power to waffle on about.