A friend recently told me she’s pregnant with her first child. She sounded thrilled and anxious. She is, as I’ve known for years, incredibly organized and efficient. She has been a standout in her job for several years.
“What’s the concern?” I asked.
“Everything,” she giggled.
As my children take one standardized test after another, I thought perhaps I would share a test-format version of what to expect when you’re expecting. No. 2 pencils ready? OK, let’s begin:
Question 1: Before the baby is born, you should:
a. Panic buy everything, including a crib and six months worth of food and clothing. You never know if you’ll be trapped in your house without access to the outside world.
b. Sleep as much as you can because the days of sleeping at your leisure are over.
c. Read everything you can about parenting and the delivery, and then realize that every process, including childbirth, can go off script.
d. Don’t tell anyone because people will write about you.
Question 2: When people give you advice, you should:
a. Write everything down because friends, family and strangers always know better and will enlighten you with wisdom that far exceeds that which you’d get on a fortune cookie.
b. Nod politely, say, “That’s a great idea,” and wonder what to eat for dinner.
c. Pretend your phone is ringing.
d. Ask them how many Nobel prizes their children have won.
Question 3: Taking Lamaze classes can be helpful because:
a. It allows you to meet parents who are older than you.
b. It allows you to practice breathing together because sometimes parents forget to breathe.
c. It’s so relaxing that you can doze off without punishment.
d. It gives you a sense of control that you’re unlikely to have in the actual moment.
Question 4: People generally love other people’s children unless:
a. They are sitting on a plane near them.
b. They have to do something for them.
c. The children are crying constantly and they don’t know why.
d. The children have dropped or broken something.
Question 5: Parents can be so tired in the early stage that they forget:
a. To take pictures of everything.
b. To feed themselves.
c. To go to the bathroom when they need to.
d. To revel in a new baby smell that will change into something much more challenging to the nose within a year.
Question 6: When you have a baby, it’s a great idea to:
a. Change jobs.
b. Move to a new city.
c. Start attending a new and rigorous educational course.
d. All of the above, because you’ll never have a chance to juggle more challenges at the same time than when a baby is born.
Question 7: The families of the father and mother are likely to:
a. Always agree on everything you should do for the child.
b. Never agree on anything you should do for a child.
c. See evidence of their family’s genes in the child.
d. Put small differences aside and enjoy the moment when they share a new relative.
Question 8: Once you have a child, you will:
a. Be thrilled when young children come over to play with your child.
b. Be worried that the young children who come over are sniffling.
c. Want everyone to bathe in Purell sanitizer before coming near your child.
d. Not be like me and will relax when people sneeze across the room.
Question 9: You know you’ve had a great day with your child when:
a. You keep replaying something he or she said or did as you’re preparing to sleep.
b. You actually go to sleep instead of passing out with Oreo cookie crumbs in your mouth.
c. You and your spouse are laughing, quietly, for hours before you go to sleep.
d. You can’t wait to start the next day.
Question 10: Parenting is:
d. All of the above.