A Parenting Experiment for Non-Parents

400-04372327THURSDAY WAS A GREAT DAY! One of my best friends welcomed his first child into the world, a baby girl right at 5 lbs and about 17 and a half inches long. From all accounts she’s a gorgeous little girl and by the few pictures I’ve seen I have to agree with that assessment. Of my friends in my immediate circle there are several that I would have thought would become fathers before this guy, especially given his rant in THIS BLOG about rabbits and the greyhounds that chase them, but he’s already taken to fatherhood well, feeding, changing, the whole thing. Truth is, we don’t know who will make good candidates for parenthood. We can make guesses based on personality and demeanor but who becomes a good parent is pretty much a crap shoot. Wouldn’t it be great though if there were some sort of test that you could take that would gauge your parental aptitude prior to making a kid and then finding out as you go? Too bad that doesn’t exist – or maybe it does!

In my last blog I mentioned that I went to the circus. For couples considering children I think a great homework assignment would be to have a date there; not a little traveling big top circus but the big arena deal with the Ringling Brothers name attached to it because that’s the one that draws all the kids – all 6,000 or so of them. Over the course of the evening you’ll be able to score yourselves in categories that all parents should have some acumen in, the following are a small list of attributes that you and your significant other can score one another on.

Parental Agility

You won’t even be in the arena yet before you’re tested on this one.  Say you and your date are walking up the block and you come to an intersection. Also standing at that intersection are two families with 2 to 3 kids each, they all have similar hair. One of the children, hyped up on circus anticipation, is dangerously close to the curb and traffic is going along as usual city pace. At that point do you think that you could accurately reach through all the kids to get the correct kids collar and yank him back onto the sidewalk before he/she becomes a memory in a scrapbook? Add extra points if you can do so without panicking, screaming, or flinching.

Herding Skills

Once in the arena, sensory overload is going to take place while you’re on the way to your seat. There are about 2-3 kids for every guardian inside and each of those kids are being pulled in every direction by bright lights and sugar filled treats. Kids will seemingly lose the ability to guide themselves, they will bump into chairs, people, other kids due to something I called “Treat Tunnelvision”. Tall people and support beams be damned, those children are trying to make their way to the object of their desire. Stuffed animal, lion shaped sippy cup, whatever. Meanwhile, the guardian’s job in all of this is to keep their 2 to 3 kids in front of them, keep their 2-3 kids out of harm’s way, and to keep from losing one of their own from mixing into the thousands of others. At that point, do you think that you could properly identify and keep your own ducks in a row fromthe 1500 or so feet from the arena entrance to your seat? Extra points if you don’t have to raise your voice.

Fiscal Responsibility

Remember what I said about the “Treat Tunnelvision”, well each of those treats has a cost – a steep one. See that LED light thing on a stick that swirls, spins, and lights up that you can probably find at a dollar store for $5.99 – its $30.00! That cute little 6 inch stuffed panda bear that you can get for $9.00 down at the mall – $27.00. How about that plastic sword over there that glows blue, then green, then red that you KNOW is going to tear up as soon as the circus is over – $45.00. From my experience as a non-parent at the circus, kids have no concept of money, children only have a concept of want, so they only see something shiny, or fluffy, or swirly, not something that is cheap and marked up 400% because you’re a captive audience. The test here is to gauge your potential ability to make it to your seat without going broke or at least going no higher than 50% of your Visa credit limit when the kid flashes the Puss In Boots eyes at you.

Kids are very good at flashing this look, be strong!


The show is over now. Children have been subject to pyrotechnics, bright lights, clowns, loud music, sword fights, motorcycles, lions, tigers, elephants, and an acrobatic midget, wait, little person for the last 3 hours. They’ve been eating cotton candy, lemonade, sno-cones, popcorn, and drinking soda the entire time…and they are AMPED. Little boys are swinging their $45.00 swords at each other in the arena concourse and little girls are fawning over their new $60.00 stuffed lion that’s too big to carry through all those exiting patrons and all of them are talking, no, screaming about everything that they saw to their parents who all have the “God, please, just get me out of here look on their faces”. You get outside and the traffic cop on the corner won’t let you cross yet because there’s so much traffic and that’s when you look at the watch and see that it’s 10:30pm on a Wednesday night and you won’t be home until 11:00pm at the earliest and you’re already dreading the “oh my god, these kids won’t be bathed and in the bed until nearly midnight and getting them up in the morning for school is going to be a nightmare” thing. And you get them home and the last kid is tucked in at 11:45pm but they’re still wired off circus sugar and you have to tell them more than once to “Turn off that overpriced swirly thing and go to sleep! I can see the lights from under your blanket!” The last kid finally drops off to sleep and you still have to get yourself together because you have a conference call at 8:30 because bosses love to have conference calls first thing in the morning before anyone is really coherent.

If you think you can make it through all of that, on top of the other items above, then you, my friend, just may want to start doing the horizontal mambo with your significant other with aims to make a child because this parenting thing might be for you!

So if the circus is headed to your town, get a couple of tickets and make it a date night. It will either be the impetus you need to start a family or the reason for you to go to shopping for birth control in bulk, one or the other.

Author’s Note: Skrap is not a parent; after visiting the circus the chances of such being the case slipped a few percentage points. Have a great day!

~thanks for reading

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  1. My experiment was to have my 5 yr old nephew for two months, two summers in a row! The hardest part by far was the everyday part. Damn kids want to eat every day! Two or three times even! And no matter how long you were at work, or what your day has looked like those little Puss in Boots eyes would be looking at you like “Auntie Nikki, will you read me a story?” I told him he better remember this when he gets older and his old auntie wants him to come by and take her to lunch. 🙂

    • Certainly, this isn’t the only test that one can take to judge their potential. That every day thing is REAL though! 🙂 Thanks for coming by and reading TiaO!!

  2. OK…as much as I spend on my god children…I fail miserably in the fiscal responsibility area. I need some coaching.

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