It’s funny that no matter how grown up I feel, no matter how many meetings I attend or washing powders I buy, my parents are still the most important people, the first people I turn to. Even now they impress and amaze me with their clear ability to just do anything from new business ventures, fixing the clutch on my car, my mum’s precision with the iron and a needle and thread and a shopping trolley. She knows exactly what to say and do; he is a master of the tool box and I wouldn't even know where to begin.
I always swore that at 25 I wanted to be married and ready to start a family, I was so sure I would be mature and settled, I was so wrong. A year and 2 months away I still think a bottle of Lucozade and half an apricot croissant constitutes a balanced breakfast, I only buy fabric softener and pasta and shampoo based on the picture on the box and I haven’t had a pot plant last longer than a couple of days. I killed a cactus for Christ sake. I put my money into handbags not hedge funds, I haven’t been in a relationship that lasted longer than a handful of dates in two years, I’m not entirely sure my landlord would even allow me a small cat let alone a real life baby into my central city studio flat.
I’ll admit that I cry through every single episode of One Born Every Minute too, it’s terrifying and loud and undignified. I know it’s the miracle of life and they’ve just produced this beautiful baby but find myself screaming “Put some pants on for GODS SAKE” through a face full of tears while I peer out from behind a cushion.
I can’t even wee if there is someone in the next cubicle.
So what happens in the future, the far future, when small crying companions are a potential reality? In very much the same vein of the peen-nuptual I believe all women should have potential new suitors sign before bedroom antics (with full working illustrations) I strongly believe that compulsory testing is the only way to make sure I’m really qualified to create, to procreate. And who better to learn from than my own, incredible parents. Open your textbooks and turn to page 13, we have a lot to cover class.
I will be required to sew in a straight line, sew buttons onto a coat, demonstrate three distinct sewing patterns – I will also be tested on the quality and content of my kit on assessment day. I will need to be able to prepare no less than 4 delicious meals from only 3 basic ingredients, I will have one half hour to complete a full Waitrose shop to include enough food for 10 days and a surprise supper guest at the end of the week. I will look beautiful every day, dress beautifully every day and I will be tested on my ability to make a Barbour and wellies look sophisticated. I will be able to read at a rate of 2745 words a minute, I will pick out only the most brilliant of books and will be able to discuss at length. While peeling vegetables and feeding the cat. I will be able to answer all questions on all subjects, I will be able to explain the purpose of a sanitary towel and not make nappy jokes and without blushing. I will inspire, I will be able to make any small –or not so small – person feel wonderful and talented and important. I will let people crawl onto my lap for an A* grade cuddle no matter their age. Or size. Core skills will include getting the family pet to "talk" down the phone.
And what about him. He will only pass the test when he can sharpen a pencil with a knife – without slicing his fingers, how do dads do that? He will have to be able to calculate 2 different routes for any given destination without a map and with an A road alternative, he’ll have to be able to identify animal prints, bird’s nests, he’ll be able to turn any green patch into a beautiful piece of garden. He will be able to resist 29746 requests fora pony and then be wonderful enough to know the right moment to give in; he will however have zero command of a horse and must be able to withstand trampled feet without even whimpering. He will be tested on his creativity when building tree houses and go carts, he will have to be able to carry heavy loads on his shoulders for 100m relays, he will be able to lay down the law in one minute and say how proud he is in the next. He must be voted handsome by a minimum of 6 preteens, he must be able to come up with a minimum of one funny story per evening to share before bedtime, his spaghetti hoop preparation will require a 2000 word piece of coursework titled “Why these are better than baked beans and why I won’t serve baked beans ever again”.
You see, I’m going to need a revision plan and some intensive after school mentoring in the future if I’m ever going to pass the Parent Test.
I have pretty big boots to fill after all.