Judy Epstein shares the ten events of the Parent-athlon in this excerpt from Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms: 101 Inspirational Stories of Joy, Love, and Wonder
Enjoy the excerpt below by Judy Epstein from the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms: 101 Inspirational Stories of Joy, Love, and Wonder. Copyright 2011 by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC:
The Baby Olympics
Forget the Olympics. I have a real challenge for you: The Baby Olympics. Instead of the decathlon — ten events merely requiring speed, strength, and endurance — I propose a contest which also requires superhuman patience, bottomless goodwill, and the ability to function on chronic lack of sleep.
I give you the ten events of the Parent-athlon:
1. Getting Out the Door. You must get yourself and your baby up, dressed, and out the door before dark. Any contestant in danger of succeeding will no doubt be spit up on (or worse) by her baby, and have to return to the starting block.
2. The Car Seat Toss. In this event, contestants stand outside the open rear passenger door of their vehicle and hurl a ten-pound car seat — complete with strapped-in infant — into place on the seat. Points will be awarded for both accuracy and speed. Contestants missing the car altogether will be disqualified.
3. Grocery Shopping. In place of the 110-meter hurdles, we have the infinitely harder attempt to get through a grocery store with your baby in the cart. You are scored on the number of items making it to checkout that haven’t been mauled beyond recognition by a drooling infant. Extra points for actually securing the items you went in to purchase. Points off if your baby pulls down the wall of soup cans because you foolishly wheeled your cart close enough to read the labels.
4. Diaper Changing. A cross between the hog-tie and wrestling, this event will separate the parents from the wannabes. To fully test their skills in this area, contestants are given a baby who insists on rolling over on the changing table, clutching the side, and standing up — when not reaching down into his or her own dirty diaper. Contestants are graded on cleanliness and speed. Points off for letting the baby roll onto the floor.
5. Finding a Place to Change the Baby in Public Buildings. Female contestants will have an unfair advantage in this event, as men’s rooms with baby-changing stations are still almost nonexistent. This does not bother the judges, however, due to the lifelong injustice of there never being enough stalls in the ladies’ room.
6. Stroller Derby. The winner of this event will have memorized the locations of curb cuts, flights of steps, tree roots, uneven pavements, and revolving doors on her local course, and will be the first to get back to the starting place without catapulting the sleeping baby out of the stroller.
7. Fifty-Two Hundred Pickup. Lasting most of the competition day, this event consists of following your baby around the gaming area and picking up whatever he or she has strewn about the course — generally the pieces of a toy you have just painstakingly put together. Bonus points are awarded for the retrieval of car keys, cooking utensils, and food items less than a week old.
8. Feeding Time. Defined as the depositing of food in the general vicinity of the baby, this event is scored similarly to horseshoes: three points for every spoonful in the baby’s mouth; one point for food landing elsewhere on the baby. A finite number of spoons will be provided.
9. Bath Time. The main objective of this event is to tire the baby enough for the finale. The amount of water on the floor at the bath’s conclusion will be weighed and subtracted from your score. Swimwear is advised for serious contestants.
10. The Bedtime Marathon. An endurance test, this event can last anywhere from fifteen minutes (in your dreams!) to several hours of rocking, singing, storytelling, pacing the floor, and rocking again. Strict drug tests will be conducted on the contents of that bedtime bottle. The winner of this event will be allowed to collapse, fully clothed, on her bed until awakened by crying once again.
The winner of all ten events is truly entitled to call her- or himself the “World’s Strongest Parent.” However, there is one more difference between this and that other competition. There, the winner can rest on her laurels for four years, until the next Olympiad. Here, even the winner must get up and do it all over again in the morning.
Let the games begin!
For More on Parenting:
- Tina Fey on Being a ‘Crazy’ Working Mom
- 6 Tips on Getting Your Pre-Baby Body Back!
- Breastfeeding and Formula Can Go Hand-in-Hand, Guilt-free!
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