Wouldn't it be great if all your hard work, sweat, tears and the odd bit of blood as a Parent actually got rewarded? If you could somehow pin your day's achievements to your sleeves? If you could give people a quick visual to prove that you don't just sit around watching daytime telly while your brain atrophies?
So, here are my suggestions for some Parenting badges, with syllabi...
1. Be able to give an answer to the question "What animals live at the very bottom of the sea?" before 7am on any given day.
2. Prepare an answer to two of the following questions, to be delivered during the school run:
a) What is underneath soil?
b) How do traffic lights work?
c) You know how people are gay? Well, why does that bus say "get over it"?
d) Can we go to Disney?
e) How many teeth do you have?
f) Why wouldn't people let Rosa Parks sit wherever she wanted on the bus?
g) Are baked beans one of my 5 a day?
3. Answer a series of questions, including at least three "Why?" questions without resorting to the following: because I said so, it just does, shhh Mummy needs to concentrate on the road, I don't know, I really don't know if I did know I would say so, ask your father/mother/look it up in a dictionary.
4. Be prepared to answer any of the following sensitive questions asked at high volume in awkward circumstances:
a) Why does that man look like that?
b) Do all old people die?
c) What is The Big Issue?
d) Is there a baby in that lady's tummy?
e) You know sex? How long does it take?
1. Choose one of the following vegetables and demonstrate how you would hide them in food:
2. Provide a packed lunch for one year without ever including crisps, chocolate, sweets or Capri Sun making sure you stay within the school's Healthy School Policy (Note: Healthy School Policy does not apply to revenue raising events run by the school, such as discos)
3. Cater for a child's birthday party including three of the following foods:
a) Sandwiches that won't be eaten
b) Pizza without any discernible topping
c) Sticks of cucumber and carrot to display prominently when other parents check your food out for healthiness
d) Orange coloured crisps
f) More cake
g) A birthday cake in the shape of a cartoon character/animal/musical instrument/tweeny pop idol
h) Fruit for the one kid who isn't allowed to eat any sugar until he's 18.
4. Prepare a selection of cakes for the fundraising cake sale using one of the following methods:
a) Lovingly baking a batch of cupcakes to avoid the cake walk of shame past other parents
b) Buying shop cakes, removing the packaging and doctoring them carefully so they look homemade.
c) Buying a load of Mr Kipling's finest and giving everyone a look that dares them to comment.
5. Demonstrate how you would deal calmly and sensibly with two of the following:
a) The friend of your child who is a Fussy Eater
b) The words "I don't like that" after 3 hours of cooking
c) the baby's patented method of scraping unwanted food out of his mouth onto the floor
1. For a period of one half term:
a) Ensure full school uniform is clean on Monday morning without having to dry any of it with a hairdryer
b) Arrive at school without having to sign the Book of Shame for late arrivals
c) Provide a coat if wet, gloves if cold, tracksuit if cold and doing PE, hat if sunny, sunblock if very sunny, all appropriate footwear.
d) Keep wallet/purse fully stocked for non-uniform day money, cake sale money, veg sale money, book sale money, school photo money, "Wear a picture of your dog to school day" money.
2. Complete and return a Sponsorship form with the correct money and without making up all the names on it and just writing a cheque.
3. Prepare a suitable costume for one of the following events:
a) World Book Day
b) Comic Relief Day
c) Multicultural Tokenism Day
4. Take the baby for a day out without having to borrow a nappy from a stranger or coming home with the baby wearing a muslin sarong because all other clothes are covered in something disgusting.
Prepare a child for their first day at school by naming everything they own in 4 separate places and enjoying their last nit-free days.
Take two or more children to a Family Wedding, ensuring that everyone arrives on time and no-one is covered in banana.
5. Without traumatising your child, perform two of the following parental duties:
a) Write a letter from the Tooth Fairy, and place successfully after drinking a bottle of wine
b) Take the family pet to be neutered
c) Remember to leave Santa's empty mince pie plate for the morning after drinking a lot of sherry
d) Visit a Farm, avoiding questions about what happens to the animals.
There are, of course, badges to commemorate each year in Parenting. They are as follows:
Year 1 - Coffee Lover
Year 2 - Wine Lover
Year 3 - Gin Lover
Year 4 - Whatever gets you through the day
Year 5 and so forth - Whatever.
Well done, Parents everywhere! Dib dib.