Read an Excerpt
The Family Compatibility Test
Fun Questions for Couples, Moms, Dads, and Kids to Answer Together
By Susan Adams
Addicus Books, Inc.Copyright © 1997 Susan Adams
All rights reserved.
Who is that androgynous baby on the Gerber's jar, and why is it staring at me? How testy we can get when we discover we can't serve linguine to a three-week-old, we don't care to puree all of Baby's vegetables, and we recoil from touching slimy toddler hot dogs! Now is the time, probably pre-gestation, to measure your eagerness to explore the world of midnight feedings (other than your own).
If you decide to become parents, "Rock Around the Clock" will no longer simply be a golden oldie. It will be your song. You'll be rockin' 'round the clock all right, not to mention diapering, feeding, and bottle washing.
And, by the way, can you say "bye-bye?" I hope so, because if you become parents, that's what you can say to calling the shots. So many things you won't be able to control — crying, wetting, spitting up — but your personal problems will have to wait. Baby's desire to hang from your pierced earring or kiss Fido on the lips while shoving an aspirin up his nose will demand immediate attention.
As for receiving recognition as Wonder Parents, when friends and relatives thunder past the hospital room on their way to the nursery, take the hint. Baby, now and forever, is the main event. You were just the warm-up act. With that thought in mind, I offer a few questions for consideration when visions of your own blessed event start dancing in your head.
1. I want to have a baby
b. within 2 years.
c. within 3-4 years.
d. within 5-7 years.
e. within our lifetime.
2. During pregnancy, Mommy will probably put on
a. 20 pounds or less.
b. 20-35 pounds.
c. 35-50 pounds.
d. who's counting?
3. A mother-to-be should quit work
a. immediately after the doctor confirms pregnancy.
c. late pregnancy.
d. when she goes into labor.
Taking Lamaze classes is a prerequisite to giving birth.
Husbands belong in the delivery room.
6. I think I would feel as comfortable nursing, or watching my wife nurse, in public as I would
a. reading a book on the subway.
b. campaigning for my favorite politician.
c. dancing naked in church.
I'm sure our insurance policy has maternity benefits.
8. I've read of parents who name their child several days after his or her birth. I think this practice shows
a. the desire to make absolutely certain the name fits the child.
b. patience and flexibility.
c. procrastination and indecisiveness.
We'll take turns diapering, feeding, and bathing the baby.
Spit up nauseates me.
11. For our newborn, every night we will need to get up
a. not at all.
12. If I put my newborn down to sleep at 7:00 P.M., I expect him or her to be asleep by
a. 7:02 P.M.
b. 7:30 P.M.
c. 8:00 P.M.
To stay on schedule, I will wake a sleeping baby for a feeding.
14. Colic is
a. my hairdresser's problem.
b. unreasonable, constant crying.
c. a male child's name, British derivative, similar to Colin or Chad.
d. a part of the body associated with the process of elimination.
e. severe abdominal pain.
15. After a bottle, Baby needs to be burped
a. for as long as I have time.
b. for 2 minutes.
c. for 5 minutes.
d. until Baby burps.
16. The duration of an average nap is
a. 30-60 minutes.
b. 60-90 minutes.
c. different for each baby.
d. until I feel like getting up.
Every toddler needs a pet.
18. Baby's clothes will be, for the most part,
e. doll outfits.
19. Weekly childcare will probably cost
a. under $25.
d. more than $150.
20. Potty training should begin
a. at 9-12 months.
b. at 12-18 months.
c. at 18-36 months.
d. when the child says, "I think I need to go to the bathroom now."
21. I expect Baby to stop taking naps at age
22. If my toddler starts climbing out of the crib every night after bedtime, my child probably needs
a. a later bedtime.
b. more of our attention.
c. reasoning with.
e. new parents.
23. I expect to feel comfortable leaving my baby with a sitter when our child is
a. 2 days old.
b. 2 months old.
c. 2 years old.
d. old enough to go pick up the sitter.
24. The bottle should be relinquished
a. at 6-9 months.
b. at 9-12 months.
c. at 12-18 months.
d. at 18-24 months.
e. when you find yourself drinking often and alone.
As a young mother, I loved Gerber's Blueberry Buckle dessert; so did my little daughter Alyson. Sometimes, I actually gave her a couple of bites. However, she was not nearly as enamored of beets. Initially enticed by their festive look, she took a beet bite only once and deeply regretted it, as did I.
If you have a child, you'll know when he or she doesn't care for your latest culinary offering because you will be wearing it. If the food is truly loathed, a full-body shudder may accompany its slow expulsion, resulting in coated baby, coated clothing, and coated high chair. Sometimes this is cute and funny. Sometimes it is gross and disgusting. These differing perspectives depend on whether you are the recipient of the splattering or just an observer enjoying the show.
Note: Don't eat your favorite Gerber dessert in front of your baby if you don't plan to share. Or at least make sure Baby is securely strapped in the high chair.
Setting the schedule (if you decide to have one) of your child (if you decide to have one) — what a hilarious idea! What you will be able to do is to monitor your baby's schedule so you can adjust your life to it. A personal example: I believed my two-year-old needed a daily nap. (Okay, I believed I needed a daily nap.) My two-year-old did not share my opinion on either count. I read a magazine article suggesting I gently rub her back until slumber overcame her. If sleep was not forthcoming, I was to press ever so gently on Baby's little back "to discourage her from arising from the crib." More accurately stated, to prevent her from escaping, purple-faced and shrieking, from her bed, her room, and her house. The article didn't warn of the maternal distress I would feel as I bellowed, "Hush, little baby, don't say a word; Mama's gonna buy you a mockin'bird." I finally gave up, got caffeinated, and we bounced off the walls together.CHAPTER 2
Now We Lay Us Down to Sleep
When I was young — a shallow, hopeless romantic who had not yet discovered her own inner beauty — I expected when I married to sleep in my makeup every night to sustain the tenuous illusion that I was attractive. Reasoning that marital bliss was 90 percent dependent on my physical appearance (the remaining 10 percent based on how well I cooked), I planned to spring, pre -sunrise, from sheets to shower, then redo my makeup so my spouse would never have to experience the "real me." Fortunately, in recent years, all of us have been delivered from such shallow measures of our worth, haven't we?
But still, bedtime preferences, habits, and expectations abound. Some of them, you and your beloved undoubtedly have discussed. Others, you just may be too tired to talk about.
1. When we don't go to bed at the same time, I feel
c. happy because I can spread out.
2. Nightwear, at its best, consists of
a. nothing at all.
b. a top only.
c. a bottom only.
e. a nightgown or nightshirt.
3. My favorite material to sleep in is
4. Nightstands are for
a. clocks and lamps.
b. clocks, lamps, and telephones.
c. clocks, lamps, telephones, books, and newspapers.
d. clocks, lamps, telephones, books, newspapers, watches, glasses, and dishes.
I wish we did more cuddling before we went to sleep.
I wish we did more talking before we went to sleep.
7. I think we usually go to sleep
a. too early.
b. too late.
c. about the right time.
d. too fast.
I'm tired of the comforter/bedspread we have now.
9. At bedtime, I wish you didn't spend quite so much time
a. in the bathroom.
b. with the kids.
c. on the phone.
d. reading/watching TV.
10. As far as snoring goes,
a. I'm glad we don't.
b. we should look for a "cure" — pillows, tape, appliances, maybe an operation.
c. it doesn't bother me.
d. it's the reason I haven't slept in years.
11. Your snoring sounds like
a. a gentle spring breeze.
b. a chain saw.
c. a runaway freight train.
12. I would describe myself as
a. a sound sleeper.
b. a light sleeper.
c. an average sleeper.
d. a restless sleeper.
13. I would describe you as
a. a sound sleeper.
b. a light sleeper.
c. an average sleeper.
d. a restless sleeper.
I've heard you talk in your sleep.
15. At bedtime, I like it when you
a. wear Victoria's Secret.
b. wear cologne or perfume.
c. have just gotten out of the shower.
d. have just shaved.
16. At bedtime, my favorite color on you is
17. In our bedroom, we could use more
I love flannel sheets.
I like to eat in bed.
20. When I get into bed, I usually feel
e. fairly satisfied with the day's work.
21. Our bed is
a. too big.
b. too soft.
c. too short.
d. too small.
e. too old.
f. just right.
g. too firm.
22. When I was growing up, at bedtime
a. one of my parents usually told or read me a story.
b. one or both of my parents kissed me good night.
c. I usually put myself to bed.
d. I talked to my brother or sister.
23. If you read in bed or watch TV when I want to go to sleep, I feel like
a. it will take me twice as long to fall asleep.
b. we should both be going to sleep at the same time.
c. I will subconsciously be committing the David Letterman show to memory.
d. it's no problem.
24. One of the nicest things you do for me at bedtime is
a. talk to me about my day.
b. say you love me.
c. rub my back.
d. hold me.
e. turn down the bed.
f. kiss me good night.
Whatever your bedtime preferences, one thing is certain: rarely does reality match fantasy. Believe me, I know from my own daydreams....
With every fiber of my being, I long to languish in a steamy bubble bath, using little soaps shaped like seashells. As I gracefully emerge, all-abubble, my beloved and I are enchanted to see our reflections shimmering in the glistening globule floating atop my tummy button. Moments later, deliciously perfumed and powdered, I slip into a black lace teddy. Glimpsing my image upside down in the mirror as I try to find the teddy's snaps, I realize I AM Victoria's Secret! The sheets are silken, the candles scented, the air tingling with the anticipation of conjugal bliss....
But wait! 'Twixt fantasy and reality, my inner frump appears; she knows she is me and me is she and we are we together. (She always was a big Beatles fan.) She exits the shower slightly irked after running out of hot water and rinsing her hair in cold. Testily, she puts on a frayed terry cloth bathrobe and decides on a green clay mud facial mask and maybe a couple of cucumber slices for her eyes. Feeling all woman and giddy with cleanliness, she spritzes on a little Eau de Gauche and lies down to let the pea -green mask, now dry and cracking across her face, work its wonders. Soon, hearing footsteps on the stairs, she rushes to rinse off the mask. Pores agape, she slathers a different night cream on each feature.
Moving toward the bed once more, she is finally prepared for what is to come. Her hair is gathered on top of her head, not fetchingly with a satin ribbon letting gentle tendrils wisp about her face, but rather in a ponytail secured with a red rubber band from last night's newspaper so her neck won't sweat while she sleeps. Her husband enters the darkened room, throws back the comforter, and eases himself between the sheets. Then he asks for the same thing he asks for every night. Reluctantly, she gives him what he wants — his earplugs.CHAPTER 3
Painting the Town: Red or Mauve?
What's entertainment? Shakespeare in the Park, or twofers at the bar? Bowling and beers or the symphony and Beef Wellington? What makes a restaurant "nice"? No ketchup bottles on the tables? No English on the menu and an accent on the waiter? And by the way, do you believe all movies should be seen at twilight? Have you ever drunk from a finger bowl or danced on a table? What's really fun?
Let's strip away the genial facade of "I don't care what we do Saturday night." You do care, don't you? In your heart of hearts, you know you don't want to see another film with subtitles. What you really wanna do is slap on some knee guards and a pair of in -line skates and hit the streets! But, in the spirit of compromise, at least consider skating over to that foreign film festival.
I wish I knew more about
a. ballet and modern dance.
b. the opera.
c. fine wines.
d. the Packers.
2. I would like to take dance lessons
a. at a country-western bar.
b. in a group.
c. with a private instructor.
d. when pigs fly.
3. When we have people over, my favorite activity is
a. having a meal together.
b. just talking.
c. watching sports on TV.
d. playing cards or board games.
e. waving goodbye
4. One of my favorite evenings with you was ________________________
5. Dressing in formal wear — gowns and tuxes — makes me feel
d. dressed correctly for some occasions.
6. When the menu is in a foreign language, I usually feel
a. as if I'm going to embarrass myself by ordering a bowl of butter for dinner.
b. fun and adventurous.
c. as if I've walked into the wrong place.
d. like leaving.
7. The one fun thing we used to do a lot that we don't do anymore is ________________________
8. Valet parking is
a. a necessity.
b. an extravagance.
c. a welcome convenience.
d. appropriate under some circumstances.
I would travel out of state to see an art exhibit, a concert, or a sports event.
I'd like to try karaoke in front of
a. my soap on a rope.
b. my friends and family.
c. an audience of hundreds and a spotlight.
d. a friendly club crowd.
I can imagine doing stand-up comedy on amateur night.
12. Tickets to Broadway shows are
a. worth every penny.
b. too expensive.
c. a waste of money.
13. My favorite type of concert is
a. the symphony.
c. church choir.
d. rock'n' roll.
14. I would stand in line for concert or sports tickets for
a. under an hour.
b. 1-2 hours.
c. 2-4 hours.
d. as long as it takes.
I wish I'd been at Woodstock.
16. My idea of a perfect evening out with you includes ______________________
When we go out, I think our evening usually starts and ends at about the right time.
18. My favorite type of cuisine is
a. American — steak, potatoes, beer, and apple pie.
e. American soul food.
Most fun evenings happen spontaneously; they don't need much planning.
20. At a restaurant, the longest I'll wait for a table is
a. 10-15 minutes.
b. 15-30 minutes.
c. 30-45 minutes.
d. 45-60 minutes.
Going out with several couples is usually more fun than going out by ourselves.
22. On the most romantic evening we ever spent together, we ________________________
It is not necessary to actually understand the lyrics of a song to enjoy it.
24. One thing we've never done that I think would be fun is ________________________
25. If money were no object at all, on our next anniversary I would like to ________________________
I enjoy socializing with relatives.
27. On some of our best dates, we have gone
b. sailing or boating.
f. to play tennis.
28. A fair tip for good service is
a. 10 percent
b. 15 percent
c. 20 percent
d. 25 percent
Excerpted from The Family Compatibility Test by Susan Adams. Copyright © 1997 Susan Adams. Excerpted by permission of Addicus Books, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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