Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baby Alive

My oldest daughter is taking a Child Development class (she's a sophomore) in school and it appears this week is her week in "the hot seat" as she brought home her "project" yesterday:  a 12 pound lifelike baby for whom she is responsible.  It is life like only up to a point:  it cries, it eats, it needs to be burped, it has sensors that indicate a diaper change (without an ACTUAL diaper change), it has sensors that indicate that it's neck isn't being adequately supported.  And all these sensors feed a database that tells the teacher how well the child was cared for.

Now, I'm of the belief that the teachers set up "the hot seat" based on a student's schedule and activities. On of her friends played varsity soccer and was responsible for her baby during her soccer season.  My daughter is just gearing up to start her dance season and oh...guess what...she now has the baby.  OK...I GET this that babies, especially with high school students, are NEVER planned (or 99.999% of them aren't), so this needs to hit home.  But I wonder if it couldn't have been done in a more random way (like drawing straws).

Regardless, it has been less than a day and I'm already seeing the positive aspects of this and believe that it really should be mandatory for all high school students, girls AND boys.  She got home from dance practice (one of the managers "babysat" during practice) only to have to feed (half hour) burp (half hour) settle (half hour) and start all over again.  She managed to get some of her homework done during lull periods.  She came up this morning (after less than a full day with the baby) asking if she could skip first hour at school because the baby had her up at 430am for a morning feeding.  I said no.  This is life.  She needs to rename the baby Consequences because sex has consequences.  You don't get to skip school because you're tired.  Just like you don't get to miss meetings in the real world because you didn't get any/enough sleep due to children.  You adjustAnd hopefully you learn.  She should be counting her blessings that, while she is learning a tough lesson, it WILL be over with in a week.  The real thing would have her altering her life for the next 18 years and putting her though emotions that she didn't knew she had AND will never want to experience again.

My only beef with this experiment is the role *I* need to play.  Because she has a dance tournament on Saturday that will entail her being gone ALL DAY, someone has to take responsibility for Consequences.  And because it is a VERY expensive piece of equipment not just anyone, like, say a blonde 10 year old, would be capable of taking responsibility for it.   That leaves me and/or the husband dealing with Consequences.  lt turns into a major catch-22 for me.  I wouldn't mind so much if it were a real baby, because I LOVE babies, even crabby ones.  But since it's not real (THANKFULLY), I'm resentful at MY loss of time and freedom for a piece of plastic (and sensors).

I guess I need to look at this from the end-game position.  If one week of this cements in her head how much work a baby is and how not everyone is going to JUMP at the opportunity to take responsibility while she goes off and does her own thing, then it will be worth it.  At the 12 hour mark I asked if she had changed her mind about the 6 kids she was planning.  I believe just her expression confirmed that yes, perhaps she was a little hasty in thinking 6 was a good number.  And perhaps even at age 25, it is too soon to have children.  

Learning by doing ALWAYS seems to be the way to go.  Here's hoping this lesson sticks with her for 15 more years.

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