What I learned from caring for a plastic baby

I had been waiting for this day reluctantly for a while now.

I could’ve done it weeks earlier, but found that every single time I had something taking up the weekend, whether it be rehearsals, performances, parties, or what not.

But today I could avoid it no longer.

As part of the health curriculum, I had to take care of a fake baby for 48 hours, or split it with a partner. (For your own sanity’s sake, I recommend splitting up the time.)

So on the 1st of June, I marched into my health teacher’s office and received my very own child: a baby girl. With it I received some diapers, a baby bottle, a bracelet, and instructions. It will activate at 4:00 P.M.

As I sat on the bus at 3:57 P.M. on my way home, I looked over my baby.

Hmm. About 7 pounds. Blue clothing, smiling features. It would start crying whenever it needed something, and I had to perform an action to stop the crying, such as switching diapers, or feeding it. How hard can it be?

At this moment I also began to ponder the purpose of this project. The idea of giving fake babies to teenagers revolted me. What the heck are they doing?! Preparing us for teenage pregnancy?! Jeez louise! And then people wonder why we have such high teenage pregnancy rates in the USA… Let us figure it out when we have real children ourselves!

Funnily enough, I would very well soon find out the purpose of this project.

At 4:00 P.M., the baby let out a little coo. A warning. It had awakened…

There is a section in “The Illustrated Art of Manliness” that deals with raising kids as a father. I remember reading one line that states that when a baby cries, a multitude of stress hormones flood the body, causing parents to feel stress until the baby stops crying.

So when the baby suddenly starting crying, I started feeling on edge. It only got worse as the cry rose in volume, rose in magnitude, to the point where I felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe it: here I was, being cowed and humbled by a mere plastic baby!            It’s insane!

I began to dread the sound of the baby crying. The baby makes the same sound every time it needs something, starting quietly, and building up, like a wave growing and swelling into a great tsunami of sound.

So as soon as I heard a little yelp, I started springing up faster than Usain Bolt on the 100m start and ran over to tend to the baby before it became too loud.

The worst part is when the baby needs to be rocked or fed. If it needs a diaper change, you swap diapers, it coos, boom boom, done. If it needs to be fed, however, you insert the bottle. And the baby drinks. FOR 5 MINUTES. Imagine sitting there listening to sucking noises. FOR 5 MINUTES. If it needs to be rocked, you need to gently rock the baby.        FOR 5 MINUTES. Not only that, but it needs to be held properly, with neck supported. And it cries the whole time.

It’s like they want us to put in real effort.

Oh, but the night… the night was the worst. The baby was sieging my fortress of sleep, battering its walls all throughout the night. I was woken up at 4:30, 6:30, 8:30, and 10:00 in the morning. Guess I didn’t need to set an alarm, huh?

It was here that I understood the purpose of the project. It was annoying on purpose. It was supposed to be stressing. I was supposed to be revolted. It was teaching me the price of consequences and poor decision making. Have sex without a condom? This is what you end up with.

So what can I take home from this experience?



One response to “What I learned from caring for a plastic baby”

  1. LongInBusiness Avatar

    I think it does not suppose to scare you away, but shows that raising a child is a hard work. The difficulties of the first year are nothing in comparison with what would come later though. Teenagers, in particular, should look in the retrospective, because they are still reared by their parents.


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