As of yesterday, I am now the proud great grandmother of a baby. I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. I wasn’t there for the blessed event. My husband transported granddaughter and her new child home from school yesterday, so I haven’t even had a chance to get a good look at him or her.
Of course I’m kidding. The child is simply a fake baby, provided by the school, to teach teens how to care for a child – how to be responsible for another human being – how to think twice about having one. The interactive program is designed to teach teens parenting skills; inform them of possible dangers and how to handle them; to prepare them for early childhood and health occupations.
I wonder if this is a fair evaluation for these young people. Are they really getting a clear picture of what this whole parenting thing is about? They aren’t going through an actual pregnancy, complete with morning sickness, cravings and size distortion. They aren’t experiencing emotional highs and lows associated with pregnancy. They are not sporting stretch marks and varicose veins. They don’t have to endure hours of contractions and water breaking. They don’t have to go through a birthing process. They simply get handed a baby and are told to take care of it.
In a way, I guess that’s what happens. Getting pregnant is the easy part. Going through a pregnancy is an inconvenience, but you know it will end. The hard part comes when you’re handed the baby, take it home and go through the process of parenting. There is no handbook or owner’s manual. You’re on your own. There are no two children exactly alike, so each experience is different.
We struggle through the yuck of changing diapers, cleaning spit up off our clothes, cuddling, comforting and nurturing, but the real parenting part has just begun. Now the parent is responsible for another life. Now they must find a way to provide for them. Now they must decide how to discipline and teach them. Now they’re embarking on a roller coaster ride that has so many twists and turns, they probably never would’ve boarded it in the first place.
Perhaps when they start giving out terrible two fake kids, or adolescents, there might be a little more truth to the whole situation.