Monday, April 23, 2007

A New Grandchild

Only a temporary one. Whew. This was William's daughter for the weekend. She's one of those Baby Think It Over dolls. For Freshman health class all students get a choice of the baby or a report. William chose the weekend of parenting. She's the Native American version. I thought William should name her Turtle after the character in The Bean Trees, one of our favorite books. Instead he named her Chief Grand Cherokee. (All e-mails about the political incorrectness of this name can be sent directly to my son at

It was an interesting experience. Fortunately the baby comes with a key that is tied with one of those hospital bracelet type things to the new parent's wrist. The parent has to key in before any caregiving, thus ensuring that the little bundle of joy can't be pawned off on an unsuspecting friend, enthusiastic younger sibling, or gullible parent. Hurray!

The baby sounds are remarkably realistic. It was hard to listen to her cry. So I was glad that William took good care of her even though he didn't treat her like a real baby. He refused to bundle her up in the cold since it meant unwrapping her to use the key each time. And her legs were stuck up in the air like that all weekend because it made her easier to "service" apparently, and less likely that her neck would break. And he used the trick his friends taught him to "feed" her. They discovered the computer accepted the recognition chip in the diaper and the bottle were interchangeable. So instead of having to hold the bottle to her mouth, he just draped the diaper over her head whenever she was hungry. It made me feel sad to see her like that. I had to keep reminding myself - "Not a REAL baby."

Fortunately I've seen him in action with his four nieces and nephews and he's quite adept at keeping real babies safe, happy, and entertained, often without even being asked to do so. I always thought it was a shame that William didn't have any experience with babies when he was a kid. My other children were all old enough to remember William as a baby, plus we had lots of friends with small children. But William didn't have many opportunities to deal with babies. The few times he did, his reaction was to go as still and quiet as a statue whenever a baby or toddler came near, as if it was some sort of dangerous creature and he was thinking "if I don't move, it might not attack." What I didn't realize would happen was that his older siblings would start having children of their own before William was grown. In the last three years he has spent quite a substantial amount of time with babies and surprisingly, he no longer seems at all intimidated by the little monsters. In fact he's often more attentive than the rest of us!

My favorite part of this weekend was when I took William out to lunch yesterday at the local coffee shop. The waitress was quite interested in the baby and so we were discussing how the baby care worked. I casually commented "At least this baby, unlike a real baby, let's him get a bit of sleep at night."

He replied -

"Sleep! Just because you can't hear her cry, doesn't mean I'm getting any sleep!"

He grabbed up the graph sheets that he was required to use to write down the time, length, and type of care he'd had to deliver.

"Let's see. I fed her from 11:30 to 11:47. Then I had to burp her for a half an hour. I got to sleep until 1:10 and she wanted to eat again. After that I had to rock her for forty five minutes. Then she needed her diaper changed! She only slept for fifteen minutes before she wanted to eat again! By then it was almost 3 o'clock in the morning. I didn't get to lay back down until after 3:30. And she got me up again at 4:23. I don't think I got to sleep a whole hour all night long!"

The longer he went on, the louder I laughed. He looked at me like I wasn't taking him seriously and I laughed some more. He got irate and I laughed until I was so weak I was laying sideways on the booth seat.

Ahhhhh. Payback is so sweet.


Blogger Belita Rose said...

Oh, this is my favorite story in the whole world!!! Thank goodness not all babies wake up that much! Love you!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Blame It on Paris said...

That is hilarious! Not being entirely safe out of that stage yet (she still wakes up sometimes), I find it particularly hilarious. In fact, I would like to have a stock of those dolls, so I could hand one to any student who dares come into class complaining about how little sleep they got and it's not their fault their late. The PATIENCE teaching takes some days!

I, too, think Turtle would have been a good name. Well, thought so, until I started feeling sorry for this little doll.

9:06 AM  
Blogger JulieZS said...

Oh that is just too rich! I so fervently hope that my boys have this experience in high school. Much more realistic that the raw egg I had to take care of for a week in HS.

10:35 AM  

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