At the age of 35, our local school district is responsible for making me a grandmother, my 60 year old mother a great-grandmother, which makes my 12 year old daughter a mother.
For the weekend, only. Her name is Layla.
My daughter is going through some Family Living program called “Baby, think it over” – geared towards teaching teenagers about parenthood and toward the prevention of teenage pregnancy by showing the kids that parenthood isn’t as cool as it may seem.
Does it seem cool? I can’t imagine that it does.
Anyways . . . . .
My daughter comes home today with Layla. Not just any baby — but bionic baby! Layla is electronic. She is activated at a certain time (we activated her today at 4pm) and she is ‘on’ for the next 72 hours. She has a head that goes back and fourth – – so if you don’t support the head…she cries. LOUD. She only stops crying after you’ve rocked her gently for at least 45 seconds.
Believe me – – Layla has motion sensors, so she knows if she’s being rocked or not. She’ll stop crying after being rocked — and start crying again if she hasn’t been rocked enough.
She cries if she needs her diaper changed. No – – she doesn’t wet or anything like that. However, the diapers have a sensor in them – – which reacts with a sensor in the baby’s back. There are two diapers – – each have different sensors. So you can’t just move the sensor around to make it think the diaper has been changed. It is expecting you to take the diaper off and put the new one (with the different sensor) on. That is the only way Layla will stop crying.
You know the baby’s needs have been taken care of when it coo’s.
Layla cries when she needs to be fed. She has a bottle that has a sensor in the tip — that reacts with a sensor in her mouth. She makes sucking noises when being fed – – and cries, immediately when you remove the bottle – – if she isn’t done eating. When she’s done eating – – she coo’s. You remove the bottle – – and she instantly starts crying – – because she needs to be burped, of course. You burp her by patting between her shoulder blades, gently.
Again with the sensors! She knows if you’re patting her – – and when she is done – – instead of cooing, she will burp.
Sometimes she will just be fussy and cries for no reason – – and won’t stop for up to 6 minutes. There is nothing you can do at this point except wait it out.
And, of course – – she sleeps.
She is programmed to do these things at various times during the 72 hours the ‘mother’ has the child. I imagine that my daughter will be a tremendous crank by the end of the weekend…because Layla has been activated for a total of 5 hours so far . . . and my daughter thinks that Layla has already lost her charm.
You can read about this program at this link: Baby, think it over
Oh – and my daughter has to wear a ‘sensor’ bracelet. It’s one of those plastic wrist bands, like the ones they put on you at the hospital – – ones that you can’t get off unless you cut it. It has a sensor in it, as well. So Layla will start to fuss and cry if her mother isn’t close to her. If my daughter cuts the bracelet off – – Layla will cry all weekend, non-stop.
Layla has a recording device inside of her which records the entire 72 hours. When she turns Layla back into her teacher – – the teacher removes the recording device and will be able to grade her on how long it took for Layla to have her needs met. She’ll be able to see if Layla was rough handled or neglected . . . or shaken. It will tell the teacher if Layla cried for longer than 60 seconds. That is how my daughter will be graded
I think it’s an interesting program. As I’m writing this entry – – my daughter came into my office with Layla, very upset because Layla has been crying for 5 minutes and won’t stop no matter what she does. My daughter was near tears herself – – frustrated….said she tried absolutely everything and Layla still won’t stop crying!!
I said, “Sometimes babies do that. They cry and fuss for, seemingly, no reason.” Then I explained the definition of ‘colic’ to her. I lead her down memory lane back about 11 years and 8 months and told her stories about a very cute baby girl who had colic and would cry for up to 2 hours at a time, no matter what the baby’s mother did to soothe her. It can be a very frustrating and helpless feeling – – but that particular baby’s mother never received a class on parenting, so she should consider herself luckier than most.
This should be quite a weekend around here!