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Baby Thought It Over

Even a fake baby can bring out the worst in a fake grandpa ...

My daughter brought home a baby the other day, and I was none too pleased, let me tell you.
It wasn’t a real baby – not exactly – but it was very nearly as annoying as one. It was, in fact, Baby Think It Over. BTIO is a very realistic infant designed to show school kids what it would be like to deal with a real baby, without the mess and stress of actually having a real baby. As part of her child development class, Jillian was required to take the baby home for a full weekend.
Side note – we never had a child development class when I was in school. There was a home economics class, but none of the guys took it, except for those few who were smart enough to realize that’s where the girls would be.
Murphy’s Law being what it is, the weekend we drew for the baby was a holiday weekend – Halloween. Murphy being the kind of guy who loves a good laugh, Jillian and I both caught colds that weekend. I tried to get us out of it (the baby, not the colds), explaining to the teacher that it wasn’t good to expose the baby to germs, but she wasn’t buying.
Truthfully, I didn’t think it was a big deal. Yes, the doll is designed to start crying periodically, at intervals ranging from half to three hours, and you have to hold a key in its back until it’s fed, or burped, or changed, or whatever. But, computer chip or no, it was still a doll, and those have been around my house for years. (Not my dolls, mind you. Well, okay, the one, but I can explain.)
I didn’t realize what kind of trouble I was in for until my daughters started arguing over what to name the baby. I wanted to name it “doll”. Okay, I didn’t want to name it anything – it was a doll. But the kids turned naming a doll we’d only have for three days into a battle royale, until they finally settled on Trey.
“Trey?” I said. “That’s French for three. I don’t want one French baby in my house, let alone three. We’ll spend all our time bailing it out of trouble, and it’ll turn around and refuse to support us in our old age.”
Having no sense of history, the kids ignored me. Apparently all I was good for was holding the kid, driving it places, and handing out money. That’s when I realized I was a grandfather!
And let me tell you, I’m way too young to be a grandfather.
As advertised, Trey did indeed turn into a crybaby for the entire weekend. (Notice I didn’t make a French joke, here.) In fact, Trey would begin crying – loudly – at the most inopportune times, such as when we were in the car, the store, or the REM stage of sleep. From the next room, I would hear my daughter roll out of bed at 4:30 a.m., and I’d smile to myself … the best thing about being a grandparent is Sweet Revenge. It got even better when I watched the baby – um, doll -- while Jillian was handing out Halloween candy: the little angel didn’t cry once while under my care.
So there was certainly a level of realism. However, I think it would have been more realistic if someone could engineer, say, little diaper surprises, or projectile vomiting, to go along with those crying jags. Getting one of those dolls – we’ll call them Baby Grab a Towel – into the hands of every high schooler would probably result in a population implosion.
Jillian became one of those overprotective mothers, bundling the kid in every blanket we owned and demanding references of anyone who wanted to hold it. And everyone wanted to hold it. My mother – who kept referring to herself as “great-grandmother”, which somehow made me feel even older – rocked the doggone thing. Well – okay, I did too, but not when anyone was watching.
One of our jobs (notice I said our, even though it was supposed to be her) was to complete a checklist in which we were to list the price of every item ever made for babies, at any time throughout recorded history. The list was so long that volume 1 was just the index. In the hopes of getting all the prices for these items in one place, we drove to a place that I won’t identify, other than to say it had the initials Wal Mart.
We were there for so long that three different managers asked if we were the new associates in the baby section.
Probably the low point of the weekend for me was when my daughter and her friend, who my daughter drafted as godmother for the weekend, began comparing the relative costs and features of breast pumps. First of all, how many different features could there be? Second of all, can I please go to electronics until you two are done?
Trey broke into screaming jags several times during the eleven hours we spent at Wal-Mart that weekend. He could be heard – I know this for a fact – from six aisles away. I later found out that half a dozen people called 911 to report abuse, when really it was the baby abusing us.
According to our final calculations, it costs just over 1.4 million dollars to raise a single baby for one month, and that doesn’t include hospital bills. That, in itself, should be enough to make anyone Think It Over, Baby.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC)
(notice I said our, even though it was supposed to be her)

Your daughter's teachers probably told them upfront that the most important thing to learn over the weekend was how to con 'grandparents' into taking the kid as much as possible.

Real life training, in other words!
Nov. 11th, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC)
Actually, she had to get a permission slip signed by both the teacher and potential babysitter *before* she was allowed to hand the kid over for anything longer than a bathroom break. :-) She was never more than ten feet away from the little tyke -- and she was so paranoid about somebody harming it, and getting her a failing grade, that I don't think she would have let anyone really babysit even if we had offered!
Nov. 11th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC)
Wow. Glad we never had that in school. :P
Nov. 11th, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, me too. I'd have killed it, sure as can be. Of course, I can't even keep a plant alive ...
Nov. 11th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
I can't even keep a plant alive ...

Neither can I! :P
Nov. 12th, 2005 06:27 am (UTC)
Actually, I've got an aloe plant that's been thriving lately; I'm not sure how I managed it. Maybe I'm losing my brown thumb, but I still have a dozen or so empty flower pots in the garage to remind me of my failures!
Nov. 11th, 2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
It's my Party? Seriously?

You're fricking nuts.

But on the baby front, can I qoute another song?

"There May Be Trouble Ahead"
Nov. 11th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
Okay, truth in advertising: I was actually listening to music from the "Band of Brothers" soundtrack at the time I made that post. But I wanted a connection, and the "I'll cry if I want to" line from It's My Party was the first thing that came to mind.
Sadly, your choice is better. I'm so ashamed.
Nov. 11th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
According to our final calculations, it costs just over 1.4 million dollars to raise a single baby for one month, and that doesn’t include hospital bills.
When I was at school we got given bags of flour with faces drawn on them to look after. From which I learnt you can make pancakes by mixing half a baby with milk and eggs.
Nov. 11th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
You're not going to believe this ... but they've set the class up with another experiment, and for the next five days my daughter takes home an egg that she has to take care of. It's also got a little painted face, so I can't help thinking your kid and my grandkid would have made for great flapjacks.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 12th, 2005 06:49 am (UTC)
Absolutely, friend away! You can't have too many friends. When I was married we used to vacation at my wife's family's cottage up northeast of Traverse City along Lake Bellaire. Beautiful state, Michigan -- but I could never live there year round, because I hate the cold in Indiana as it is. Right now the desert sounds pretty good to me ...
Nov. 11th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
This has to be the funniest lj entry I've ever read - and the comments! Found my way here from curiouswombat's journal. Do you mind if I friend you? (PS - been through Kendallville, never been to Angola - been to Peru, though - and lived in Mishawaka for years, but I still consider Michigan home, having been born there and lived there many years as well. Right now, though, I'm living in the desert.)
Nov. 11th, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
I would have taken it to pieces and returned the bits in a box.
Nov. 12th, 2005 07:19 am (UTC)
Ah, but I've developed patience over the years -- plus, I knew it would make for a good column.
Nov. 29th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
*waves* Hi there - I came over to nose around your Lj (which sounds wierd, but you know what I mean!), and I came across this entry. LOL!!!

We have one of these babies at the College I work at to help the students who don't get the chance to work with a baby on the childcare courses I teach on to have the experience for a weekend. We only have one doll, so I suppose I'm probably it's mother (?!)

The first time one of the students took it out in the summer she managed to kill it (it doesn't like to be ignored!). I got a phone call on the Sunday morning asking me if it should be making a noise, because she'd taken it to a party on Friday night and it had been quite quiet since then.....
Dec. 7th, 2005 06:32 am (UTC)
Ouch ... I hope she learned a lesson about taking care of babies. But of course, that's what the doll's for. My daughter was paranoid the whole weekend -- hardly let the kid out of her sight. I'm hoping that will make her think twice about the whole baby making thing for a long, long time.
Yep, I suppose you're that baby's mother. On the bright side, it's still easier to take care of then a regular kid. :-)
Jan. 14th, 2007 11:55 am (UTC)
I was spared in the child compartment - considering how irresponsible both of the potential father-to-be's that I unwisely chose for husbands were, thank goodness for that.

2.5 to 4 cats and a whiny hubby is enough "Think It Over" training.

Cats stayed.

Well, okay, the one, but I can explain.
ROFL! That explanation I'd love to hear!
Jan. 15th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
I was about to say the doll thing was just a joke, then I remembered that I still have that Johnny West action figure from when I was a kid. Even though he was heavily armed, I think he still counts.

Considering what a grouch my youngest is being at the moment, I'm wondering how wise I was to wait for the vasectomy until *after* my ex-wife got pregnant. *sigh*
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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