Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | November 23, 2009

Infant Simulator Good Idea for Teens

For a weekend, I got to be a grandmother to a baby boy named Nathaniel Fitzpatrick.  He is an infant simulator my high school junior brought home as part of a parenting class assignment.  From 4 p.m. on Friday until 7 a.m. this morning (Monday), we observed our 17 year old daughter change diapers, feed, burp and wake up every 2-3 hours at night with a crying baby. 

At first it was cute especially to our three-year-old who was actually jealous of a doll.  For the better part of 24 hours Nate (as my daughter affectionately called him) was the perfect baby.  He woke up every 2 1/2 hours like clockwork, got his diaper changed, ate and burped and immediately went back to sleep.  By Saturday afternoon, my normally hyper-active teenager was taking naps and wondering how she was going to take a shower and take care of a baby. 

She was accessorized with an unremovable bracelet synchronized with a chip inside the baby so she was the only one who could take care of him.  It was definitely interesting to see how she reacted to this weekend-changing event.  She did manage to take the baby grocery shopping with us and, thank goodness, he slept the entire time.  Otherwise, she didn’t leave the house the entire weekend.  She really got to see how tied down she could be with a baby.  Even her friends were calling to find out why she wasn’t at youth on Sunday.

By Sunday evening, she was getting frustrated because the baby had kicked into fussy mode which meant he wouldn’t stop crying for 3 minutes at a time.   Every 15 minutes he would cry nonstop for 3 minutes.  

What was the most interesting is how it affected all of our lives.  Even though she was the one taking care of the baby, we had to deal with a jealous three-year-old, wake up at all hours of the night to a crying baby, and live an interrupted life for a weekend.   However, the one thing I would change to this assignment is having the parents add those everyday chores to the mix.  My daughter’s only duty was taking care of the baby and herself.  Real life includes cooking, cleaning, laundry and all the other duties that comes with being a mother. 

I think she definitely learned that she is not ready to be a mother.  All the things that she takes for granted, like sleep and play and even basic needs, go unmet during the most inconvenient times.  With any luck, she will realize how much we sacrificed for her over the years, but three nights and two days is hardly a sacrifice. 



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