Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Think it Over, Baby!



Last Wednesday, Austin (my 8th grader) brought home a "Think It Over Baby" for his Life Skills class. These life-like dolls are about the size of a real infant. They weigh 6 1/2 pounds and have floppy heads that need to be supported just like a real baby. The high-tech dolls are programmed to cry and fuss at all hours of the day and night. The only way to stop the crying is for the student to hold their wristband with a special key in it (that's applied by the teacher and can't be removed without obvious tampering), up to the doll's back until it beeps. When it beeps, the student needs to figure out if the baby needs to be fed, have his diaper changed, be burped, or be rocked. The student then places the bottle, with a sensor in it, against the baby's mouth, or they change the diaper, also with a sensor, etc. until the baby coos and falls back asleep.



These dolls are also equipped with indicators that record the student's activity with the doll. Did they feed him? Change him? Support his neck? Or did they get frustrated with the crying and throw the doll outside for the night? The data recorded on the doll lets the teacher know if the student properly cared for the "baby" and determines their grade on this assignment.

Austin had a hard time at first, trying to figure out how exactly the doll worked. He didn't get the key on his wristband to connect with the doll's back at first and the doll's cries escalated into full-blown screams. Despite the fact that Austin's gone through 5 siblings' screaming and crying fits over the years, listening to this doll scream really stressed him out. The next morning, he said that he didn't sleep all night because he was worried about missing the doll's cries. LOL! Welcome to parenthood! Now multiply those feeling 100 times for a real baby.



This program is designed to make kids stop and think it over before engaging in sexual activity. I think most all students would agree that getting up all night with the baby was not fun and they're not ready to be parents. Still, I don't think this program (at least not by itself) will actually deter kids when it comes right down to it. This little assignment reminded me, however, of why I'm done having babies.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I too brought home baby think it over. However at the time our school was transitioning from the old babies(which just took a key to operate that you had to hold in place for the WHOLE feeding) to the new babies(like your son has) so each student got 1 week with the old baby and one week with the new baby.

Don't know if they told him this but sometimes those babies can be soothed by being rocked in their car seat, much like a real baby.

Now i must say that baby think it over is NO WHERE near a real baby...both of my daughters were much easier than a baby that had colic for a week.

Brianna.

Jessica said...

That's hilarious! Lots of parents must enjoy watching their pre-teen deal with the same baby hassles we've dealt with!

jenn in sc said...

what grade is Austin in? We dont have anything like that around here. I know it isnt completly realistic, but I think it is a great idea. I have an 8th grader who has SO many friends with babies already or who are pregnant. Here I thought I was way early getting pregnant in 11th grade. I have never hid that from her. And that (and younger siblings and strong faith) has been great driving reason to wait.
@jennhoop

thoughts and ramblings said...

what happened to the good ol "pet rock" or "pet egg" that we had when WE were teenagers?? LOL

That baby is kinda cute. I want a babydoll for my girls that's that interactive. :)

EmilytheCreative said...

Boy, have those babies come a long way. Back when I did that assignment in school (high school) I had to carry around a sack of flour that had a diaper around the bottom of it. Let me tell you, I looked cool carrying around that thing freshman year. Totally.

Ashleigh said...

I actually had one of these in 10th grade for my Child Development class, and I got a defective one. Even doing everything I was supposed to do, it still cried. So all weekend I left it under a pile of laundry until the batteries died.
Man that thing was awful. One of my baby sister's had colic, but thing was extreme!

Jennifer in Wisconsin said...

They need these available to give to husbands that say they want one more kid and the wife is DONE!!!

Anonymous said...

My daughter got one of these and had to work. Her solution was to let a friend "adopt" the baby. Fortunately the friend took excellent care of the baby but my daughter had to explain her life didn't have time for kids.

Then my son brought one home a year ago. The diaper sensor was broken. What a nightmare. Fortunately it quit crying when it was feeding time and the diaper issue reset itself or something. I called it the "crack baby from hell"

Kara said...

I am so glad that I only had to use a 5lb sack of flour when I did this in school lol.

Jennifer said...

I found myself telling him to pick it up also. :) I can see how this could stress a kid out. That was great.

Genie books said...

I think Austin should be exempt from this assignment. The oldest of 6... he knows what goes on. LOL

Paige Y. said...

I have a good friend who was offered the opportunity to use these dolls with her life skills class but didn't like the whole concept. Her explanation: "They teach that babies are bad -- they are a pain to take care of. The problem is that babies are good -- they are wonderful -- it's just that having babies when you are a teenagers is bad."

MaBunny said...

After 5 younger siblings, and then going thru that experiment, I bet Austin will be great when and if he decides to have kids when he is grown up...Sounds like you are doing a great job with him Dawn!

Steph said...

My daughter brought one of these babies home for her Child Development class. Yikes! What a pain. Maybe I'm too old to remember or my daughters were "perfect", but I really don't remember my girls not being soothed easily. This "baby" was impossible to please. I babysat for a little while and felt like throwing it across the room. I agree with you, I don't believe they deter what causes babies, only give the children a little knowledge about what kind of care a baby needs. Love your blog and am going to give your book to a coworker as a birthday gift. Not my copy, obviously!

Kirsten said...

whoa, that crying made me cringe. Yup, I'm done having babies too!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

When kids have sex, they are assuming a baby won't happen. So this sort of project will not have the desired effect, in my opinion.

8th grade, though? I'm shocked!

Letty said...

This was hilarious! My high school offered a class that did this (over 10 years ago) but I never took it. I thought it was funny he didn't want to hold it- reminds me of my younger brother who never wanted to hold my babies anywhere close to him!

Jaclyn said...

I had the old version of the doll when I was in High School. We only had to doll for three or 4 days. Each day the teacher would change the settings on the doll. I didn't get very much sleep either because I was worried about it crying and when I was able to give it back to the teacher I kept on hearing that baby cry for many days after wards.
Many of the kids in my class would slip their bracelets off and give them to another classmate to take care of.
I think it is a good idea to show a child some of the things you will have to do while taking care of a baby but I also think they need to do something more effective. I was only given this doll in a Life Skills class and I think it should be mandatory for everyone to have this doll as well as a sex education CLASSES.

Mary~Momathon said...

My daughter's friend had Baby Think It Over last year as a Jr in High school, that same girl now has a 3 mth old baby.

WhisperingWriter said...

Oh my. Austin has more patience than I do. I'd have been shrieking, "What do I DOOO?"

Not that I ever yelled that with my own kids. Okay, maybe I did a few times. But I left the room first.

Rebecca said...

My school got rid of the 5 lb sack of flower/your favorite doll with a 5 lb weight during my year.

... I was so mad. The babies weren't quite as interactive - you only had to turn the key in the back - but I was terrified I was going to fail. I had rehearsal AND I babysat because I had mine over a weekend. One of the children I was babysitting decided it would be funny to shake the baby. ...Thankfully I caught her, and the monitor did not record abuse!

Steph from AZ :] said...

Ruh-roh...haha how much longer do you need to have that wonderful bundle of joy in your house?
Thank goodness I never had to do anything like this for school--I'm fairly certain my mom would have taken it and left it somewhere to die. Or left the house herself...anything but have to be near it for more than 5 minutes!

Hopefully after 6 kids, though, you'll have learned enough patience to not take either of those routes! (haha, hope that's not too much wishful thinking :] ) Good luck!

Diana said...

My son (the extremely hard sleeper) brought his home when he was in the 8th grade. Everything was OK until I went to bed. That baby started SCREAMING, I couldn't wake my son... I almost broke his wrist trying to get the key in the baby's neck so I could get the baby to SHUT UP.
My husband found me in the living room, rocking a plastic baby, and finally got my son out of bed!

Rick said...

I've met a few parents that would gladly loan out their "I Wish I Had Thought It Over Baby" to Austin, if he'd like to practice on the real thing.

Jen said...

I've always said parents should rent their toddlers out to the schools instead of using robotic babies. (not really of course!) Sure, getting up with a baby several times a night can be a pain, but both my kids were way more work when they hit the terrible 2's. My 3 year old can't be left unattended for half a second without causing a HUGE mess. Yesterday she dumped a whole (brand new!) bottle of hair detangler on our sofa. The week before she got into a can of frosting and smeared it everywhere. I'd much rahter have to sit on a couch holding a crying baby! LOL.

Eric said...

I really hope that this is not the total extent of sexual education children get.
I agree with one of the comments here that most kids will not associate sex with having kids initialy.
*start rant*
Having lived in 4 different countries and associations with a a few more I can say honestly say that the US, with it's current methods of sexual eduction, is very ignorant.
The responsibility is on the parents to talk to their children about sex, the consequences it can have, it's purpose, feelings associated with sex, practising save sex and everything else.
Just telling your children to wait until they get married is so clearly ineffective that I honestly cannot understand why the average american is surprised that the US ranks in the top of the world for unwanted teenage pregnancy. If you want to blame all the sexual content on TV then you should have a closer look at a few European countries with more sexualy explicit TV and much much lower teenage pregancy levels...

*end rant*

erinsmerchek said...

My husband wants to know if he got a "pretend wife" as well. He said if he had a pretend wife and baby in 8th grade, he would of been single for the rest of his life!!

Anna said...

True, that Baby will not deter any teenager from doing "it". Have you given your children the birds-and-bees talk yet? And what about Baby-prevention? ;-)
Why do you not talk to his teacher and let them babysit Brooklyn for a while? The way you talk about her sometimes, she might be a good method of family planning. JK!

Cheryl said...

Grandma! You're calling your grandbaby "it". What are you thinking?? He has a name!! :)

Susie said...

I LOVE HOW AUSTIN keeps trying to stick the bottle in his mouth. That is sooooo funny!

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

My son's girlfriend is a high school junior...hers did not have the wrist band, but it was pretty sophisticated. She has decided to remain childless. :-)

Vanessa Rogers said...

I think that is such a great idea. I would like to see a study of students who took one home to see if there is any effect.

Goldibug said...

LOL! I remember doing this too but they've advanced the dolls some. Our keys were so easy! They were attatched to an elastic and you placed them them in the babies back. We found that if you twisted the dolls arms toward the sky just right they'd keep the key in place for you so you could go back to sleep until you heared the baby coo. Life was so much easier when the kids were really dolls LOL!

MissCRegrets said...

LOL! Oh my goodness! My oldest brought home the baby and,like Austin got no sleep all night! What worried her was not supporting the doll's head properly which read as neglect or abuse. I did tell her that she was no where near so difficult at night. But she did learn a big lesson about how difficult it is to care for a baby.

Anonymous said...

All I can think about the whole time-is what would it Cost if he lost / damaged it? way more than a new book I bet- good luck-

Bridget said...

ok, so in 7th grade (10 yrs ago) I had the same project where I brought home a baby and had a chip in it that monitored everything you did to the baby but mine only cried! I can't believe now you have to feed them, burp them, etc. I thought my week with a baby that only cried was miserable but I feel for Austin. Hope he didn't throw that baby out the window becuause I almost did!

Colleen said...

Good Lord!!! My daughter got one of those things when she was in middle school. IT WAS PROGRAMMED WRONG so her wrist band didn't match up. IT CRIES ALL NIGHT LONG. We finally put it under a pile of blankets so we could sleep. SHEESH!

Cindy said...

I share your pain with the "think it over" baby..My 17 year old daughter had to bring one home as part of her child development class and it was HORRIBLE...she also couldnt get the bracelet to chime and was up ALL night trying to stop it from crying..it took 15-20 minutes to feed it..she was so stressed she wanted to stay home...LOL

Tiffany said...

I had a baby think it over my senior year. Except, mine was a CRACK baby think it over. It was tiny, cried constantly, and was harder to soothe.

Julie L. said...

i took one of these home back in 8th grade too. for even more extra credit we had the option of having a baby whose mother was a crack addict while pregnant with him/her. though i didnt take the crack baby home, that experience (coupled with other ones) has led me to believe sterility is the best thing for me.

Michelle said...

Oh I am so not looking forward to this assignment one day. Poor parents!

And yeah... that alone isn't going to stop the kids from engaging in sex. Did you hear about the "consensual" sexual activity up in my neck of the woods with the 14 year olds? I want to just skip teens entirely!

Evelyn said...

Thanks for sharing i needed a laugh

Chelf said...

I was in 11th grade I think, when I got the Pretend Husband. There were two classes divided badly. My friend's class had two hubbies to each wife, and my Pretend Hubby had two wives. Yeah, there is a lesson!

We got an egg. Mine came back with the sprig of hair glued on as the only original part...PH killed my egg! Had a friend who named his egg Arnold Schwartzen-Egger. Ha.

TMWW said...

I think the baby idea is an excellent tool to teach children exactly what it is like to have to deal with a newborn baby in the house. It's not as easy as we make it look!

You can always tell Austin that my two boys ages 9 and 6 are available if he ever wants to babysit. I guarantee you that you'll never have grandchildren from him once he spends 72 hours with them. They are the proverbial poster children for birth control!

Anonymous said...

I had decided long before I took that thing home many years ago in high school that I didn't want kids. We were all required to take it home for a day or two, and guess what? I have several friends from high school who have had babies (one two weeks ago, another is pregnant currently). I don't think it worked, somehow. Regardless, mine only cried 3 times, once during the night. My cat would attack it when it cried, as well. That was weird.

LMarie said...

I took home the Baby Think It Over during my... I can't remember if I was a Freshman or a Sophomore. Anyway, it was one of those over-the-weekend deals, and my baby was defective. It recorded that I had successfully rocked it a number of times when I hadn't actually, it would cry (not the fussy cry) but refuse to accept any care, etc. My teacher acknowledged that it was doing things it wasn't programmed to do but for some reason in her mind that admission didn't mean that the baby was defective and she made me take the 81% rather than letting me do it over again.

This complaint being made, apparently I'm defective too because I was so happy taking care of that little robot that if I could afford it, I would buy one for myself. I've been fighting baby fever for years and years now. I'm 19 and I know that having a baby at this point in my life is a really bad idea, but in my case the whole "look how much of a pain in the butt babies are" goal failed miserably. Even with the frustration from the baby's programming being defective, I was still in no way emotionally deterred from wanting a baby.

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