There once were elective classes offered in school called Home Ec.
I learned a little sewing, some typing (my favorite of course), possibly some actual economics (which I’m sure I slept through) and to finish off the semester, we had to “care” for a raw chicken egg for a week. We had to make little carriers for our egg, choose the sex and name for it, keep it with us at all times or pay for a “babysitter”.
The lesson was that looking after a “thing/helpless person” isn’t as simple as you think.
If your egg dropped, your grade dropped.
Obviously, this project led to great lengthy daydreams about what we were each going to do “some day” with our “real” family.
Once we found a spouse, of course.
Not so my children’s generation.
My daughter came home from school one day with a baby.
This was a “real” baby. Life sized, complete with diapers, bottles, carrier, stroller and clothes.
“Baby Daddy” sold separately.
“Real Baby” had to be cared for around the clock for a week.
“Real Baby” was cute.
“Real Baby” was a hit.
“Real Baby” was a computer.
Each of the “Real Babies” had a program that changed for every student. Much like a…real baby…you never knew what you were bringing home until it was too late.
My daughter’s child was adorable for exactly two hours.
Then all hell broke loose.
If you did not immediately cuddle the baby when it cried, the computer internally noted it. If you did not change the diaper when the poop alarm went off, it was recorded. If you could not get the baby to stop crying in a set amount of time, well, you’re grade and future as a human being was in jeopardy.
It occurred to my daughter that she wasn’t getting very much homework done. She had to bring Real Baby to the dinner table, which wasn’t comfortable, and trying to get Real Baby to go to sleep was simply not happening.
She came to me in tears around midnight, two hours after she would have loved to be asleep.
“Mom, make it stop!” she pleaded, pacing with the Real Baby in circles.
“Honey,” I said, “I don’t think I’m supposed to help you. Just do what you can.”
An hour later, she cracked.
She tossed Real Baby onto the couch and put her fingers in her ears.
“Lock it in the trunk! It’s broken! I can’t listen to that one more minute! I don’t care if I flunk the whole class!”
“Sorry kid,” I answered, “I don’t speak Demon Baby.”
Off she stormed.
Real Baby wailed from the cushions. I thought about the car trunk.
“Hmm. Now why are these feelings familiar?” I pondered.
The Real Life answer, of course, is to just lift my shirt and put a cork in it.
But that wasn’t going to happen.
Just then, her sister walked in. She picked up Real Baby and gave it a rock or two.
Real Baby must have liked it. It stopped shrieking in tongues.
We looked at each other.
“Just for one night,” she said. And she walked off with Real Baby.
Both my girls had their heads together the next day and Real Baby disappeared back into the school system that had spawned it.
The alternative project was a five page essay. It looked pretty easy now.
My kids don’t need lessons on sexual identity, methods, ethics, ideas or vocabulary that will expand their childhood horizons.
Don’t tell them sex can be a safe game to play, and you expect them to join in any day now.
If you really want to educate a kid on what happens when you decide to have sex…hand them each a Real Baby for a week.