Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm A Grandma.... Not Really

 Yesterday, I Became a Grandma.... Not Really, But it was as close as I hope to come to becoming one at this time in our life. Rachel's Home Economics class gives each child the opportunity to participate in the "Baby Think It Over" Program. I was surprised her school offered this and thought it would be a good idea for her to participate in it. 

There are so many programs on TV that feature teenagers pregnant or engaging in sex too early and it can sometimes make young ones get the wrong idea. I was a teen Mom myself and it was nothing like the tv programs I have seen and even the ones that shows the bad side of it can never really get our children to see & feel what you give up by having a baby at such an early age. I was supposed to go to school and become a surgical nurse. That was my plan. I had my mind set on it. Even after I got pregnant, I was told by my boyfriend (who was a Senior in High School) and his parents that his mother or older sister would watch our child while I completed my last year of high school so that I could start the Nursing School program that I was registered to start in my Senior year. Both of my parents worked during the day so it sounded like a good plan. Well, it did not happen.

I had to go to night school to get my final credit hours for high school. MY mother had to help and watch my child while I went to school at night and my "boyfriend" who wanted to marry me at first and "loved" me so much ..... well, let's just say he joined the Army and basically lost interest in the idea of having a baby or a wife to think about. I was a single parent for 6 years and it was hard even with the support I had. I worked while I was pregnant to try and help buy things before I had the baby and I went to night school afterward and was working at a elementary school as a SLD (Severe Learning Disability)  Teacher's Assistant for about 7 or 8 years before I changed career's and re-discovered my love of dollhouses.

I turned out fine and all but, I had to grow up too soon. I would not have made it if it weren't for my Mom & Dad and lots of older friends I had who helped me stay focused and realize that my life wasn't over, but just changed.  My family & friends helped me to refocus and reset and I think I turned out pretty darn good because of them.

So, after thinking about the choices I made and how it changed my life's direction, it was decided that Rachel would totally participate in this program.
Yesterday, she came home with an anatomically correct baby boy (it does not wet itself or anything though)  that has an electronic sensor inside of him. His head moves back and forth so if the head is not supported correctly, he cries VERY LOUD! When she came home, we thought the doll was broke because it did not cry or make any sounds for the first 2 hours. At that time, Rachel thought it was cool that she got out of doing the 3 page typed essay (which was the other option if the child's parent did not want them to participate in the program).

As the evening turned into night time, the baby would coo or just start crying. Rachel has a bracelet that has a sensor connected to it and every time she picks the baby up when it cries, she has to put the sensor bracelet on the babies back so that she can "check in" that she (the mom) is actually the one taking care of the baby. Then Rachel has to figure out if the baby needs to be fed or changed or just rocked.

Baby Drake, woke up at 10 pm last night and woke up every 30 min to be fed or changed or rocked until 12am. Then we all went to sleep. At 3:10 am Baby Drake woke up screaming. It's been 9 years since I had a baby so I woke up confused at first LOL. After 2 min of screaming, I got out of bed to ask Rachel if she remembered to use the bracelet first. She had forgot to do that so the baby was not registering the bottle she was trying to feed it because it has to be fed by the MOM which is why she has to check in using her bracelet before the baby acknowledged being fed or changed.

After that, when she put the bottle to the babies mouth,  the baby started making slurping noises because it was hungry. It was very loud slurping. Sarah was not too happy at this point so I went in their room and turned on some nice classical music and closed the door and Rachel and I went up front. It was funny because just like a real baby, it would stop slurping but if you tried to pull the bottle away because you "think" it's asleep and finished, it would let out a loud cry.

She fed & changed Baby Drake for about 30 min and finally at 3:50 or so, he went to sleep. 5 am I woke to hear cooing sounds but he did not cry. This morning Rachel was wondering if she could do the essay and not bring the baby back home today after school. We talked about her feelings and she said she was happy she has a time limit on this and that she could give the baby back to the teacher and that she does not have a real baby. There is a classmate that she has at her school that is really pregnant right now. I can't even imagine that in 7th grade. It was difficult for me at age 17!!

On the way to school Rachel expressed her love and appreciation for me and said she thought about how hard this could be but never knew it was really like this. I got this response from her after just the first night. After school today, she has her workout class and it's her favorite one but I reminded her that I can not watch her baby while she is in class so, she'll see if she can take it to class or she may have to miss it. She is not liking that idea at all.

Today I have bags and dark circles under my eyes, but I think it is worth it so far! LOL  I personally give the "Baby think it over" program an A+ and I wish more schools would participate in it and invest in this program for our children.

Television programs Glamorize sex and early dating. I have to screen the Disney channels because my 9 year old & 13 year old are too young to date or have boyfriends. I don't want these shows making my children think they are not normal. Most children do not act like those kids on the programs and the ones that do are not the ones I want my kids associating with because that is not the future I want for them. My youngest LOVES babies but after being awaken in the night by "baby Drake" even she can't wait till the doll can be given back to the teacher, never to be seen again LOL.

So far it is a Great learning tool and instead of me "telling" her with words about what choices she should make, now she gets to experience this on a small scale and understand "why" I sometimes frown at certain songs on her iPod, tv programs and even music videos. Now she can experience why the choices she make are so important. She has always been a good girl though, but looking back at my life, so was I.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog! Gotta do my workout. Today, Arms and Shoulders and Ab Ripper X.

Thought of the day ~ “Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen


Caseymini said...

Tracy, what a great entry. It's too bad that more schools don't offer this exercise in child care. I think that it would make a lot of young girls think twice about what they are doing. I thought that most schools that offer it have the boys participate too. I guess that each school is different. Maybe if the boys were made to take care of the electronic baby they would have a different attitude. Well said!heroob

MinisOnTheEdge said...

Hi Casey!! I wish more schools did this too! The boys also participate in the program at Rachel's school! If the parents do not sign the permission slip though, a child can not participate and then the child has to write a typed 3 page essay about child care.

chris v said...

Hey 'grandma'! Great story; too bad more kids dont' get these babies - for a minimum of a week! One night is only a small taste. haa!

MinisOnTheEdge said...

LOL Chris, Rachel and the baby is home now (half day of school today). I wish the dolls did more things. Her teacher told her she need to hold the baby more (she was able to look it up to see how well Rachel was doing). Rachel says she is not having kids till she is 30 but then she said she thinks not even then LOL.

Janice said...

What a fabulous idea. I think we have something like this in the UK but it is only offered to 'at risk' girls or in areas of social concern, and then not often.

Should be compulsory if you ask me I live very close to a town that has a huge teenage pregnancy problem (2nd in Europe I think), and these are families already living with educational and emotional poverty. The girls seem to see babies in the same way they view buying a new mobile phone or ipod!

A. Wright said...

Awesome post. It really does make huge difference to experience it first hand, the kids writing essays will miss out on a huge lesson here.

Tell Rachel, 30 is just fine. I waited till 32 and am much better equipped mentally, emotionally and financially. I really don't know how people do it alone. A huge Bravo to those that do, especially those who have well behaved children!

*runs off to be grateful for he helpful spouse and family members*

Sans! said...

Thank you Tracy, for sharing this wonderful story . Your stories , especially when they are about you, your life and your struggles are always so inspiring!

I agree with you, this is a really good program. Even though teen pregnancy is not as prevalent here, it is still a good program to have.

MinisOnTheEdge said...

Thank you all for your comments! Glad you liked reading it. The Baby is now gone and we had a Good nights rest last night... Finally!! LOL Rachel says she's not even having kids when she gets married. The baby kept her up a lot the last night with us. She was so stressed when she left for school yesterday with the baby car seat in hand. She was excited and did a Victory dance when she came home after school yesterday without the baby.