It's a rite of passage for 8th graders (13 and 14 year olds) in Laguna Beach, and other school systems in southern California, to have a weekend with an electronic baby, which is tethered to the teen by means of an armband with a sensor, meaning that the child, and only that child can take care of it from Friday afternoon until Monday morning. I must say it's a genius invention that really givers teenagers a taste of what it's like to get no sleep at night, being up to feed, burp and change the baby's diaper. I just hadn't imagined that Fiona's weekend would coincide exactly with my five-zero birthday, making me "Grandma" for the night.
Best laid plans, right? Well, the entire evening was exceedingly G-rated. I didn't even have a glass of wine in the restaurant (although I did when we got home) and thankfully, baby Sierra - yes, they have names - didn't make a peep all the way through dinner. That all changed at 10:30pm when we got home though... Poor Fiona was up all night. Me on the other hand? Blissfully sleeping, thank you very much.
Boys get these babies as well as girls, so everyone gets to share the misery, and there are white, Asian, black and Native American babies. Fiona's Sierra happened to be Native American and kind of cute really. I checked the website and found that the company provides other types of baby in addition to the "normal" ones. Sadly, you can have "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby", "Drug Affected Baby" and "Shaken Baby" with a clear head so you can see the brain moving around. Makes you shiver, but unfortunately that's reality.
It's a pity this fake baby isn't something that's routinely given to teens in Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama, but then again, there would be no reality TV shows about teenage mothers. As for us, I can wait a loooong time before I become a grandmother and even though Fiona did a great job looking after Sierra, she was glad to get back to school on Monday morning and dump all the baby paraphernalia.
I have another ten years before I turn 60. Maybe the Galapagos Islands won't be such a fantasy by then...