Students have been walking through the halls carrying fake babies, and others wonder why. The Child Development class students have made their own personalized infants and are taking them to all of their classes.
The students spent multiple days in class preparing the fake babies for their debut in the school. Two or three liter bottles were brought in and first filled with water. Then students had to attach a styrofoam ball, toilet paper roll, or actual baby doll head. Putting on the foam head was a much more difficult task than it appears. Summer Morgenroth, a Junior member of Child Development, describes that one had to take the cap of the bottle and twist it on the head to make an indention. They had to continue to screw the bottle cap into the foam ball until the hole was deep enough to attach to the bottle top. She says “it was kind of hard to make because that part was tedious, but other than that it wasn’t too bad,”. Next the students were able to personalize their babies by adding hair, eyes, skin color, pacifiers, clothes, and blankets. Each baby was unique. The weight of the baby varies from person to person depending on the size of the bottle, what head was used, and the weight of the clothing and blanket. A two liter bottle with a five inch styrofoam head weighs about 4.6 pounds, though each baby will have a different weight, slightly larger or smaller.
The purpose of the project is to teach the students how to care for the basic needs of a baby and to give them a look into the life of being a parent. The students have to carry the bottle babies around for a full day, and hold them throughout each class. They are required to support the head, and hold it as if it were a real child. After each class period students have to get their teachers to sign a slip of paper and give any comments if the child was not treated with proper care. Kaylin Banister, a Sophomore Child Development student, says that “you have to make sure your baby is protected from other people” and Cassidy Steadman, another Sophomore Child Development student, said that “you have to stress about moving and not hitting the baby’s head on anything,”. When walking in the crowded halls of school, other students would bump into the babies. Any dents or scratches on the babies result in point deductions for the assignment.
Caring for a child is a much bigger challenge than some realize. There were minor occurrences in everyday life that became increasingly difficult with a baby in one arm. For instance, some students noted that putting their backpack on or taking it off was hard because they had to put one arm in, then switch the baby to the other side and put the other arm in. Getting a pencil out or putting away a folder was hard too. If the student needed to use the restroom, they had to find a temporary babysitter in that class. During athletic periods, students had to rely on trustworthy babysitters to care for the child without dropping, denting, scratching, or breaking it.
Taking care of the babies may sound like an inconvenience, but they are definitely not. The students enjoyed the process of making and caring for the babies, along with the attention they received in school. Everyone was asking to hold or take a picture with the fake babies. Kaylin Banister said “I loved it and I’d totally carry around my baby tomorrow,”. It was a fun project and an eye opening experience as well.