Baby Think It Over

Baby DaddyAt the end of July 2011, four Cushing students participated in Baby Think It Over weekend, spearheaded by Human Development Coordinator, Catherine Martin, M.Ed. The “Baby Think It Over” program is a parenting simulation experience using computerized baby dolls. The students care for their “babies” for a weekend, from Friday afternoon until Monday morning, 24 hours a day. The dolls are programmed to cry at intervals to be cared for. This year the participants were four boys from the Atlantis and Endeavor classrooms: Brendan, Ryan, Will and Cameron. One of the fathers, Cameron, managed to hang in there with his “son” Jayden until the appointed time of 8:30 Monday morning.  Brendan brought his “daughter” Arianna home with him so his uncle and he could do the “”fathering” together.  His Uncle Josh is expecting his first baby in the fall.  All the boys were quite nurturing and took their roles as caregivers seriously.

The first “father” was done with the program on Saturday morning.  He said, “The first night the baby cried every two hours.  She woke up about 17 times!  I was awake all night. I was tired and mad because I had to hold the key in it to stop it from crying.  By Saturday morning I wanted to take the battery out and go to sleep. I’m not having a kid unless I adopt one that’s older and doesn’t cry as much.”

The second father did an excellent job for 30 hours. By Saturday night at 9:30 he was so tired he called to see if he could be dismissed from the program.  Although he felt like he failed, Martin assured him he did not fail; the point of the program is to teach the boys that they are not ready to be fathers. The time he did spend with his “son,” Erick, he was caring, nurturing and loving.  He admitted that, “I was tired and needed to sleep.  The baby’s crying was aggravating.  I have a lot to learn about babies.”

Father number 3 was the most caring and careful of the fathers.  One of the weekend days he passed on a trip to the beach because, “it would be too sunny for the baby.” Father 3 could be seen all over campus with his “baby” and the babies diaper bag; from sitting by the pool to pushing her in the stroller.  When reminded that he would have to give me the “baby” back Monday morning he said, “That’s going to be really hard.  I really like having her.” He made it with his daughter until 3:55 Monday morning.  On Monday afternoon he shared that he is definitely not ready for a baby.  “It’s a lot of responsibility and hard work – changing it and feeding it.”

Baby DaddyThe “father” that made it all the way did an outstanding job.  His baby did not cry once Friday night so when Martin came in to check on things Saturday morning, the only setting it seemed to work on moving forward was “DEMO”.  This meant the baby would cry about every 20 minutes to a half hour. Hesitant to leave Cameron with this all weekend, Martin let things continue because he really wanted to participate in the program.  Martin says “I thought by Saturday evening he would throw in the proverbial baby towel, BUT NO!!! He went the distance.”  The boys had to keep a record of every time the baby cried and his was two pages long.  He attributed his success to having a niece and nephew and his experiences taking care of them.  Cameron said, “It’s harder than I thought, but I did pretty good.”  And he did do “pretty good.”

However, he did say to Martin, regarding expenses for a baby when the time comes: “Baby stuff is expensive, but I could probably afford a baby with the kid’s income you get from the government.”  When asked what he meant by that and he said, “Doesn’t the state give parents money every month when you have a baby?”

Martin says: “Wouldn’t that be nice? Boy did I have some explaining to do!”

Overall, all the “fathers” know they are NOT READY to be part of the wonderful world of parenthood!
SCORE: Baby Think It Over Program = 2      Parenthood = 0

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