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Oh, Baby.

Remember those BabyAlive dolls that our little sisters, and possibly us, just had to have? Last night I had the pleasure of taking one home for myself. Except it did not have an on and off button and you had no idea when it would start going off next.

One of the elective classes offered at South is a Child Growth and Development class. Throughout the semester, students learn about pregnancy, birth, the development and caring of young children. As an extra credit assignment, students are given the opportunity to wear a ‘Pregnancy Profile’ empathy belly and/or take home the ‘Real Care’ baby for 24 hours.

I received the ‘Real Care’ baby, renamed Baby Cadyn, second block. Throughout the block it made a few cooing sounds, all of which scared me. Then at 10 a.m. Baby Cadyn went back to Daycare Mode. Daycare Mode is initiated throughout school hours and disables the baby’s crying and cooing. That is unless you fail to support the baby’s head, stimulating Shaken Baby Syndrome, which causes the baby to cry and fuss.

After Baby Cadyn’s Daycare Mode was initiated, the remainder of the school day was simple. When the final bell rang at 2:38 p.m., I knew I only had a short about of time before Baby Cadyn would be alive and vocal once more. Although I knew Baby Cadyn was to activate at three in the afternoon, it still caught me off guard. When the clock struck 3:00 p.m. I was driving alone down Highway 9. With no time or place to pull over, I was forced to let Baby Cadyn cry for at least five minutes straight.

After that major melt-down, Baby Cadyn only began to cry a few times. Each time I was able to cease the crying within minutes. Throughout the day, it seemed that Baby Cadyn did what most typical babies did, slept. Because Cadyn slept so often throughout the day, it worried me about the night to come. I had heard horror stories from other girls about Real Care babies waking up four to five times a night; for others they only woke up once. Fortunately, Baby Cadyn only woke up twice during the night: once at 2:00 a.m. for an hour and at 4:30 for half an hour.

Needless to say, it was a little bittersweet when I returned Baby Cadyn today. I was thankful because I would no longer be carrying around a seven pound baby or listening to him cry.  However, I was a little bit sad to lose the Real Care baby that I had became responsible for.