Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pretend Babies and Life Lessons

For a while my now-15-year-old granddaughter has being telling anyone who will listen just how much she wants a baby.  I can't possibly convey how alarming these comments are to me, a woman who already finds herself finishing out the last years of her life raising someone else's children.  I can't live forever.

A few days ago we learned she would soon be bringing home an electronic baby doll as part of a class at school. I've always thought this could be a real eye-opener to a teenager who thinks only of how cute babies are, and doesn't consider the never-ending (and I do mean never ending) work involved in raising children.

The baby was delivered early.  I thought I had a few more weeks until the big day, but due to circumstances beyond my control the baby arrived yesterday.  My family has being trying to find time to drive to the mountains and enjoy the fall scenery for several weeks, and finally we thought this weekend would be a good time.  Not so with the unexpected arrival of our great-grandchild. Already the new mother complains about any attempts we make to get her into the great outdoors; I can't imagine making her go hiking on a chilly Saturday with a newborn in tow. Some things just aren't worth the struggle.

Last night we went out to dinner as we usually do on Friday nights.  (No date nights for hubby and me--it's almost always a party of four, one kids' menu, please.)  I thought maybe the baby would cry all through dinner giving my granddaughter a taste (no pun intended) of trying to eat with one hand while soothing a screaming baby with the other and fending off angry looks from other diners.  That's always been my experience with small children.  But no, my new great-grandson never made a peep throughout the entire meal.  My granddaughter enjoyed her meal without interruption and with the use of both hands.

After dinner we did what we always do to round out a nice, romantic evening with the kids--we went to Costco.

We were quite the sight-- a haggard old couple followed by a teenage mom carrying her baby through the store, and an embarrassed younger sister hanging as far back as possible. A few unpleasant looks were thrown my way by the other patrons who didn't seem to notice this wasn't a real baby. (Being the "mother" of this teenager, I'm sure this unfortunate pregnancy was my fault, just as has been every other bad thing that's ever happened in the history of mankind.)  But the baby never cried or whimpered at all.  My granddaughter's arms got tired after a while, but since she wasn't doing the grocery shopping she had the freedom to find a comfy chair and sit a while.  So far I was seeing nothing that would discourage my granddaughter from jumping into motherhood prematurely. 

This morning when I had so hoped/needed/planned to be enjoying a crisp, autumn day surrounded by God's beautiful handiwork,  but stranded at home with my granddaughter and faux great-grandson, I listened with astonishment as my granddaughter took a leisurely 45 minute shower, using all the hot water that I had planned to use for my own shower, and preventing me from getting started on the 7 loads of laundry I had to do today.  And her baby slept through every single minute!  I haven't had an uninterrupted shower in over 35 years.

I seem to be the only person who has been taught a life lesson this weekend:  even fake babies have a way of interfering with my plans.

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