'Can I shut it off?' High schoolers learn how hard parenting is with fake bubs

Photo: Chippewa Secondary School/Facebook
Photo: Chippewa Secondary School/Facebook  

Looking after a baby - how hard could it be, right?

Well, as a class of high schoolers from a Canadian Secondary School discovered, pretty freaking hard. And they got to give their "babies" back.

The year eleven students from Chippewa Secondary School in North Ontario, Canada, took part in a "Raising Healthy Children" class where they looked after some very realistic newborns for the weekend.

And their experience will have you chuckling, wincing and saying "TOO REAL."

A spokesperson from the school told Essential Baby, "The students bring home one of the "Real Care" babies for the weekend to apply their learning for the caring for a newborn unit," adding that it's an "optional experience" that most chose to participate in.

"The babies cry, need to be held, rocked, burped, diapers need to be changed and they need to be fed. The dolls also record rough handling, abuse and temperatures."

Yep - learning how to care for a baby has evolved since Spike and her mates looked after eggs in Degrassi Junior High.

"Everyone is looking a tad tired this Monday morning," reads a post on the school's Facebook page, when the kids returned, weary and battle-worn after the weekend was up.
The teacher also shared some of the students' desperate text messages - and they're pure gold.
Let's take a look at how they fared:
"Can I put the child in my bag?"
"I've been rocking him for like 20 minutes and he is still whining."
"Do I still have to take care of him until Sunday?"
"It's on for whatever you picked in class today."
"So Lucy and I might of fallen down the stairs ... oopsies."
"Oops. Did she die?"
"Not that I'm aware of yet."
Text sent at 6:14am: "Hello Miss. Can you please shut off the child."
Response sent at a civilised 7:48 am: "Good morning. I can't shut off or control your baby."
Despite the above, however, the teacher says according to the data, the students did really well.
Oh - and Lucy survived the fall. Phew! 
"We really love this unit," the school spokesperson told Essential Baby "Great discussions and real-life learning. Parenting Education attempts to prepare us for the adventure of parenthood. Through the chaos that is child-rearing, we can reach out to find support, find humour in the crazy situations and with love and guidance, know that our kids will be ok!" 
The comments on the now viral post are also a treasure trove, with parents chuckling along and others reminiscing about their own fake baby experiences.
"Looking back I'm extremely embarrassed by this ..." shared one young woman. "I did the project over our highschool track and field districts weekend. I took 1st, and had the baby with me when they announced it, so I stupidly decided to ruin everyone else's podium picture but pulling a Simba. Oh the regrets of highschool."

"My son got an F cause he put his baby in his back pack and left him in his locker poor baby," one woman wrote. "But he did grow up to be a good father to his sons." 

"I had one of these babies in middle school and on the way home the bus was going more slowly after school," said another. "So the kids asked why we were going slow over the bumps and stuff. My mum, the bus driver, replies, 'I've got my grandson on the bus'. "Never have I had over 40 people turn around and look so quickly."

Others laughed that parenting ed classes have indeed come a long way.

"Ok I am like so old!" said one woman. "We had a thing kind of like this but we had a five pound sack of flour that we had to keep with us for a week. Always holding it, caring for it, couldn't leave it with anyone couldn't drop it, no matter what we were doing it was there with it. And God forbid the bag got home in it and the flour leaked out!"

For many parents, reading the texts was a step back in time.

"Their comments immediately brought me back to those first few days home with our first (real) baby...panic, exhaustion, frustration! What a great experience!!" said another.

While some suggested that the program needs to include older kids - just to increase the difficulty level.

"I think it would be even more effective if several parents of toddlers let these kids borrow the toddlers for 24-48 hours," one mum wrote.

 "Give them a mouthy 10 year old girl" said another. "My newborn is a breeze in comparison."