For the next two weeks, the child has been tasked with the responsibility of pseudo-parenthood: he’s the father of a flour baby named, “Matthew”. And like many young dads, when he heard that he was going to be a dad he was far from excited. There are things he wants to do and having a baby to lug around is a buzz kill. He had a bit of a bad attitude about the whole thing, actually.
Today we purchased a 1 kg bag of flour and just like that, we expanded our family. Or at least our temporary responsibilities.
I write this with second degree burns on my fingers. Part of the assignment involved “making the baby look like you” which meant wrapping “Matthew” in Kraft paper so that he was brown. Then we gave him “curly” black hair made with pom poms from the craft store. And last but not least, googly eyes and a red pipe cleaner mouth.
In an effort to assist, I held the googly eyes while the boy squirted them with hot glue.
In his enthusiasm, he accidentally burnt me!!!
It was the only time I saw him smile.
Googly eyes and curses went flying all over the dining room!!
You can’t imagine how bad my fingers hurt!!!
For the next two weeks, “Matthew” will be going out to eat with us, and doing everything the boy does. He’ll be recording his experiences in a journal and assuming responsibility for the flour baby. The idea is to impress on him how hard it is to be a parent and care for a child. As I’m home and we have a maid, I’m fairly unconvinced that this is going to be the exercise in birth control and responsibility it is in the States.
Sorry, Mexico. But, being a parent in the US is one million times more difficult.
In the US there’s no one to help you 24-7. And even with a nanny it’s not easy. Homes aren’t designed around live in help. And even with help, there’s not an entire class of people wanting to live in your house and watch your kids at an affordable rate.
If the class had to participate in American child rearing the message of birth control and responsibility would be a slam dunk. With most of the class outsourcing the assignment as soon as they leave school, I’m less sure.
Ever the opportunist, as I was watching him assemble “Matthew” the boy looked at me and said,”You know mommy. I think I can make some money off this assignment.”
“Really?” I said.
“Definitely!” he said. “I’m going to open up a day care at recess so everyone can play. My friends can play and I can make money. I don’t think parenthood is so bad after all.”
He’s right. Burnt fingers and bad attitudes aside, it’s not so bad after all.