Hayden had an assignment in Health class. Spend twenty four hours as the surrogate father of an anatomically correct baby that looks amazingly real, weighs about 6.5 pounds and is 21 inches long. It comes with a diaper and a snuggie, cries at random intervals and needs to be fed, burped and changed. A computer chip implanted in the baby records all the activity over the course of the 24 hours and Hayden wore a “hospital bracelet” with a matching chip to make sure he was never apart from the baby. The assignment started out ok until it was time for football practice. Of course, bringing the $1300 baby onto the field wasn’t an option so he had to find a babysitter. Did he question the boy who said he would watch his son? Did he get references? No. He took what he could get. Something went on during practice that he wouldn’t find out about until the next day. He arrived home with a slightly damp baby as it was raining and he didn’t protect the baby on the walk home. We were at the dining room table having dinner when he arrived and strategically placed the baby on the table and introduced us to Omari. His best friend back home is African American and he named his baby after him. We took turns passing him around the table, trying out our new roles (grandma, aunt, grandfather) and then after dinner gave him back to Hayden and wished him luck. A few hours later the baby started to cry and after several minutes I went in to see what was up. Hayden was at his desk, apparently trying to do homework when Omari started to fuss. He was frustrated because he tried to get him to eat and he wouldn’t stop crying. Finally, Omari accepted the bottle and you could hear gulping sounds while he drank. It was actually pretty cute. When it was time for Hayden to go to sleep, he made up the futon next to him. Here is a picture of the happy baby. The next morning when I went to wake Hayden, the baby was out of the covers without his clothes on. After a lot of prodding, I was finally able to wake Hayden up. I asked him what happened with Omari and he started moaning about how he was up all night and he wouldn’t take the bottle and then he had to change him. He said it was a nightmare and that he was exhausted. I reminded him that he could not miss the bus and that he better not forget Omari either. Late and rushed, he ran out the door, thankfully with the baby. About an hour later I received a frantic call from Hayden. He had missed his school bus and went straight to the subway to get to school. From our apartment to his school, you need to take 4 different trains, some of which are express trains and you need to get on the local otherwise you will miss the stop. Hayden hardly ever takes the train to school but he thought he would figure it out along the way. With Omari in his back pack he got on the first train. Pretty quickly into the journey, Omari started to fuss. Hayden ignored him. People on the train started to look around for the crying baby. Omari started to really cry. The baby is programmed to escalate the sound he makes if his needs aren’t met, much like the real thing. Finally, Hayden digs into his back pack and whips out Omari. Much to the surprise of his fellow rush hour train riders. He said the guy sitting across from him actually let out the Japanese equivalent of Yikes! He started to feed the baby thinking this is what he wanted but the baby kept on crying. After force feeding him to no avail, he realized he needed a diaper change. So, right there, in front of all the rush hour commuters, Hayden changed Omari’s diapers. Of course, all this stress and aggravation took his focus off the need to change trains and Hayden found himself an hour in the wrong direction. After speaking with me and the school, he managed to get himself back on track and finally made it to the school at 10:30 (2 hours after he should have arrived). In health class that day, the baby’s computer chip was analyzed and a list of demerits printed out: didn’t feed the baby four times, 1 abusive moment (thanks to the previous day’s babysitter), etc… and he ended up with a final grade of 71. For all the time and effort and stress over the past 24 hours he came away with a grade that was just barely passing…and the knowledge that he is never having kids, at least not without a good wife!