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Parenting experience encourages students to 'think it over'

WILLSBORO Willsboro Senior Richard Cain recently spent a sleepless night caring for his baby. As part of the schools parenting class, all seniors spend a full day caring for a baby simulator. The Baby Think it Over Program is designed to help students realize that infants are unpredictable, time consuming and can change lives profoundly. The simulator is a far cry from some of the other training devices used in earlier parenting classes like caring for a flour sack or egg. It cries at random times throughout the day and night. In order to make the baby stop crying, students must insert a care key in the back of the child and turn it for anywhere from 1-30 minutes, the time needed to care for an infant. It kept me up, said Cain, explaining that the simulator had started crying at midnight. I couldnt get back to sleep. Cain said the key was hard to turn, and found the the sound of the simulator annoying. Im glad its over, said Cain, adding that the experience made him realize he wasnt ready for children. His classmate Markie Burrows agreed that it was a good experience. This project is definitely questioning my enthusiasm about having kids in the future, said Burrows. The simulator cries if it is not held properly. Burrows added that the simulator was heavy, and it was challenging to cart baby paraphernalia, like the car seat and diaper bag, around to class. Teacher Laura Eldred said members of the class were each assigned a simulator, which would cry sporadically for two hours in a 24-hour period. The simulator records how quickly a student responds, along with if it is dropped. Eldred said she hoped the project might give students an idea of how much care a child needed.

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