Parenting class gives teens a taste of motherhood

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The regular sound of a beeping alarm clock wasn’t what woke Whitney Turner, 15, up out of a deep sleep the past early mornings. Instead it was the sounds usually only heard by mothers and fathers, the ear piercing wails of a baby’s cry.

Since last Thursday, Turner, a Vidalia High School sophomore, has been caring for a mechanical baby that needs all the tender, loving care a newborn baby needs. She fed, soothed, cleaned and changed the diaper of her lifelike doll equipped with sensors that recorded her every move 24 hours a day. Her parenting class teacher will receive a report from the electronic doll that will be used to determine Turner’s final grade.

Over the weekend, Turner said she didn’t spend much time with friends. Instead, she stayed at home and cared for the mechanical baby that cried at all times of the day.

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“My parents thought it was funny,” Turner said.

“I’d get aggravated, and they’d tell me that I can’t do that with a real baby.”

Turner said it was a lot of hard work to figure out what the baby needed to stop crying, whether it was a fake bottle in it’s mouth, a diaper change or attention.

“I’m not having kids anytime soon,” Turner said.