Handle with Care

I became a grandpa, of sorts, this week.

My 18-year-old daughter brought a baby home from school on Monday. Don’t worry, it wasn’t alive. Or hers. Or even real.

Sorry, I probably should have led with that last part. This grandparenting thing is a lot harder than I thought.

Let me start over.

My 18-year-old daughter brought an electronic doll home from school on Monday. She’s taking a child development class this semester and had to spend three days caring for it. This was worse than it sounds because, just like a real baby, it came equipped with a piercing external alarm that went off every time it needed to be fed or have its diaper changed or wanted the dog to stop chewing on its face.

It’s been exhausting.

More specifically, it’s been exhausting to watch. My poor daughter has been incessantly iterating through the doll’s troubleshooting guide all week trying to figure out how to make it stop crying since she’ll be graded on the number and duration of every distressful event recorded by the baby who, as far as we know, is a liar. And a hypochondriac. And thanks to Russian hackers, probably voted for Trump.

Still, we welcomed it into our home like family. I even offered to babysit several times but for some reason my daughter was reluctant to leave the two of us alone together. It’s not like I was planning to forcibly remove the little plastic cover from its back and replace its audio components with the ones from Big Mouth Billy Bass. That would’ve just been crazy. Especially without the right circuity diagrams.

No, I think it’s because she knows I’ve never taken any child development classes. Unlike her, I chose electives like wood shop in high school where, as you may recall, I primarily developed medieval weapons. The only downside to this strategy was that all my parenting skills had to be directly acquired from on-the-job training with FOUR LIVE CHILDREN. This may not have been ideal, but at least I never had to worry about losing points on a three-day homework assignment because somehow one of my babies ended up voiceless and smelling like dog slobber.

Besides, that’s what their vaccines were for.

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