Date of birth: Jan. 23, 1981 .
Weight: 7 pounds, 7 ounces.
Sex of baby: male.
Place of birth: Montgomery Blair High School.
Physician: Doctor Swift.
It hasn't even been an hour and I can't handle it -- I can tell.
I tried to get my lunch -- a baby, a tray, and trying to get money out of my purse! It isn't easy!!!
No, Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring has not opened a maternity ward.
Diane Swift teaches a course there called Parenthood, Infancy and the Toddler. Throughout the semester the 17 girls in her senior high class -- no boys signed up -- viewed films, listened to guest speakers, visited hospitals and in a number of other ways learned what was involved in caring for an infant up to the age of 2.
What they didn't have was firsthand experience, of course, and that was the point of the class' final assignment.
Swift gave each student a hard-boiled egg and a blank diary. The eggs were to be named and carried around for a full week as if they were babies.
Why an egg? "Because it's delicate like an infant," she said.
Then why not a raw egg? "We used hard boiled eggs because it was a week-long project and I wanted to cut down on the infant mortality rate. I didn't want any child abuse.
"It's easy to carry around an egg," Swift added. "But there were guidelines. You are not premitted to put the baby in a handbag. You cannot leave the baby in your locker. You must provide a baby sitter at all times."
The students recorded their make-believe sojourn into motherhood in daily diaries.
Friday. It was fun in class, but it's not what I thought it'd be, wrote Gladys Josephson, an 11th grader. We're lucky these babies don't cry, or eat, or use the bathroom. This is difficult enough! Oh, the life of a mother; it isn't an easy one.
Tomorrow is the first Saturday I don't have to work and boy, was I gonna celebrate! I can't because of this baby. I just had to follow the rules, to get the real feel of things.
Saturday. Michael called. I forgot all about tonight. We were going to a $4.00 dance. I have got to find a sitter.
Saturday evening, 9 p.m. Well, if it isn't another evening at home. Michael was p. . . . d off. He thinks it's stupid now. I told him to go on, and I'll stay home with the baby. "That damn egg," he said.
I told Michael he would have to babysit tomorrow because I had to work, and he said he had something to do -- play tennis and watch the Superbowl -- it's a good thing we aren't getting married. Boy, this baby is doing more than you think.
Sunday -- Michael called. He said he's sorry he called it a "damn egg" and he'll babysit another day. He knew I wouldn't need him to babysit again! I should let him anyway.
People insist on doing things they aren't ready for -- a baby is not a joke. Yes, this egg stuff was funny at first, but now that I think about it . . . it isn't really funny.
My friends really think the idea is "cute" -- the only thing I can say is "Try it for yourself."
Tuesday, 8 p.m. -- I have a test to study for, and in conclusion of this project I'd like to say, it's hard, and I'm surely glad that I'm not a mother. We just simply aren't ready.
Darla Townsend, a senior, left her "baby," named Vone, with her mother or grandmother much of the time:
I'm in school again and tests are still going on, so Vone is happily spending the day with the grandma. After I get out of fifth period, my mother picks me up from school and I go to the doctor's. I asked where Vone was and she gives me a real funny look and right then I know she has forgot him at home.
Later on that night around 6:00 I was cleaning my room and Vone was sleeping on my giant pillow when all of a sudden Vone goes rolling down the side of my bed and hits his chin on the wall. He wasn't hurt bad and he didn't cry long.
From Michelle Hunt, who is in the 12th grade:
Day 1 -- He did not respond well to all people. He wouldn't drink all of his milk. He didn't cry too much. Maybe he didn't drink because he had the hiccups. I would not let anyone else hold him. When I got home my mother was excited and helpful with the egg. We watched it and played with him.
Saturday -- I watched TV and kept him on the bed with me. I really didn't pay that much attention to him. I had to go grocery shopping so I left him with my mother.
Sunday -- I did not pay that much attention to him until after 6 p.m. Then I rolled him around my bed. I think Sunday I was really disgusted with it.
Tuesday -- It was fun in the beginning but after awhile I couldn't stand it. I know some of the difficulties of taking care of a baby from babysitting and I know at this point in my life I cannot handle a baby. I think maybe we all went through a type of postpartum depression.
Ginger Cannon, a senior, wrote in her diary that the baby was to much:
At around the middle of fourth period I decided to give baby up for adoption.
I felt both a feeling of relief and a feeling that something was missing. I really felt pressured and tied down when I had her and really did not enjoy it. But then when I gave her away I felt that after carrying her around for three days and then giving her up was a very strange feeling of something missing.
"Before we started the project we thought it would be fun. Afterwards we realized how much trouble it was," said Cannon, reflecting on her week as a make-believe mother. "If all girls were given an egg to carry around like this, the teen-age pregancy rate would go down."
"If you can't even take care of an egg, imagine a baby!" agreed Gladys Josephson.
"It proved to us that we weren't responsible enough to handle children and not responsible enough to be parents," said Lisa Goodwin, an 11th grader. "Most of us wanted to leave it alone and do other things."
Alison Harris, also in the 11th grade, dropped hers and it cracked. "The baby died and that was the end of the project. I felt kind of relieved," she said.