OH, BOY! BABIES! by Alison Cragin & Jane Lawrence Mali Herzig


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In an unnamed school for boys, ""Babies"" (that is, baby care) was offered as an elective course in the late elementary grades. It turned out to be second to ""Computers"" in popularity. Though the idea sounds better as a course to experience than a book to read, this photo-document--a near word-for-word transcription of the six sessions--bubbles with the boys' natural enthusiasm. They express fear (""If you drop 'em, you're dead"") and wonder (""Look at her hands . . . . Look at that. Look at how small it is. And jeez, look at her pinky nail!"") and possessive competition. (""Let her go, Gordon. Don't crowd her."" . . . ""Don't act like such a source."" . . . ""She's mine. Go get your own baby."" . . . ""Douglas will have a fit tomorrow when he finds out he was absent for feeding."") Emergencies are met, somehow: ""You guys. Hey! I think Andrew's done a big poop! Run! Get water! No. Lotion! No. Wipe! Hey, guys, help!"" Some of the boys can't escape their grade anxiety, nervously asking the teacher (mother of one of the babies) if everyone has ""passed"" and earned their baby-sitting certificates. Nor does the experience stamp out all traces of sexism. ""I'm probably more capable at baby-sitting than a girl is,"" says one boy. ""No offense. Girls get hysterical. . . ."" But it gives the boys six good hours and a positive attitude they are likely to retain. Some at least should rub off on readers and perhaps inspire more such projects.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1981
Publisher: Little, Brown