Grade 8 students in Melissa Gruver-LaPolt’s Health class learned that parenting isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, thanks to their recent project, “Egg Baby.”
The project, which aimed to help students gain a better understanding of the responsibilities involved in the daily care of a baby, involved having pairs of students care for an egg “baby,” ensuring the baby’s health and safety at all times. In addition to having their own blanket and sturdy carrier, each “baby” had to be able to breathe and see the light of day.
The student egg parents had to do more than just carry around their fragile cargo for a few days; they were also tasked with creating a scrapbook dedicated to their egg. Included in the scrapbook were time schedules, a shopping list, a daily journal, a babysitter log, a birth certificate, a budget sheet, documentation of medical issues (each egg baby has one birth defect assigned by Mrs. Gruver-LaPolt), a birth announcement, pictures of the egg parent and partner, and of course, baby photos. Gruver-LaPolt conducted routine wellness checks, and in the event of an injury resulting from an accident or abuse, the egg parents were required to fill out an Accident/Abuse Form, ideally with a witness statement from an adult.
On a recent day, egg parenting partners Matthew Morrisey and Madison Goodnow were toting around triplets, expressing concern for their wards’ safety, particularly in the school’s busy hallways. Egg siblings Paisley, Luke and Colin each had their own face, clothing and color scheme to convey their own unique personalities. Egg parent Alex Russo said that he and his co-parent, Jason Scotto, had begun to suspect that their egg baby, nicknamed Shalatudumbutumva, is possibly neurodivergent, claiming that their child was “energetic, high-spirited.”
Rowan Santos and Clea Spring, who were co-parenting baby egg Opal, ascribed traits of “nice, but sassy” to their egg baby, and both remarked that they were fretting over Opal’s safety in the busy Middle School hallways. Students Ami Densmore and Jack Gates were alternating their schedules to take care of their baby egg, Luca Ruby Dates, who attended lunch in the cafeteria with Jack on his days out of concern that Luca could get injured if left alone in his locker. Student Iliana Melissis, Eggford’s mom, was sad to report that her own cat was responsible for the deep cracks in Eggford’s delicate shell. Iliana’s cat had no comment at this time.
Gruver-LaPolt said she hopes that her students came away with a new understanding about having to communicate and plan with another person for the care of something other than themselves. “It is hard to be a middle schooler, and at this time in their personal development, many tend to be looking inward at what’s going on,” said Gruver-LaPolt. “My hope with this project is that they get a glimpse – even if for just a week or two — of what is involved in having a baby and working with another person to care for a ‘child,’ and to look outward and to learn just a little more how other people operate, how to work with people and also to learn more of how they personally operate with others.”