Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Babies fake and real

The girls across the aisle on the city bus go to an all girls Catholic High School. Except for the thin white wires leading from the ears, the appearance is essentially the same as the girls who rode the bus to the same Catholic High School 40 years ago, pleated woolen skirts, sweaters embroidered with the school's initials and knee high socks. Last week they carried baby dolls. On Monday and Tuesday the dolls were cradled in the crooks of their arms and the the dolls were fed fake milk from toy bottles, by Friday the dolls were tucked into the side bags, are otherwise squeezed into a nook making way for Algebra texts or cell phones that garnered their "mother's" attention. I suspect the dolls were a part of one of those health education projects that are supposed to teach teenagers the responsibility of parenthood- the ersatz infants appeared to prove the point that "babies" were only interesting for so long.

In the eleventh grade last chance math class (where finding the area of a 7 by 4 rectangle is difficult) Lianna is pregnant. It's a big secret - except, of course, everyone knows, and talks about it all through class and Lianna passes the sonogram around under the table. Quincy, the 12th grader who occasionally remembers to come to me for math help is the dad. Someone asked the other day if Lianna was ready for the baby and unlike the question "how do you find the area of a rectangle?" Lianna answered without hesitation that of course she was.

I like Lianna, and I like Quincy even more.
But unlike the girls on the city bus, this baby won't be shoved to the side for algebra homework.
This baby will be here to stay.
And neither Lianna or Quincy can figure the amount of paint necessary to paint the nursery wall.

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