All the 8th graders at SMS are being required to take a "Modern Living" class. It's supposed to teach them more about adult life, and one of their first assignments is to pair up with another student and "get married." Mary Anne and Logan are, of course, paired together. They discover pretty quickly that there is no way they could afford to be a financially independent couple at their age (big surprise), and that they'd have to live in Mary Anne's bedroom if they were married. Logan is understandably upset by this; he feels they should live at his house since he's the husband. Plus, he doesn't want Richard looking at him all the time. Yeah, that would be a bit awkward...
The next big assigment in Modern Living class is parenthood. Each couple is given an egg to take care of for a few weeks as if it were a real baby. Boy, do these students ever take the project seriously. Logan and Mary Anne keep arguing over who should or shouldn't take care of Sammie (their "daughter"), and they freak out when they almost lose her at a movie theater. Mary Anne is also having trouble balancing care of her egg with care of her actual, human sitting charges. She's been sitting for Ricky and Rose Salem a lot (remember them from the infant class in #45?), and she realizes that caring for three babies alone is darn near impossible. Heck, even caring for just Ricky and Rose is too much for her sometimes; she even calls Dawn for help at one point.
The moral of the Modern Living class seems to be that life is hard, and Mary Anne and Logan aren't the only ones who discover that. One couple actually cries in class because they lost their egg baby in the park, and one couple gets a "divorce" because they just can't work out their issues. When it comes time to give the eggs back (why did the teacher even need them to return a bunch of stinky eggs???), everyone is a little sad to see them go. In case you're wondering, little Sammie grew up and moved to New York to be an editorial assistant, and Logan wasn't sure it was wise to let his daughter move to the big, bad city....
Dawn and Mary Anne actually start off the book by hoping that their parents will have a baby of their own. They actually seem to think that it's their decision to make, and if they want a kid in the house, Richard and Sharon should be made to see things from their 13 year old daughters' points of view. Whatever. In the end, Dawn and Mary Anne decide that babies are too much work after all.
Thoughts and Things
- I LOVED this book when I was younger. I was so fascinated by the whole egg/flour sack baby project, and I couldn't wait to do it myself. By the time I got to middle school and high school, all the child care/adult living classes were using "Baby Think It Over" and it was always optional. There's no way my mom would have let me keep a screaming doll in the house, especially since I shared a room with my sister at the time.
- What 13 year old boy would ever take the parenting of an egg as seriously as Logan and Alan Gray did? Also, why didn't anyone just keep their egg in the refrigerator? Real parents would keep their real babies in an environment that was well-suited to its needs.
- The souvenir Mary Anne bookmark is still intact, even though I bought this book in a lot off of Ebay. Yay!
- Mary Anne and Dawn are super excited to look at baby stuff in some fictional catalog. What 13 year old girl WOULDN'T be looking at the juniors' clothes first??? Oh yeah...a 13 year old that was invented by AMM.