By Betsy Gallup
I have an idea for a new reality show called Oh, Baby! On the surface, it would resemble Big Brother. The contestants (ages 13 to 20) would be put up in a nice home. They would be provided with ample food, some entertainment, and a huge cash prize. As an added bonus, contestants would not be required to share bedrooms. Each contestant would be provided with a two-room suite. Sorry, but the cameras have to stay.
Here is the twist. The two-room suite would consist of a bedroom and a nursery. Once in the house, the contestants would be assigned a baby. I have too much compassion to assign them real babies. Those life-size, peeing, pooping, crying, with the internal monitor that tracks how well the child has been cared for baby dolls would have to suffice. Each contestant would have to care for his or her own child--no babysitters here--which also means when there is a concert in the backyard, they would have to miss it to care for their baby. When they sat down to eat that special meal, baby would be there too, crying, playing in their food, needing changed during the middle of the meal.
As with Survivor, once a week, they would face a new challenge: Week One, earaches keeping the babies up most of the night; Week Two, taking care of one baby while pregnant with another; Week Three, teething; Week Four, baby starts crawling. Say. . .nine weeks of challenges ranging from the earaches to baby swallows a penny and has to be rushed to the hospital.
As with Meet the Folks, contestants would be forced to go under a lie detector test where they would answer questions about how sexually active they are; how they feel about their baby; how they feel about how well they are caring for the baby; do they use drugs. If they are found to use drugs, guess what. Baby develops withdrawal symptoms or serious medical problems requiring even more care.
At the end of each week, the data would be collected from each of the baby dolls, the contestant with the worst care score gets evicted. If at anytime, the worst care score becomes high enough to kill a baby, the police bust into the home and take the contestant out in handcuffs. This should be highly effective, especially in the middle of the night.
Added features could include calls home to mom, I suspect there will be crying. Requiring the contestants to order supplies once a week. If they run out of diapers, between orders, they have to come up with a contingency plan.
What do you think? Do you think people would tune in? I do. I think parents everywhere would have their children not only watching the show, but signing up for the show. And, as a bonus, it would be a reality show based on something useful. I don't know about you, but I don't make it to a deserted island very often and, other than family holidays, I have yet to be locked in a house with a bunch of strangers for long periods of time. But, I do know several teenagers who ended up with children before they were ready.
Truthfully, I don't think I was really ready for my son, and I was 27 when he was born. I base this on being 37 now with four-month-olds in the house. I have more patience now and I can relate to their needs much better. I hate to think what kind of mother I would have been at age 16. I hate to think about what kind of mother my mother was when she had me at 15. Maybe a little reality TV would keep the next teenager from learning what kind of mother she would be before she is ready.
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