An egg-s-periment in parenting goes terribly wrong

Or how Cedric the egg taught me that motherhood isn't all that it's cracked up to be

Photo+by+Chloe+Marco.

Photo by Chloe Marco.

Lucy Marco, staff reporter

Jan. 28, 2020, at 10:03 p.m., this world met Cedric. With a pearly beige shell, big black eyes and long, luscious locks of vermilion, this egg will be my “baby” for the next week. For this week I’m going to be carrying around an egg everywhere I go, and praying to God it doesn’t crack. As an egg parent, there are a couple of rules to follow:

  1. I must drain the egg baby of its vital insides, so it doesn’t rot, and it’s more realistically fragile.
  2. As an egg parent, I must create and provide a safe carriage or crib for transporting my egg baby.
  3. I must watch and care for my egg baby at all times, or solict the help of a trusted babysitter if I am unavailable to serve as the primary egg caregiver.
  4. I must give my egg baby an identity, including a name, a look, and even a personality (although that last one is optional). 
  5. I must not break the egg. If I do, I fail.

Would carrying an egg around in any way resemble caring for a baby human?”

In other words, I must be responsible for another “life,” minus the loud crying, feeding and entertaining. This experiment has been practiced in high school health classes since the ’80s to teach compassion and responsibility. Personally, I think this experience will go one of two ways: it will either go horribly wrong and be a learning experience, or it will just be another thing to carry and be painfully uneventful. 

But how will it compare to being a parent to an actual newborn? Ms. O’Keefe, an art teacher at McCallum and a new parent says,  “Sometimes I would feel like I really needed a moment to myself to pause and think or just to get some chores done around the house.  Since it was just me at home, I would also just wish sometimes I could pass the baby off to someone for simple things, like to take a shower or a nap.” 

But would carrying an egg around in any way resemble caring for a baby human?

“Newborns really want to be held a lot of the time in the beginning so it can get tiring having them attached to you all day,” O’Keefe said,  “but then a baby is also ridiculously cute, so normally my frustrations wouldn’t last too long.”

My theory is it will not be that difficult, but who knows? I could be completely wrong, and maybe this experience will change my perspective on life. 

 

Day one:

Emptying the egg of the insides was no small task. I poked two holes in the top and bottom of the egg and broke up the yolk with an unbent paper clip. I then proceeded to blow air into the egg to transport all the egg juices out. Delicious! I refuse to think about the amount of egg white I might have consumed in this process. Once he was successfully hollow, I drew a face on him and gave him some orange string for hair (to match mine of course) and threw together a little box and some fabric for a safe and nurturing crib.

I started off this week skeptical about whether I will get any writing material or not. Also a little insecure about being seen with an egg in a box. At first, no one really said anything about Cedric. Every once in a while when I felt it was appropriate, I would introduce him to someone. But for the most part, poor Cedric went unnoticed. The day went about smoothly; it just felt like another thing sitting on my desk, as I had suspected. 

I suck in every aspect of this experiment.”

The first issue surfaced when a person in my Drawing II class, Fiona Wyrtzen, stole Cedric and placed him on her desk, only to see if I would notice. I, in fact, did not notice. This not only proved that I am a novice parent, but it proved that I suck in every aspect of this experiment. A good egg parent would have noticed instantly that their precious baby was gone and challenged the egg baby thief to a duel in order to retrieve him. There is definitely room for improvement.

Day two:

This morning, I was not in the mood to be an egg parent, but of course, I had to tend my precious Cedric anyway. Today a lot more people noticed. “Is that an egg?” “Why do you have an egg?” “What is the purpose?” I decided to just simply answer with “Yes, it is, in fact, an egg,” avoiding to get into an in-depth explanation of this experiment. 

I came to the conclusion today that I am a very bad egg parent. I guess since Cedric doesn’t make any noise or move, I just naturally forget he’s there. Supposedly, I am required to take him everywhere with me (including the bathroom), as he is my “child” and he’ll die if he’s alone. But there have definitely been some times today where I got up to go downstairs, leaving Cedric alone, in danger on my desk. I am trying to make a more conscious effort starting now.

Day Three:

Cedric waiting for my return.

Today I woke up from my beloved sleep cycle, frantically got myself ready for the day and went off to school. Little did I know, I was making a horrific mistake. Cedric was not by my untrusty side. Thankfully, my mom works from home. So I passed on the responsibility of taking him to my mother. Imagine leaving your baby on the floor as you go to work. Lock me up. 

I finally realized he wasn’t with me when I got a text from my mom saying “Cedric!!”

Cedric searching for me in the wild.

Throughout the rest of that day, she provided frequent updates on his health. 

“He’s watching for you!”

“He’s looking for you”

Cedric giving up and watching a movie.

“Now he’s bored and watching TV.”

“Now he’s playing with his Uncle Danny.”

“My grandson Cedric is an angel, absolutely no trouble at all,” said my mom. “Though he did miss his mom quite a bit. I do worry about her as a parent.”

Cedric being harassed by my cat.

 My responsibilities were passed on, and I am currently a one-star parent. I obviously have not committed to Cedric yet, further proving that I am still a 16-year-old girl, and unprepared to be responsible for another life form.  After reuniting with Cedric, I sincerely apologized and after a few hours of resentment, Cedric finally came around to forgiving me.

Day four:

Today was pretty boring. I just chilled with Cedric the whole day, taking him places with me. This was very close to the experience of having an actual baby. Just kidding. Something feels off; this seems too easy. He doesn’t require feeding, burping, diaper changing, cuddling, etc. so he’s very low maintenance, in spite of how fragile he is. 

I had planned this afternoon and went to hang out with my friend, of course forgetting Cedric at home again because I’m a flaming piece of garbage.

Cedric at the movie theater.

So my sister, Chloe, kindly babysat him instead, taking him to the movies.

“Taking Cedric to the movies was a euphoric experience,” said Chloe, “He got many stares, but all in all he was very respectful and barely talked at all.” How thrilling. 

I am thoroughly disappointed with my performance and commitment to Cedric. If he could talk, I’m sure he’d have a lot to say. 

Day five:

I’m ashamed that I still feel a little self-conscious about carrying around the egg. I’ve grown quite fond of Cedric, despite how crappy of an egg parent I am.  

I took him to hang out with my boyfriend and I, great times. At this point, he has his own designated spot in the car, right in front of the gearshift. 

Things were going smoothly throughout the day. Nothing unusual. I was carrying an armful of things from the car, when all of a sudden, the poor precious eggling flew from my hands. This moment was very surreal for me. I think back to it and I can picture him gracefully sailing through the air, he seemed peaceful and unified, until his delicate body touched the ground, splitting him in half. 

I had one job, and it took me only five days to fail my mission. What a disappointment. I managed to glue him back together with rubber cement, he recovered well, only slightly sticky. What a relief.

The aftermath of Cedric’s fall. He thankfully was safely pieced back together and healed.

The take away from today: Be careful with your baby/egg, you never know when disaster will strike. 

Days six and seven:

Day six was completely uneventful, so on Day Seven,  I decided to broaden his baby egg horizons. He’s too old to be carried around in a box, I don’t want to coddle him. So I decided to carry him around without any protective case at all, exposed to all the dangers and harm of the world. 

First off, I noticed that he got a lot more attention without being in his crib. People from across the school, noticed my mysterious egg sitting on my desk, and questioned it. I also noticed he gradually got more broken throughout the day, just subtle cracks around his hairline (at the top of the egg). It was definitely more of a challenge to carry him, completely vulnerable. There were a few times where he tried to escape by rolling off my desk, but my motherly instincts kicked in and I stopped him before he managed to elope. 

He seemed peaceful and unified, until his delicate body touched the ground.”

He ended the day looking raggedy than ever. Poor Cedric. Lucky for him, since it’s the end of the week, he is now ready to retire this journey. It’s a bittersweet ending. I’m glad to be free of having to care for him but sad to see his short egg baby life come to an end. 

#####

This week has taught me a lot about myself and just a small portion of the responsibilities of being a parent. I don’t think I was a horrible neglectful egg parent, but I definitely feel like there was some massive room for improvement. I should have been better about keeping Cedric safe and consistently by my side. I do not recommend this experiment to anyone who genuinely wants to understand what it’s like to care for a human baby. But I do recommend this experiment to anyone who is interested in having an egg for a temporary baby.