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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)

TITLE: The Teenager and Her Baby Doll
By Barbara Lynn Culler


“Grandpa, please don’t die” cried Amy to her comatose grandfather lying in the hospital bed. As she wiped away the tears that streamed down her face, and wiped her nose on her sleeve, Amy continued; “Grandpa, remember you said that I am your reason to keep on living.”

The petite 15 year old high school sophomore loved her grandfather and was visiting him in the Corony Care Unit of the hospital. Cradled in her left arm, was a life-sized plastic infant girl. When she had come into the hospital with her mother and grandmother, Amy received many scornful frowns as someone too big to play with dolls. She ignored them, as this was a school assignment for her Child Care class. The doll was programmed to cry at will, and its technology could determine if the “parent” ignored or abused it. A decent grade in the class depended on Amy properly attending to her newborn “baby.”

Amy stood at the side of Grandpa’s bed while her Grandmother sat in a chair on the other side. The teenager peered over to her grandma, when unexpectedly her doll baby began to cry. Amy fumbled in a hurried attempt to put the device pin into the baby’s mouth but it just would not fit. The baby cried louder and with more urgency. In tears, Amy and her doll pushed their way out of the curtained cubicle of her grandfather’s room.

She hastened to the exit, conscious of the hospital staffs dirty looks at her and gestures with their finger to their mouths. A cranky old woman poked her head outside the curtain and exclaimed “Shut that thing up! Don’t you know we are in a hospital? There are very sick people here and you are disturbing them with all that noise!"

The High Schooler and her noisy doll sped out to the lobby where her mother was waiting. Together they were able to quiet the baby doll, and Amy finally calmed down.

After a mere 15 minutes, the baby doll started crying again. So did Amy.
Flustered, Amy could not get the device in the doll’s mouth, and both she and the doll cried in a pathetic duet. People in the waiting room began to complain about the doll’s noise, so Amy picked up her baby and escaped outside.

The next day, Amy surrendered the doll to her teacher and petitioned for a postponement of the assignment due to her grief and stress.
Grandpa died four days later.

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This article has been read 577 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Daun Jacobsen02/04/10
Great job drawing emotion. I was right there with Amy and her Grandpa and literally teared up as she pleaded with him not to die. The beginning drew me right in, though I was left wanting a bit more depth and development in the conclusion. It was a wonderful read, and I wanted to continue on with the same intensity you drew in the beginning.
Is it a true story?
Ruth Brown02/07/10
A sad glimpse into an impossible situation. Well written.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/10
You did a great job of involving the reader in the story. I grieved for Amy several times. There were a few errors with punctuation- a missing, comma, apostrophe or a quotation mark, but these are easily fixed and did not distract me from the story. Good job, I could easily see it in a teen magazine like Alive Now or something similar.
Mona Purvis02/09/10
As I was reading the story, I was pulling for it to take another turn. It left me wanting more out of the "child-care" dilemma as it related to the hospital/illness.
Carol Slider 02/09/10
Too bad she couldn't have told her teacher about her Grandfather before she visited him. I felt very sorry for her--what a difficult situation! Good job conveying the emotions/reactions of the observers who didn't understand.
Loren T. Lowery02/09/10
First, I really enjoyed this. You presented it in a very real way. This is only my opinion, but I would have liked the story to unfold entirely from the child's perspective - told in both inner thoughts and dialogue. You have some great conflicts going on the impending death of a beloved grandparent matched with the necessary caring for a baby - showing how your protagonist resolves these issues would lead to a very dynamic storyline as well as a teaching tool.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/09/10
This was packed with emotions that could really be felt.

Check carefully for "telling" sentences as oppossed to "showing", such as how much she loved her grandfather. You showed that very well in the opening dialogue, so you might not need to tell it in the next paragraph.

Tough call on the ending. I wanted more, but reading it again, I think it was just right. Good job!
Carol Penhorwood 02/09/10
You could absolutely FEEL the conflict going on here. To me that is a sign of good writing. Great job, Barb.
Edy T Johnson 02/19/10
You really know how to capture true-to-life situations and write about them in a gripping manner. I could feel the overwhelming emotion of the teenage girl.