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Reply #4: "The Story of Baby X" (from 1987 issue of Ms. Magazine) [View All]

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Maddy McCall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 01:56 AM
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4. "The Story of Baby X" (from 1987 issue of Ms. Magazine)
The Story of Baby X*
Once upon a time a baby named X was born. This baby was named X so that nobody could tell whether it was a boy or a girl. Its parents could tell, of course, but they couldnt tell anybody else. They couldnt even tell Baby X at first.

You see, it was all part of a very important, secret scientific Xperiment, known officially as Project Baby X. Scientists worked out the details of the Xperiment and wrote the Official Instructions Manual for Baby Xs parents. The Joneses really wanted to raise an X more than any other kind of baby. Mr and Mrs Jones had to promise that they would take equal turns in caring for X.

The day the Joneses brought their baby home lots o friends and relatives came over to see it, but none of them know about the Xperiment. When the Joneses smiled and said, Its an X nobody knew what to say. They couldnt say Look at her cute dimples and they couldnt say Look how strong his muscles are. In fact they thought the Joneses were playing some kind of joke on them.

But of course, the Joneses were not joking. Its an X was absolutely all they would say, and that made their friends and relatives very angry. The relatives all felt embarrassed at having an X in the family. People will think theres something wrong with it some of them whispered. There is something wrong with it others whispered back. Nonsense, the Joneses told them cheerfully. Baby Xs answer was a long satisfied burp!

Mrs and Mr Jones had to be Xtra careful about how they played with little X. They knew that if they kept bouncing it in the air and saying how strong and active it was theyd be treating it more like a boy than an X. But if all they did was cuddle and kiss it and tell it how sweet it was, theyd be treating it more like a girl. The Official Instruction Manual prescribed plenty of bouncing and plenty of cuddling, both. X ought to be strong and sweet and active.

Meanwhile, the Joneses were worrying about other problems. Toys, for instance. And clothes. Everything in shops was piled up in sections marked Boys or Girls. There were Boys pyjamas and Girls underwear and Boys fire engines and Girls kitchen sets. Mr and Mrs Jones consulted the Official Instructions Manual. Buy plenty of everything it said. So they bought plenty of sturdy blue pyjamas from the shelves marked: Boys and cheerful flowered underwear from the shelves marked : Girls and they bought all kinds of toys. A boy doll that wet itself and cried papa and a girl doll that talked in three languages and said I am the president of General Motors. They also bought a story book about a brave princess who rescued a handsome prince from his ivory tower and another one about a sister and a brother who grew up to be a famous footballer and a famous ballet dancer, and you had to guess which was which.

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