Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rice Babies

Today, we made rice babies – and seriously, no pun intended. The babies are rice babies because they’re made of rice, has nothing to do with being Chinese, really, really, really, truly! All the kindergartners at a local private school make rice babies, as a project about weights and measures, and make the babies to match their birth weights. As soon as I heard of the project, I knew I wanted to do it with my girls. We don’t know their exact birth weights, but we know their check-in weights at the orphanage -- for Zoe that was on the day of her birth, and for Maya, that was 3 days after birth.
We carefully weighed the rice, and poured it not-so-carefully into tube socks (we spent more time sweeping up rice than we did pouring rice!).

Our measuring bowl only held about 2 pounds of rice, so we weighed the sock when we thought we were close to birth weight.
We tied off the sock at 6 lbs, 8 ounces for Zoe and 4 lbs, 2 ounces for Maya. We made another tie to make the head, and then pulled the top of the sock down to make a tiny baby hat. The girls had great fun coming up with descriptions for their babies – Zoe’s was a cucumber with a hat, and Maya’s looked like a squash!
Mimi helped with the project, and instructed the girls on holding the “newborn” rice baby so the head was supported. What fun! The girls love playing with dolls, so this was a natural for them.

The last steps were drawing on a face, using a permanent marker to make sleeping u-shaped eyes and a little blush to make rosy cheeks; and wrapping the rice babies in receiving blankets.

Quite a fun project. Yes, the girls learned a lot about weights and measures. But more importantly, they got something concrete to connect them to their births, and by extension, to their birth mothers. We don’t have pictures, we know no one who can tell their birth stories. We do have those numbers – 6 pounds, 8 ounces; 4 pounds, 2 ounces. The numbers have little meaning, though, when you’re 8 and 5.
I think we made it real with this project. And tonight before bed, when Zoe put her rice baby up her nightgown, with Maya following suit, and said, “So this is how much I weighed when I was in my birth mother’s tummy,” I knew it had worked!


Anonymous said...

My middle daughter's kindergarten class did this a couple of years ago and presented them to us at a Mother's Day tea party. They had a lot of fun. I used my daughter's check-in weight also - she was approximately 5 days old.


Mahmee said...

What a fun project. Thanks for sharing it on your blog! I was just posting about my latest adoption/birth conversations with R. I think this rice project might help her visualize some things we discussed.

Diane said...

Malinda- Love this idea! I am filing it for future use. Your girls are beautiful!

Cassi said...

Malinda - I loved the idea and the pictures you added to show us the girls fun in making their rice babies.

I have never heard of that but I can definitely see where it would help them relate to that part of their story by giving them a bit of a visual to build on.

Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

:) so cute!~ I'm in Middle school and we are doing rice babies (decroating and carrying a 5 lb bag of rice for a week o see what its like to be a parent (for sexual ed. class)