Did you recognize the image in this week’s Access Points photo game? No, it’s not the Georgia Aquarium or Cabbagetown, as some of you guessed, but rather, the Mother Cabbage inside the new BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Ga.
Several of you made great guesses that it had something to do with Cabbage Patch — I particularly loved the response from eagle-eyed reader Alicia, who recognized a piece of a Cabbage Patch Kid head on the left side of the photo. Here are some of my photos from the Cabbage Patch Kids Appalachian Christmas Celebration, and a story I wrote last year about the Cabbage Patch Kids 25th anniversary.
It seems that almost everybody in Georgia had stopped at the old BabyLand General Hospital in downtown Cleveland at some point in the last few decades. The new, 70,000-square foot BabyLand General opened last month just a few miles away from the earlier location. While it has more space and new displays, some things never change — like how Cabbage Patch Kids come into this world.
The process is a lot like what what you would have experienced in the old BabyLand General – there’s a slightly terrified description from Roadside America — but technology, of course, has improved. The doctors and nurses mostly wear lab coats and scrubs now, instead of hats, skirts and aprons of the past. Still, there is absolute commitment to the bit.
You can’t miss the big tree surrounded by fabric cabbages and baby heads poking out from their middles. A few times per hour, the crystals sprinkled around cabbages begin to glow, signaling that a baby is ready to be born. A crowd gathers, and a staff member wearing scrubs will step in to assist the Mother Cabbage.
What does she need?
Well, she’ll need a dose of Imagicilan from the baby bottle, just to smooth things along.
They’ll wait till the Mother Cabbage is dilated, so they can avoid a C-section. You know, a cabbage section.
They’ll check to make sure the baby is facing the right direction, lest there be a “branch” delivery that’ll keep us there for hours.
After a few tense moments, a baby appears! “It’s a girl!” they announce to applause and cheers. They may ask for names from the crowd, or announce the name for a proud parent who came just to see their baby born.
Here’ s a video of the whole process:
New babies — a sign explains that “doll” is not the preferred nomenclature — are carried away to a nursery. A doctor will weigh the little one, put it in a diaper, count its fingers and toes and perhaps deliver it to its new mommy or daddy, who will take an oath of adoption. (By the way, they don’t use the term “buy”,”sale” or “price” either. They’re adoptions, and there are, of course, adoption fees.)
Babies that haven’t been adopted will be placed in the nursery, just like at the old BabyLand. There’ s a big change, though: in the old building, a one-time clinic retrofitted for Xavier Roberts’ imagination, it was hard for kids to see through the high windows.
Now, they’re low enough for little dreamers to get a good look.
Want to go? BabyLand General Hospital. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. Free. 300 NOK Drive, Cleveland. 706-865-2171, www.cabbagepatchkids.com.