Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Boy at Work

Today was the kind of day that working parents everywhere experience eventually, at least parents who toil in understanding work places. 

Dylan came to work with me today.

For some reason, in New Orleans, camps don't generally begin until a week after school gets out.  To make matters worse, camps end about a week before school begins again. 

It makes me wish I had some entrepreneurial funds that I could invest in holding a camp for just those two weeks.  I'd make a mint...or at least enough to pay for the summer's worth of camp.

Even though bringing kids in when you're stuck without childcare is acceptable, there's a definite tension involved.  After all, when you're supposed to be focused on work, you're simultaneously trying to entertain a child.  No small task, especially when that child has a limited attention span and likes to ask questions non-stop. 

Thank God for DVDs! 

I really can't complain.  Although he sometimes has trouble controlling his impulses, he is usually very well behaved in my office, and that was the case today.   The hard part will be the next two days.  He will be with me again on both of those days and it gets progressively harder to keep him entertained.  What's novel on Day One can get boring by Day Three. 

I already feel the push:pull between work and home, and days like this only accentuate it.  While on the one hand, I like showing him the positive side of being productive and having a career, it's hard not to long for more relaxed, unstructured time at home with him, on the other. 

If you have to bring your child to work, here are some items that can make it easier
  1. A laptop with Internet connection;
  2. Snacks;
  3. Access to movies or television (even better if it's on the laptop);
  4. Transportable toys.  Although Dylan is still very interested in playing with toys, it's actually getting harder to find appropriate toys that will travel well;
  5. Reading material.  This is a good idea for many; but unfortunately not very useful with Dylan;
  6. Understanding and - even better - interesting and interested coworkers; 
  7. Someplace else to go.  Maybe a restaurant for lunchtime (we'll do that tomorrow), an atrium (we are out of luck), or someplace interesting like a plant (nope).
  8. Ample patience.  If your child gets bored, it's not his or her fault (after all, you get bored sometimes, too, but at least you get paid for it).
Finally, I'll add one last necessity:  technological karma - which was not with me today.  It took me half the day to get the Internet to work on my laptop, not to mention the software issues I had on my work computer.  Here's to good karma and an abundance of patience from both of us.

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