Bring your Distraction to Work Day

By Mir
February 21, 2005

I managed to work at my new job for two weeks–ten business days–without bothering to investigate the contents of my desk. It turns out that my desk is a veritable treasure trove. Just one more benefit of my cool new job, I guess.

Now I know exactly what my desk holds. I also know exactly what snacks are available in the kitchen, and where the paper plates live.

And–all things considered–I think that crossing half the items off of my to-do list for today was pretty good. A lesser woman would have accomplished less. A less patient woman would’ve been apprehended stuffing a small child into the snowbank in the parking lot. I’m just sayin’.

The plan was a simple one: school was called on account of snow, and Monkey could go to daycare and Chickadee could come hang out in my office with me. We’d be the only ones there, I would bring plenty to entertain her, and all would be right with the world.

It’s those flashes of naive optimism that allow normally intelligent humans to breed in the first place, you know.

I packed up about three cubic meters of gear before we headed to the office. Portable video player, movies, coloring books, notebooks, colored pencils, books, a soft blanket, snacks, lunch, a calculator, and the Oxford English Dictionary. Ha! I kid! Chickadee won’t be ready for the OED until second grade at least!

Besides, the OED would’ve been good for about twenty-five seconds of distraction, today. It wouldn’t have been worth the extra lugging.

7:40 We arrive at the office. I get a cup of tea.
7:42 Why do I get tea and she doesn’t have anything to drink? No fair!!
7:43 Chickadee grudgingly accepts the bottle of water I offer.
7:45 The video player is set up, all of her stuff is within reach, and I’ve snagged an extra chair so she can stretch out if she so chooses.
7:46 I bring up my email.
7:50 “I’m bored.”
7:51 Start video.
7:58 “I want to color.”
8:02 “These pencils aren’t sharp enough.”
8:04 “I’m hungry.”
8:07 “Look at my picture!”
8:12 “Can I have a snack NOW?”
8:14 “Whatcha doing, Mama? Can I play on your computer?”

So… ummm… yeah. By the time I gave in and let her eat lunch at 11:30 (and let’s be clear: she’d had TWO snacks by then in addition to breakfast), I had crossed one item off of my list. One. But I had accomplished SO VERY MANY THINGS that just didn’t happen to be on my list! So it was okay!

Behold but a small sampling of my morning’s activities: I discovered that my desk held seven CD openers (not good for playing with due to sharp edges), two company-logo baseball hats (one for each of us; how fortunate), three stressballs (two red, one black; suitable for a complex system of “races” down the hallway), and a yo-yo that lights up; I fetched pretzel nuggets; I told Chickadee to stay in my office while I went to sign for some packages, and as she danced her way down the hall I forced a smile at the UPS man and said, “Hey, school’s closed today, have you heard?”; I explained several times that she was welcome to turn the video up but that no, I could not “type quieter.”

I have never worked more efficiently than I did while she was eating. With both her mouth and her hands busy, I blasted through several action items unchallenged. Woohoo!

The afternoon had its ups and downs, but by 3:00 we’d both had it. I was considering all of the possible ways–legal or not–to make her just be STILL and QUIET for an hour or so, and also congratulating myself on my colossal error of judgement in attempting this exercise, when we packed up the last of our stuff and headed out to the snow-covered car. I felt like I was escaping Alcatraz.

“Got your seatbelt done, Chickie?” I called over my shoulder as I prepared to back out.

“Yep. This was FUN, Mama!”

See? The moral of the story is: the next time your child declares her utter boredom two hundred times in a seven-hour period, do not despair. She’s having fun. She’s having fun at the expense of your sanity, yes; but isn’t that what being a parent is all about? No need to whack your head on the desk repeatedly! No reason to poke little paper cuts into your eyeballs! It’s all good. Really.



  1. Robin

    Yep… been there, done that…which is why I conveniently forget Take Your Daughter to Work Day year after year after year.

  2. dave

    any snow tomorrow?

  3. Mir

    Wow, thanks, Zap. That IS news. I also hear some people are putting their outhouses INSIDE the house… whaddaya make of that?? ;)

  4. dad

    If you can handle further “pun”ishment this early in the morning: You have the patience of Job..

  5. Ben

    “Let’s do it again tomorrow, Mommy!”

  6. Marcia

    “It’s those flashes of naive optimism that allow normally intelligent humans to breed in the first place, you know.” Great observation!

    My girls have been saying “I’m bored.” way too often lately. What will the summer be like?? When they say that I usually offer some suggestions to them but by the second or third time, I tell them if they say that to me again I will find them a chore to do. I guess I need to make that more than an idle threat…

  7. Amanda B.

    I am glad to hear you made it. I have to start practicing my “don’t smack the kid” zen Mommy thing soooon.

    I’m just kidding. That’s a day she’ll always remember and that you will never stop trying to forget. ;)

  8. janie

    You got halfway thru your list????

    I’m jealous!

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