Monday, July 6, 2009

You Say You Want A Revolution?

Well, hey--lookee here!

I think once upon a time I wanted a revolution. Now I would settle for a good night's sleep.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What can I say? Time flies. Now, a mere month later, the babe has progressed from scooting to (just yesterday) actual crawling and standing up--holding on to bookshelves, legs, chairs, filing name it. And falling. Lots of falling. And, I am sorry to report, crying.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Someone please shut that baby gate!

Funny how fast babies go from laboriously pulling themselves forward an inch at a time to a super fast scoot!

"The baby's headed down the hall," hollered the dude office manager yesterday. And sure enough, she was--not the hall hall, but the hall to our sink and bathroom. Which would be fine if we didn't keep all kinds of rusty nails and sharp tools under that sink.

Hence the baby gate, which has been held open with a mini bungee cord, lo, all these many months now, waiting for this moment to clang closed.

Next on the list: checking to make sure all the electrical cords are taped together so she can't pull a computer down on her fool head. Because if any baby could do that, this one will.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

And Now, For Some Early Morning Math

Last year, if you recall, I fell a little behind in the childcare/school department, and found myself totally screwed looking for someone--anyone--who would take a 2-year-old in fall. Yes, even in Pittsburgh, we have this kind of insanity, apparently; I should have signed her up at birth.

Nevertheless, after some of my women-in-law took pity and turned their formidable nagging on the director of the preschool at their shul, we found a spot, and the girl has--more or less happily--spent the year learning all about manners and how to play in groups. And how "on Shabbat we go to shul / so we can kiss the Torah." That's a real song, by the way.

(Also "Little Sammy spider / lived in a Jewish house..." Which is not; it's just the Itsy-bitsy spider made kosher. But I digress.)

Anyway, all this is fine, except maybe for the part where we're not really Jewish, and therefore headed for some pretty awkward conversations with our toddler pretty soon at this rate. And for the part where there is a much--much, much--nicer school down the road, in which we got a spot for fall. And which is even--score!--a little less expensive, which is not to say inexpensive.

Line one of the math: $848 x 12 months = $10,176.

Line two of the math is that I'm sort of thinking #2 might like a little bit of kid time. I wouldn't say she's a disaster in the office, but she's a little restless. And I'm a little crazed. More about that later.

So let's say she goes somewhere for 6 hours a day, 2 days a week next year. In fact, let's say she goes to learn about Sammy Spider--since that's the only place I could get her in, at this point. (I did make an appointment to tour the Very Nice Place people send babies, but let's face it, I would have needed to put her on the list there the moment I saw the second pink line pop up, and I didn't do that. Probably I should cancel the tour, which isn't for another month anyway.)

So, two days for six hours: $4,330 + $540 (penalty for not being Jewish) (ok, not really--penalty for not being members of the congregation. Same difference, if you ask me. Shiksas always get the short end of the stick.) = $4,870.

Total childcare/education costs for next year: $15,046.

Line 3 of the math would involve what's left over from the money I make after we pay for this, but if I shared that number with you, dear readers--some of whom I know in the real world--I would have to die of embarrassment. Let's just say that if you factor in taxes and making a contribution to my retirement fund, probably I can afford to buy myself something nice. A package of sparkly pencils from the dollar bin at Target maybe, or that latte I've been eyeing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How to Tell Which Summer Intern to Hire

Yep, it's that time of the year again.

Actually, it's a little later than that time of year. But we're chronically behind. And my biggest criterion is persistence; the internship usually goes to the person who follows up the most.

Not willing to fight for a space? to keep saying, Yoo-hoo, 'member me?

Then I have no use for you anyway. You'll just get neglected, and probably sit and quietly sulk while playing around on facebook, and by the time your internship is over we'll just be waiting for you to leave, and you'll quietly hate us.

So mostly my screening system works--saves everyone a lot of trouble.

Anyway, today's candidate is hired for many reasons:

1. He drove a long distance on the Monday after his graduation from college
2. in a suit
3. with a whole portfolio of his previous work, all covered in plastic sleeves
4. and is willing to move to our city within a week
5. for a non-paying internship
6. which he's maybe willing to work at for a full year

I know. It's almost too good to be true.

And, he didn't even bat an eye when I started nursing my fussy baby to sleep in the middle of our conversation.

Yep: He's a keeper!

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's been 6 months already?

Happy half-birthday to #2! It's funny; in some ways it seems she's always been here (as in, in the world), and in others it seems impossible it's already been so long. In the past two or three weeks, she's officially stopped being an infant; her proportions have changed, and her general manner is so much more person-like. We've started feeding her purees (of apple and pear and squash and peas and plums) and some cereal, all of which she attacks with gusto, though getting it out the other end has sometimes been a challenge. (The Day of the Poop Shrieks was not our best day ever in the office, let's just say. Thankfully, Cute Coworker, who shares my room, was out for that one...)

She's also starting to become more mobile; can get up on her haunches and rock back and forth. Which seems early to me, though truly I've forgotten what's supposed to happen when and am too lazy and uninterested, really, even to do a quick google search. (And does it matter? Will she crawl more/less quickly if I know the general developmental timetable?)

Anyway, probably not coincidentally, six months is when many of these businesses that have, like, policies about babies at work require them to move on out and into daycare.

Though I have to say, with this one, it's not the mobility that is the danger, I don't think. Frankly, I'm hoping when she can sit up on her own, she'll be less frustrated and therefore a little more self-entertaining. (Or at least a little less squealy.) It could happen, right? Maybe?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another new toy for the office

(Somewhat belatedly, since the baby is now, at almost 6 months, gearing up to crawl.)

On a recent trip to Ikea (love it, hate it, love it), I went a little nuts in the kid department. For the original W.B., at home, I got a tent to play in. And for #2, this playmat (officially, the "Leka"). Sure, I had an old quilt to throw on the filthy office floor, but this was so much cuter. It's padded, and it has a butterfly, and a little frog that squeaks (very softly), and a mirror, and a worm to grab.

The biggest difference between this baby and the last, I think, is that this one is waaaaay into toys. The other was a little more mellow, but #2 gets bored pretty quickly (I do worry about this) and puts everything straight into her mouth (I also worry about this...with the first one, I was pretty vigilant about paper clips, etc., but I also wasn't really worried she would seriously eat them. This one, I'm not so sure.)

Anyway, so the playmat takes up a fair bit of our part of the office, but it's pretty fun. And only $29.99!
ps--notice how the baby is pretty lumpy, still. Makes some noise now and then, but pretty much she stays where you put her. For a little while longer, at least...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Working Babies on NPR!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Great Babies-at-Work Challenge

I'm tempted to write something snide about challenges, because it's late at night and just between us, this second time around I have many more moments when I look around (granted, not just at work) and think, this is insane! What the hell was I thinking? Challenges. Hah.

But I digress.

So here's a link to the "Great Babies-at-Work Challenge," which is from Carla and the Parenting in the Workplace Institute.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to Make a Mobile for Your Pack-n-Play

...if yours doesn't come with one, which mine didn't. (Even though every product description I read of it seemed to suggest it would. Same thing for the one we bought for home this time around. Go figure.)

Note: for this to work, you need a fancy pack-n-play, with a diaper-changing tray.

--a toy, preferably one that comes with some sort of loop, say for attaching it to a stroller or carseat or something
--a big binder clip

Clip the binder clip onto the edge of the diaper-changing tray. Attach the toy. Et voila!
If you're feeling daring, you can prop the baby up on your nursing pillow in the bassinet (yes, I know, they say not to do this, but you're right there next to the baby, aren't you?) so the baby can reach the toy to swat it around.

Will this play tinkly music like a "real" mobile? Well, no, of course not. But that would be annoying to your coworkers, anyway. So, in fact, this is even better than a real mobile.

See how much the baby loves it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Boobs at Work

Ok, really why do I bring my baby to work? Because it means I don't have to live like a cow. Or, at least, an agro-industrial cow. Check out Jill Lepore's New Yorker essay about the history of pumping and how we're becoming, as she concludes, "our own wet nurses."

My favorite part?

"It appears no longer within the realm of the imaginable that, instead of running water and a stack of magazines, 'breastfeeding-friendly' could mean making it possible for women and their babies to be together. Some lactation rooms even make a point of banning infants and toddlers, lest mothers smuggle them in for a quick nip. At the University of Minnesota, staff with keys can pump their milk at the Expression Connection, but the sign on the door warns: 'This room is not intended for mothers who need a space to nurse their babies.'"

Besides which, there's nowhere in my office to pump, so I'd be doing that under the poncho. Surely it's less weird just to bring the baby and feed her?

Anyway, the whole New Yorker essay is here

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Working Baby Essentials

All kinds of things that make life safer, easier and more interesting for the working baby...

Note: some of these aren't exactly cheap, and in some cases you'll probably be duplicating gear you already have at home. But the goal is to keep the shlepping to a minimum, and remember, it's almost impossible to underestimate the amount of money you're saving by not paying for child care.

for nursing

Nursing ponchos: There are actually lots of options out there. Office Mom's taste tends toward the subdued (if not downright boring), and the products listed here all pretty much come in earth tones and a few soft pastels. If you're looking for a nursing poncho in bright, baby-friendly colors--which seems to me to defeat the main purpose of the whole thing--you'll have to do your own legwork!
1. The Under Wraps Nursing Poncho, by Victoria Laurin & Baby. This looks to be a little more stylish than the one I have--stylish is good--but also to provide ample coverage. Plus, it comes in black, and many other colors. Also has a bag. $39.99.
2. The L'ovedbaby Nursing Shawl. This is soft and almost suede-like, with a subtle pattern in the stitching. Comes in six really mellow colors and has a bag. $29.95
3. The BUNDLEUNDER. This one comes to a point at the bottom, which seems like it might leave some skin showing (on you, if not the baby). Comes in six soft, pretty colors. $35.

A nursing pillow--you'll want this at least early on; it helps support the baby and helps reduce the strain on your neck and shoulders. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Boppy, but there are other, similar products out there. I actually took a regular pillow to work for a few months, because it worked better with my desk chair. Plus, I had a Boppy for home and didn't really want to buy another one.

Plenty of burp pads

Extra clothes--for you and the baby. Because you never know quite what's going to come out of the little bugger, and most likely it'll happen right before you have to go to a meeting.

for sleeping

A pack-n-play or other portable crib: If you have the space and plan to bring the baby to work regularly, this is essential. A close-to-newborn will sleep much of the day, and while she won't weigh a lot and you can certainly get a lot done with her sleeping in your lap or over your shoulder or even in a sling, it's also helpful to have both hands free occasionally. Plus, many models have a diaper-changing tray, which is also handy not only for the advertised purpose but for storing the nursing pillow. Plus, if you think you'll be bringing the baby to work even after she outgrows the bassinette layer and the diaper tray, it's nice to have a secure place for the toddler to sleep (Working Baby #1 was a thrasher). Also, as the baby gets older, it doubles as baby jail, and every so often it's good to be able to keep the baby out of something that's going on in the office--if there's a reason to sort piles of paper on the floor or something else temporary but fragile.

Anyway, the model I have is navy-and-white, very subtle. It also has a sort of sunshade/umbrella thing that might help some babies calm down, or at least it blocks some of the light, and there's a little vibrating doohickey that connected to the bassinette, to which first Working Baby seemed mostly indifferent, though #2 quite likes it.

These look comparable:

from Graco, this model, which lacks the sunshade.

Also this model, with the sunshade.

Or, if you know you'll be limiting the baby's time at work to infancy, and space is at a premium, you might go with a Moses basket. Most of these are long and narrow and have soft but not too puffy linings. I never had a reason to have one, but I love the idea (though I think the temptation to store stuff in the basket would be overwhelming, and then it wouldn't be much use for holding the baby). For those in larger office who might have (or want) to move a sleeping baby--to a meeting down the hall, for example--a Moses basket would be ideal. Plus, talk about low-profile for the office--you could shove the kid under your desk, and no one would ever know it was there!

Here are some good options:

from babybeemine, which also sells old-timey wooden high chairs.

or, if you're trying to impress, posh tots has fabulous baskets in a variety of patterns and styles (at a variety of not-so-fabulous prices. They also sell a $75,000--yes, there are really that many zeroes in the price--bed shaped like Cinderella's carriage. Really, it's worth a visit to the site just to gasp at it.)