Wednesday, March 3, 2010

To Work is To Play

At the moment it does appear that mom and dad go to work, and our work is a place of play for our babe. But in a good way.

I walk in the office and put her down and Scarlett goes straight for the toys. We have a toy area in the reception area for our clients with kids & it seems that its one of Scarlett's favorite places. Everything is at her height-even the big box of books that she can look through and choose her favorites. At home, the books are either scattered on the floor or on a shelf above her head-what were we thinking? And in case she's bored with that, or we move her intentionally to the other main room, she does have another stash of her "own" toys, hidden in a cupboard.

And of course, the things that are not toys have the most appeal at the moment-the water cooler-if she could only figure out how to get the water out of, the plastic envelope that holds all of our daily business transactions, the rooms that she's not normally in have enormous appeal, and of course the elusive hallway-if only she was allowed to run up and down in all the time!

One of the biggest benefits to bringing our tot to work, is the opportunity for her to socialize with many different people. This list is endless, but some days it feel like she's Norm walking into Cheers-"I hear Scarlett coming...Here she is!". Topping the list for friendly faces are our co-workers. I like to think she's like Elan's mascot, adding cheer to every body's day as she enters the room (what baby doesn't?). Considering our office has only 6 people working there, she's had opportunity to watch everybody and see consistent faces through her baby and toddler year to date. Unfortunately she does seem them more often than all of our family, but at least there's familiarity there!

And of course our clients. At first she was such a novelty to have in the office when she was a wee babe. I had clients who would be disappointed if she wasn't in the office. Almost as if they were coming to see her and not me! And the lure and beauty of a sleeping baby- we contemplated putting her behind a glass window, as everyone wanted to see and touch her. It is a joy to watch how our clients are interested in how she's growing and learning and to be able to see her daily through new eyes.

Now in a typical day she may get to: poke the eye of a 7-week old baby; try to play with the 3 year old girl in the toy area; wiggle out of the arms of a few motherly &/or grandmotherly clients who would love to hold her if only...; steal the glasses off some body's head; try to crawl into an infant carrier; bat her eyes at the new stranger who has entered the office but not yet paid her any attention; watch Daddy (or Mommy) talk to his (her) patients; or hold onto Mommy's legs as we transition between our work schedules. Occasionally she may play quietly on the floor with a toy as one of us gets work done, but more likely, stomp on the floor as she figures out her feet and searches out the next thing she can get into.

She is only at work for short periods of time as we switch our care giving roles. Usually anywhere from a half hour to the longest of a couple hours, depending on our schedules. And her play at the office? A little bit of the toys and books on hand, and a lot of visiting and playing with the other people who frequent our office. And exploring of course. Perhaps surprisingly, we still get work done, although mostly when the other parent has her.

It is still work once we have entered the office. But seeing our work space through the eyes of a toddler does make the day feel a tiny bit more like play.

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