Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Funeral and A Toddler

Sadly, my grandmother passed away earlier this year. And while this has nothing to do with my theme of baby at work, our babe comes everywhere with us, and so it was an odd and new adventure for all of us. And for some reason, you never seem to think that occasions like this may present themselves, but they do. So we figured out a few things that made the event and surrounding time more bearable.
  • Of course, we're surrounded by family-wonderful in all ways. Not only are we with loved ones, but extra sets of hands!
  • We kept thinking, Grandma would have loved to have seen all the kids and babies at her funeral! She wouldn't have minded them crawling everywhere, in face, let them dance and stomp their feet!
  • It's a looongg day, so we made every effort to plan naps and meals accordingly & strongly encouraged sleeping in the car between stops (funeral home, then grave site, then reception of course, then open house).
  • Bring toys, keys, wallets, any and all distractions possible. I didn't plan adequately for this and had every receipt in my wallet scattered on the pews.
  • Funeral homes are not necessarily baby-friendly/ prepare for no change tables, private rooms, etc.

Our Miss Scarlett enjoyed the service by vying for attention over the officiant, dancing and bopping her head to the gospel music her grandpa and uncle played, and playing peek-a-boo with her great-aunts sitting behind us. Who knew?

I found I was pre-occupied during the service with keeping Scarlett happy, but hope that we were able to celebrate Grandma's life in a way she would have appreciated-bringing another great-grand into this world, enjoying the music, bringing smiles to the faces around us and generally making the best of the situation. I think that was an appropriate way to deal with the day. And of course, I did take time for myself at a later time to reflect on my grandma's life and passing, without the babe wiggling in my lap! And what an amazing life-she had the life of a "settler" in Northern Alberta, raised kids and helped with grandkids, looked after her community of neighbors and friends, farmed, gardened, cooked, let us grandgirls drive when we were way underage (oops) and always made me feel like there was an adventure everyday or just ahead. So we shared one last adventure with my Grandma and the newest addition to the extended family.

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.