“Helping” Dad At Work

The past two weeks have been totally insane at work.  I have a work project that launches in less than two weeks – YIKES!   I’ve been wearing my PR gal hat in writing, pitching and placing stories and literally crossing-off the days until this project kicks-off.  The last thing I’ve been motivated to do when I’ve gotten home tonight – after seeing the kidlets off to bed – is sit down and write some more for my blog.  I’m tired, unmotivated and a week behind in my soap opera….so my dear, kind and supportive husband Tyler — AKA @DadandMarried surprised me with this guest post.  He’s a great dad and I know you’ll enjoy his guest post here today!

DISCLAIMER: Not all of the parenting “techniques” described below are necessarily endorsed by The Harried Mom. Yeah, I know she’s my wife and all, but I am just covering my behind here…

As loyal readers of this blog know, recently our oldest child started kindergarten.


He’s growing up, learning things, making new friends, and most importantly, we are no longer on the hook paying a thick stack of ‘Dead Presidents’ to have a 20-year-old babysit him at daycare all day and expose him to questionable Nicki Minaj songs during gym time.

So far, he seems to love it.  I get to drop him off every day, and each time he seems a little less stressed, and clings a just a little less tightly to me. He even has a few friends he now says “hi” to as we dutifully wait in line for school to start with the ring of the bell, which, truthfully, sounds like a cross between an air-raid blurt and some scary signal out of “The Hunger Games.”

He started school right after Labor Day, which seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Honestly, and here comes one of those “when I was a kid” asides,  I can remember starting my school day as early as August 20-something.  Seriously, it seemed like there was always three weeks of good weather left and here I am already up to the “Olive” color in my classroom’s SRA lab.

   All the lovely colors are represented in the SRA Reading Lab I grew up with in school

Not only that, we didn’t get any time off until Thanksgiving! I was trapped in a five-day-a-week slog that didn’t end until the Macy’s Parade trudged down Broadway in NYC. Well, here it is, near the end of September, and my boy has already had 3 days off!

We live back east, so he gets a lot of religious holidays off that I never got growing up in Colorado — I admit, it was pretty white-bread out there. I am happy he is growing up exposed to many more customs, cultures and religions than I ever knew of as a child, but as a working parent, it does pose a bit of a quandary. What to do with a “free-range” child in the middle of the week?

Last week, our son had two days off and we just told our after-school nanny to take him all day — go bowling, go to a museum, go see “Madagascar 14 in 3D,” anything to make the day go by.   Now while we LOVE our nanny, I have to admit there was a bit of “sticker shock” for me and the missus when the bill came due.  Since we knew one more day was coming up this week, I volunteered to take the boy in to my job.

Hey, it could be fun, right? He’d get to see what daddy does for work-after all, he thinks I sit in front of a computer all day and watch TV.  OK, so for full disclosure: for a living I do sit in front of a computer all day and watch TV!

So it was set. The big day came for our son to come in with me to my work, which was yesterday.  Now, technically, I don’t usually work at my office.  I go to another place where I am “the client,” so I get treated pretty well.   I will usually take the train in, but since it was a holiday I decided to drive in. We packed his backpack with his favorite Godzilla toys, a dvd to watch, and loaded up on brown liquids at 7-Eleven — coffee with nasty diet French Vanilla creamer for me and chocolate milk for the boy — and flew into the city.

We got to my building, went into the lobby and a friendly elevator guard gave him a fist-bump.  The pretty receptionist where I do my work, gave the boy a big smile and buzzed us in.   Now, all the women where I work love my boy –his golden hair, his big blue eyes and his sweet nature.  They just go crazy for him!  Soon he had half a muffin, apple juice and was seated at the table where I work as I got started.

Less than five minutes in, I heard the first “I’m BOOOORED!!”

Ok, fine.

I learned about a magical invention which will keep my boy occupied for hours.  It’s called “YouTube,” perhaps you have heard of it?  I have discovered this wondrous invention is jam-packed with complete episodes of his favorite cartoon that some kind soul in Finland has uploaded (I guess they don’t worry about such nuisances as “copyright laws” there).

So, good, multiple 22 minutes chunks of Lego Ninjas fighting each other?  As they say, “THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!” and my boy would be occupied watching TV so I could get to my important job of watching TV.  Well, unfortunately, the boy quickly grew tired of watching these, so I had to find something else.

Luckily,I had brought my trusty iPad, which is surely the greatest invention ever for a parent.  I had loaded it up with some racing games since he loves to play them.  I had to explain who “Sonic the Hedgehog” was and made sure none of the games involved turning zombies into roadkill.  Well, all was fine until he blurted out, “Daddy, it stopped working!” and handed the iPad to me. Unbeknownst to me, one of the games I had put on had the dreaded “purchase in app” add-on.  Yikes!  He was one click away from putting me on the hook for $99.99 worth of imaginary gold bars that were needed for his tricked-out monster truck to “keep racing.”

OK, maybe it’s time for the DVD…

Now, as anyone who has tried to watch DVDs on a computer knows, it’s not really the easiest or best way to go.  Especially since his film of choice was, as always, a Godzilla movie. As soon as I figured out how to get the Japanese language and subtitles off, so he could experience a Godzilla movie the way it should be experienced, with lousy English dubbing, he was now occupied again for one hour and fifty-two minutes. That was just enough time for me to download pictures I needed to use for the video I was making, watch a short clip from the TV show I work for and write a short script. Which, fortunately, is about 90% of my job most days.

Who doesn’t love a good Godzilla movie, especially at age 5?!

That took us to lunchtime.  After lunch I tried to cajole him into a quick nap, no dice. “Daddy, you said you had a surprise for me!” he said. One of the things I have learned as a parent is that your kids will never remember things you tell them a thousand times but they will always remember that one thing you said that you now wish they’d forget.

Yes, in a moment of weakness, I had told him the day earlier that I had a surprise for him at work that he’d get if he went in with me and behaved. That “surprise” was a Hero Factory figure I’d procured  earlier in the week. In case you don’t know what “Hero Factory” is, it’s a Lego (there’s that word again) toy that is a series of heroes/villains/robots that mostly look like a cross between “The Terminator” and a Dyson vacuum. There are probably hundreds of these things, but I honestly can’t remember which ones my son has, so I plucked one-off the shelf and thought it was all good. Instead, what was supposed to be a moment of childhood joy I managed to turn into a horrible moment of traumatic tragedy. “Daddy—I ALREADY HAVE THAT ONE!!” my child tearfully said to me as I gave him this Made-In-China hunk of molded blue plastic that was supposed to buy me a couple of hours of uninterrupted employment. Daddy blew it.

How was I supposed to know my boy had this guy already?  They all look the same to me!

A granola bar and a few “Pink Panther” cartoons later, my boy forgot about the offense I had unintentionally committed. We spent a few more twitchy afternoon hours at work.  At 5 PM we were out the door, into the car, and heading back home.

It’s fun having my son at work, but I have to admit, I am glad when it ends.  Happily, I won’t face this problem again until Columbus Day. When is that again?

Thanks again Tyler for helping a gal out!  Now it’s your turn to share.  Have you ever taken your child to work with you?  What do you do to keep them occupied so you can get some real work done?!

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