I got a laptop computer for Christmas -- an invaluable tool in combining a full-time job with motherhood, I told my husband.
With it I can work at home, during the boring parts of some meetings or when I'm sitting in a hallway waiting for a group's executive session to end.
It'll maximize my time with my children.
So far it's only maximized the ache in my shoulder from carrying it back and forth so I'll always have it when I need it.
It's not that I'm getting no use out of it (my husband would kill me if he thought that), it's that it's not working out the way I'd envisioned it.
I could see myself working away on the couch with a cup of coffee at my feet while Must See TV offered an occasional distraction.
The husband would be rocking one baby while the other laid on the floor with crayons.
Occasionally I'd get up and color with Katie or give Nikki a cracker, a few quick tosses in the air and a cuddle.
See any problems with that picture?
Here's the thing. If I work on the couch, I've got two kids using me as a jungle gym while trying to poke the keys on my precious laptop.
They weren't even sanitized for crying out loud! (The kids, not the keys.)
After 37 requests of "don't touch (one that ends with Katie kissing the screen) I decided the couch wasn't the place to work.
So, I moved to the desk.
Even worse, and that's not their fault.
You see, they spend a lot of time on daddy's lap as he uses the computer. His arms are long enough to do both.
The other mistake is mine and mine alone. They like the computer so much that sometimes when their fussy I'll sit them at the desk and let them play with the keyboard and the mouse.
Anyway, they think there entitled. And, they're pretty good at it. Nikki managed to create a new folder in the system folder entitled "xxx.,zm;." I was way impressed. If she has an aptitude for computers, walking won't be required.
But that's my husband's computer -- way different than my trusty laptop.
So I came up with a third option. I threw the girls in the bathtub and set up my "office" in the bathroom.
Everyone was happy, although it wasn't what I'd envisioned. I didn't count the number of times I had to dry my hands so I could type after making Nikki sit down.
Next option: Work after they sleep. That puts me starting around 9 or 10 p.m.
The other night, I got home after a late meeting and the girls were already asleep. I brewed a cup of coffee, set up the trusty laptop and got set to work in peace and quiet.
About and hour in, I hear Nikki start to wake up, something that's usually quickly fixed with a bottle. No problem.
Then I hear her gag and retch.
Not so easily fixed.
I went and picked her up, removed the top layer of blankets from her bed, cleaned her up and rocked her back to sleep.
We did that twice more -- until she had no more layers of blankets in her bed.
She finally fell into a deep, comfortable sleep and I was able finish my work and go to bed.
It was really, really, really late.
As I snuggled under the covers and closed my eyes, I heard Nikki wake again. I listened for a minute, held an internal debate and kicked my husband out of bed.
Hey, there are advantages.
It's amazing and amusing to see what combining a job and parenthood results in.
My boss called me at home. I picked up the phone and then started to the only place in the house where I have any privacy -- the bathroom/office.
Meanwhile, Katie's picked up the other phone and is babbling away. She says "bye bye," hangs up the phone and follows me in.
My boss thinks it's cute until all she can hear is "Katie, that's soap, not lotion.
"Katie, that's not lotion."
"Katie, give me that."
"Katie come back here!"
My boss thinks she's caught me at a bad time.
That's my life and talking to the boss while wiping soap out of the carpet is just part of it.
Thank God she missed my laptop!