Occasionally, I take my boys to work with me for an hour or two. I work at a relatively family-friendly environment where I don’t often get the stink eye for trailing two little ducklings behind me now and then.
This doesn’t mean it’s always a comfortable experience, keeping the lids on two unpredictable tornado sirens in a professional manner.
If I could take them individually, it wouldn’t be so stressful. Lacking toddler interference, I could teach the big boy to do my job. Of course, he is too young and uneducated to do it all, but I could start him on the basics. Then, after he has completed his kindergarten degree and is fully qualified for my work, he’d hit the ground running when he takes over for me in earnest. This, by the way, is my retirement plan. Some family member needs to be sitting at that desk and bringing home a paycheck until the day I die. It might as well be him.
Buster wouldn’t be bad on his own either. There’s a 30% chance he’d fall asleep. Otherwise, he’d be content to pound away on my keyboard and write my reports in that monkey language he types. This is a different, but equally readable, monkey language than the one my typing produces, so the reports would be similarly useful to my superiors. He is second in line for my throne in our succession plan.
Together, they create a more difficult visit to pull off inconspicuously. Childhood is a competition to push buttons. We have lots of buttons at work. Be it the elevator, automatic doors, or the water cooler, we have lots of buttons to race toward – screaming. These buttons also leave ample opportunities for the second-place finisher to whine and cry, which puts me in an awkward place because that’s usually my role at work.
Even when we are packed within the half-walls of my office, there are too many buttons. I have an adding machine on my desk. Every time the boys visit, they change the settings so that my decimal places are off for weeks. I can usually get it fixed by the day before their next visit. The Accounting Department still gets the general gist of what I mean.
Keys fascinate children also. There are filing cabinets outside my office. In them I keep reams of paperwork that no one could find useful or interesting. I keep this ocean of paper locked up tight because that allows me to act like a guy who’s authorized to access company secrets. Co-workers know better, but the boys are impressed. They want to know secrets too; after their last visit, I’m not sure where the keys are. Now I have to keep up a false front about being privy to whatever the hell those papers say.
Maybe I should spare my co-workers all the whining and crying by asking to work from home. But I’m unsure if they’d still let me send the kids in.