BLOG – The apprentice
- Published: November 10, 2011
If you have read my blog even once, then you have certainly been made aware of the fact that I have a daughter, a toddler named Lucy, who I am contractually obligated to mention at least once in every blog post. (The contract, by the way, is with Lucy, who agrees to sleep at least 11 hours per night if I continue to refer to her; I find it an agreeable arrangement.)
Lucy has been coming to work with me for several hours each week since she was just over a month old. When I was pregnant, Anthony and I started discussing childcare options for after I returned to work. I remember joking, “Well, I guess she could get a job at the News.” I made the same (painfully unfunny) quip at a staff meeting a few days later. I was told, to my surprise, that mine would not be the first foundling to inhabit the News‘s hallowed and somewhat irregular halls, and that I ought to consider it a viable option.
I kept the offer in the back of my mind, sure that something else would present itself.
This is what the office looks like now:
Lucy spends one day a week gallivanting around the house of her grandma, who lives in Wilmington and to whom our little family is eternally grateful. On all other days, when my schedule and Anthony’s overlap, Lucy comes with me to the News office. During the first few months of her life, having Lucy around at work was like having a really adorable plant: you bring it in, everybody coos at it, then you put it down to rest in a safe place and you go about your business.
But babies, like plants, grow bigger, wilder and harder to manage. These days, this is Lucy’s work itinerary:
1. Arrive, with a shriek, as though to announce, “Well, you lucky jerks, I’m here!”
2. All work from other employees must abruptly stop.
3. Rush into the main work area, being picked up by every obliging member of staff.
4. If possible, steal someone’s phone.
5. If no phone is available, immediately proceed to recycling bin.
6. Empty recycling bin.
7. Replace contents of recycling bin.
8. Empty recycling bin.
10. Repeat steps 6-9 ad nauseum.
11. Allow self to be shepherded into mother’s office and sealed off behind obstructive gate.
12. Furiously play with all toys for 5 to 7 minutes.
13. Become bored; begin pulling any and all reachable objects from mother’s desk onto floor.
14. Shout “No!” continuously when objects are retrieved and placed out of reach.
15. Walk to obstructive gate.
16. Shake obstructive gate.
17. Look mournfully at those who pass obstructive gate.
18. Cackle triumphantly at mother when lifted by passerby from the confines of obstructive gate.
19. Wriggle vigorously until released in main work area by said passerby.
20. Repeat steps 3-19 until father arrives.
As they say, “It’s a dirty job,” etc. etc. And I like to think that the paper arrives in your mailbox each week all because of Lucy’s contributions. Or in spite of them, however you want to phrase it.
Being a part of this office is just another part of my family’s Yellow Springs education. Lucy has a strange apprenticeship here at the News; perhaps, as she grows, she will learn to use the cash register. Before long, she will be selling you vitamins, gnawing zwieback toast as she defines for you the various merits in the spectrum of B vitamins. I see her one day becoming the village’s youngest proofreader, my weekly copy marked up in crayon as she tells me, “Mommy, you know the AP Stylebook opposes use of the Oxford comma. Now gimme my juice box.”
Every day, within the walls of the Yellow Springs News, she is learning and learning, though thus far, her apprenticeship has only covered those most elemental of lessons. She learned to crawl here
and she learned to walk here.
She learned to wear a mouse costume here.
She eats here, she plays here. Occasionally she sleeps here. That makes her as much a member of the staff as the rest of us.
I expect Lucy to learn much during her apprenticeship here at the Yellow Springs News. Feel free to stop by the office some time and teach her something new.