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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Bring your baby to work day

It finally happened - I had to bring the baby to work. I know many parents have been doing this for months, but somehow I escaped. This time, we had no choice. The daycare abruptly closed the infant room when an infant tested positive for COVID, and all babies were quarantined for fourteen days since the last day the sick baby was in the center.

The sick baby, by the way, is fine and was only tested because his grandma tested positive. But anyway, my baby was suddenly without care! Baby sitters are a no-no because he was in quarantine: because of his risk of exposure, we couldn't allow someone else into our circle. I couldn't get any time off on short notice, so I dragged him along with me to work. We - well, David! - had done "work from home" with the baby before, but it's a little more complicated to bring a baby to your busy pharmacy. But he's over 6 months now, so I figured he would be able to handle it. I dragged a little travel bed and some toys with me, and we gave it a go.

My counseling room/nursery
I handled naps by putting him down in my separate counseling room. I could turn off the lights, but light streams in through glass windows in two doors, plus it's adjacent to our lobby, with people walking in and out (and the chime that rings whenever the door opens!). So his naps weren't great. He goes to sleep on his own, but he needs his nap routine to recognize it's nap time. I was worried about recreating that at work, but I read him a book, sang him his song, and he went right to sleep.He did wake up early, though, but he got in two solid naps both days I kept him, plus a third in the morning before, so I felt good about that.

Entertaining him was another kettle of fish. He is mobile, I had no playpen or way to restrict him, and the pharmacy is nothing but wires, outlets, heavy shelving, and toxic chemicals. Somehow I managed to keep him occupied, but he did interrupt a few calls with loud talking! He's a chatty one these days! Day two was tougher, as he was getting really bored, but we survived. He was a big hit with my coworkers, but he was happy to go home.
Ways I entertained him:

  • Making silly faces while discussing very serious things with patients over the phone
  • Allowing him phone cord privileges
  • Stretching his lunch out over an entire hour...very slowly flying roast beef toward his mouth. His "airplane" was clearly a prop plane instead of a jet.
  • Putting him in an empty box. This occupied him for almost an hour, until I realized he was eating the paper tape off one flap.
  • Taping his toys to the wall and letting him pick at the tape with his teeny little fingers until he finally succeeded in tearing them off
  • Playing music on my phone and dancing with him while on a conference call
  • Giving him wrapped plastic utensils and letting him figure that out
Luckily, I only had to cover two days at work: David kept him two other days, and next week I took off until he gets to go back to daycare. I'm really hoping this is a rare occurrence. For one thing, we have a department of defense childcare subsidy, but they only reimburse for days he actually attends. For another, daycare does NOT reduce our rates for time they are closed. And most importantly, figuring out the childcare solution is hard! 


  1. Oh man, that is so tough. I really hope you do not have more closures. We've been lucky and there have only been 3 cases and they were all in a different room from Paul's so only that room closed. So things have gone incredibly well - better than we expected. Phil and I are lucky in that we can work from home. But it's hard to work and watch a toddler who doesn't understand mom needs to work... So I am grateful we haven't had to watch him since he went back in April. But we did have him with us for 7 weeks in Mar/Apr and paid full tuition during that time. Eeks. I just try not to think about the wasted money. But at that point I was too nervous to send him back, especially since I was newly pregnant. But once we had the 8w US and everything looked good, he was back the very next day!!

    This is just such a tough situation for so many parents. My heart goes out to everyone who has to figure out how to balance work and childcare. My company does have back up child care - I think you get something like 2 weeks and a nanny would get sent to your house? But our house is not set up for a nanny... Paul would find me and I can't see him doing well with a stranger. So we've never used it.

  2. Oh man, that sounds like a difficult situation to find yourself in. You were really creative with how you handled it and it sounds like everything worked out ok. I hope that your daycare situation is more stable in the future!