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Take work to your child day

Today is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

I wasn't aware of this development until briefed by our second-grade daughter over dinner last night. My wife and I were, mind you, deeply immersed in negotiating the complexities of Spirit Week. The previous three days had involved frantic searches -- for matching pajamas on Monday (Pajama Day!), for non-soiled athletic garments on Tuesday (Sports Day!) and -- harder than one might think -- for sufficiently-eccentric-yet-still-appropriate-for-class attire on Wednesday (Wacky Wednesday!).

My wife and I both work in cubicles, and always have; reporters and even most editors at newspapers do not generally get their own offices. Bringing a child to work isn't particularly practical. As I write this, my son is sitting, and spilling chocolate-chip-muffin crumbs, at the desk of my Campus Overload colleague, Jenna, who, thankfully, is on assignment.


My wife and I spent some time mulling who would get whom, and for how long. It was decided I would take Donovan, the kindergartner, downtown with me, with the understanding that I would probably have to get him home by 3 for the nanny, once the novelty of a Major Metropolitan Newsroom had worn off. She would take Madeleine, the second-grader, who is generally more focused and on-task than most adults and can easily get through an entire day at an office setting without much oversight.

And so, here we are.

I know I'm not the first person to have this thought, but I find myself wondering what young Donovan will gain from this experience.

To be sure, he will return home with a clearer sense of what his father does all day.

And yet, to him, the work itself is utterly familiar.

Why, just the other day, I was grabbing the laptop away from him (Goodbye, Wizard 101!) and signing on for a hectic hour of reporting and writing against a 7:15 deadline (which I subsequently blew), on the couch in the living room.

I probably work from home about four hours a week, sometimes considerably more, and both of my children are quite accustomed to periods of an hour or two when "Daddy has to do some work."

While my children may not be familiar with my place of work, they are most certainly familiar with my work. Rather than take the children to work, I bring work to them.

On the bright side, this little field trip has completely liberated our family from the unthinkable task of preparing for Yellow Thursday.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  April 22, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
 | Tags: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day  
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Your son is adorable. And I have to believe that the experience will indeed rub off on him. My three daughters could not tell anyone what I did for a living as late as their senior years in high school. When they were in my office, all they saw in my office was me on the phone. They told their high school friends, "My dad talks on the phone for a living." That should not happen to you.

Posted by: rkeith30 | April 22, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Your photo and post show the love you have for your kids. No matter what Donovan learned, I bet he enjoyed his field trip with his father.

I had my own fun at work today with a co-worker's children, who introduced me to the family's hermit crab.

Posted by: ehoman | April 22, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Hello Dan, Emma here from Chicago. I enjoy reading your blog and I'll be reading it regularly. Your son Donavan looks just like Sophie. What a wonderful article.

Posted by: jungbeeman | April 23, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

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