Who's Your Daddy?

I would like to take this opportunity to rant about one facet of what it's like working in Corporate America during the holidays. But before I begin, I want you to know that I love children and nearly everything about them except their propensity for making messes.

On Wednesday, one of the managers who works in the vicinity of my cubicle brought his twins to work with him for the day. It was cute at first listening to their giggles and high-pitched voices throughout the day because it certainly broke up the monotony. At first, I wasn't the least bit distracted by their presence at the office nor was I aggravated that they spent their whole afternoon playing just mere feet away from me while I stared at my computer screen and analyzed numbers for my fun.

But the following day their novelty wore off. At 8am, my morning began with listening to the brood stomp into their dad's office to begin their day watching Looney Tunes on the portable DVD player. This one simple act brought to mind a deeper understanding of why some say television was the babysitter of my generation.

And here's where my rant begins: Precocious twin toddlers are not meant to sit in their father's office all day watching cartoons on a tiny dvd player. Boredom sets in pretty quickly and Bugs Bunny isn't nearly as interesting as running up and down the aisle towards the soda machine pushing brightly lit buttons for Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew.

How can kids possibly behave when they're surrounded by harsh fluorescent lights, computers, telephones and piles of paperwork when they're crammed into a small office and their father's body language and actions clearly communicate he just wants to be left alone?

It's at this point in my rant that I want to thank Corporate America for putting me about four cubicles away from this disaster. They say in real estate that it's all about location, location, location and boy am I lucky to be sitting across from the childless woman with the loud mouth rather than the daddy with the twins.

Not so lucky was Andrea who expressed an interest early on Wednesday that this little boy and girl were just about the cutest kids she's ever seen. (I don't know if the manager was her boss or not, but if she was going for the kiss-ass move it surely backfired on her big time.) About 30 minutes into Thursday morning, the twins were parked inside her cube coloring on her purchase orders and asking about a gazillion questions while she tried to work. Poor misguided Andrea.

I think to myself that if I sat across from Big Daddy, I would be in for a whole lot of trouble because my cubicle is filled with lots of interesting crap that would suck them in like a dirt devil on a throw-rug. I've got a Care Bear calendar, a Smurf party banner, Alf figurines, dishes of candy, a koosh ball....well, you get the picture. I'd be a big mess of excitement for these kids when in fact, all I ever wanted to be is a is a well-paid responsible adult with a kid's mentality to get me through the day.

Thankfully I took a half-day on Thursday so I didn't have to endure too much of this party train. But throughout the morning, I kept an open e-mail on my PC and logged the most interesting tidbits that I overheard while trying to get some work done. These phrases were either uttered by fellow co-workers who hadn't seen or noticed them on Wednesday, shouts from Big Daddy, questions and answers from the kids themselves...you get the idea.

  • Who's Daddy's favorite team? PATRIOTS!
  • Stay still or I'm gonna staple you two to the chair!
  • Daddy's gotta do some work. Now be quiet.
  • Sit down or I'm gonna give you something to cry about!
  • Shhhhhhhhh! Shhhhhhhhh! Shhhhhhhh!
  • Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!
  • Doritos for breakfast? Go for it.
  • Wow. Barbie's come a long way.
  • Awww. My hair is the same color as yours.
  • Did you get that from Santa?
  • You guys are gonna have to use your quiet voice or no Cinderella.
  • Daddy needs a TIME OUT.

I implore you, unless there is no other choice, don't bring your kids to work. Pay a babysitter or burden a relative to watch them rather than dragging them to work with you. Trust me on this. It's in no way fun for them and it's a pain in the ass for you. You will be viewed as a terrible parent when your kids act up and you can't control them. You will look like a big jerk to those around you when you stick someone else with the job of keeping your kids amused. No one needs to see your kids at work for more than 15 minutes. The photographs of your children that you keep on your desk and the drawings that they did for you that are hanging on your office wall are simply enough.

In my Corporate America, children are better off not seen.

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