When I arrived at the event last weekend, I realized I had left it– my trusty bright yellow baby wrap. I thought, “I’m in trouble. I’m never gonna be able to do this!” But luckily, I had thrown Azita’s old ring sling– a one shouldered type of baby carrier– in the trunk for emergencies, and an emergency this was. This sling is pink and orange tye-dyed– so just as classy and stylish as the bright yellow one!
If Ada wasn’t getting older maybe I’d make a more subdued wrap for when I’m working!
I was covering another article for the Fayetteville Observer last Saturday on the Baghdad Bad Boys. I’ve done maybe 2 or 3 a month since Ada was 2 months old, and sometimes more than that before she was born. I started freelancing for them about a semester before I graduated with my journalism degree a year and a half ago.
I’ve run out of notebooks, I had a decent stock of them from when I worked on UNCP’s newspaper and from my internship at Raeford’s The News-Journal. All the half-used-up-and-then-misplaced notebooks from the past few years are used up now. I didn’t want to spend money on a new one so I raided Azita’s art drawer and dug up a green notebook that was sturdy and the right size. And I grabbed a hot pink pen, naturally. They coordinated well.
Of course, an oddly colored notebook isn’t at all why I might stick out while covering an article. I think the baby strapped to my chest does the trick. Many of the articles that have been assigned to me are ones that I can accomplish with phone interviews. Which is great. But I love doing things in person; I love talking to people, experiencing things. Probably why I like being a journalist. So I haven’t turned down any stories that I need to physically meet with people or be at an event to cover.
But I also just about refuse to pump bottles and leave Ada behind. I did that with Azita and it’s no fun. I pumped most days for 9 months, until solid food was enough to satisfy her while I was at school.
It’s just so much easier for me to keep Ada with me, not have to try to make her take a bottle and cry because it’s something she never had to get used to– although Azi did fine… babies adapt how they must, but I’m happy this time around to not have to force anything on Ada. Besides all that, I just hate pumping. I never want to do it again. If I have another kid and a full-time outside-the-home job, fine. But if I don’t have to, I’m not doing it!
Anyway, short story to all that is that I’ve taken Ada with me to cover 3 or 4 stories. One was just an interview with one person, another was an interview with several at a high school, and this past story was the event I covered.
The positive comments from people are great. People think it’s the coolest thing. I’ve even taken Azita to jobs with my a few times, but when she was about 2– and at that age, taking a babysitter, a friend of mine was always necessary. Once was a kid friendly event so I let her come along.
I know– some people probably think that it’s crazy and I need to let go of my anxieties about leaving a kid less than a year old. My mother-in-law constantly offers to watch the baby and encourages me to pump milk. But she also tells me that she understands and hated leaving her children when they were this young. Ada is 6 months old now anyway. So soon, if these food allergies don’t hamper us too much, she’ll be eating more than just milk anyway, and I can leave her for a short time. She’ll be too into stuff for me to effectively take her after 9 months or so anyway– even at this event she kept grabbing my pen. Cute the first 28 times.
But like I was saying, people just love it. It would be impossible to interview them without my trusty yellow wrap that I so fondly write about, the one that Ada lives, breathes, eats, sleeps, gardens, checks emails, types blogs, makes smoothies, cooks dinner and interviews people in. I get so many nice comments about it anyway, and especially when people see me as a working mom. Women tell me how lucky I am, and I agree. I never knew when I decided to become a writer that I’d be able to mesh staying at home with kids so well.
I was a little hesitant when asked if I could do this particular assignment because it was an hour away from Fayetteville and Ada still cries through many car trips. She doesn’t suck her thumb or take a pacifier, and thus, when she needs comfort in the car she just wails. Perhaps I’ll appreciate that she doesn’t have these habits when she isn’t still sucking her thumb at age three like Azita.
I decided because of the timing, I’d have to leave home around her morning nap and then leave the event I’d cover around the afternoon nap, so I’d go for it. I made it there fine, and had to stop twice on the way home, but all in all, she did good.
It was a big event, with lots of people. Several motherly older ladies asked to hold her. One did, and Ada just started bawling. Not normal for her, but she was hungry, and we found a quiet private place to nurse. But the look on her face was the insecure look that I recognized from when Azita was that age and I left her regularly. It wasn’t a cry for food, it was a cry for momma. She’s getting older now, and realizing when nothing around her is familiar and I’m not holding her. It broke my little heart!
It makes me happy that I’ve been taking her with me the times that I can. Somehow at times I still feel guilty when she’s fussy and not feeling well– usually because of a food reaction from me eating the wrong thing– and I leave her on the floor, or in the swing, or with Payman, in trying to get something done or being with Azita. He always reminds me, “Don’t worry– remember how much you were gone with Azita. No matter what, Ada’s got it good.”
Marian Kuczero, a lactation consultant and mother of a person I interviewed for a story, sent me this email message:
“I went to the NC Breastfeeding Coordinator’s Conference last week in Greensboro. I was telling some of my peers about you nursing during Alex’s interview and they were so excited to hear about it. It’s things like that, and people like you, who will help us to make breastfeeding in public a common occurrence.”
You know, I don’t know if pausing an interview to nurse a baby or having one with me is professional or not, but I’m discreet, and like I said, no one’s ever told me anything negative.