Where we left our story, Minnow and I had arrived on campus for my 8 am lecture.
First, just a reminder that my child really is the most easy-going 8 month old in history.
I brought along her stroller, a sling, a few toys, and her diaper bag (all already in the car). I figured I’d put her in the sling during class, or if she wanted to get down and crawl around, that would be OK too. Secretly, I kind of hoped some student would volunteer to watch her and I’d gallantly refuse saying that her education was more important than my inconvenience. None did.
We arrive about 3 minutes before class, and I introduced Minnow to some of the early arrivals. At the start of class, I introduced her to those assembled, jokingly calling her the guest lecturer. The first twenty minutes of class was spent on a small group activity, so Minnow (in the sling) and I circulated amongst the groups, listening, and directing the discussions.
After the group work, I launched into the lecture. I found it difficult to use the pointer with the sling on, so I did a bit more standing at a distance and describing the slide than usual. I like the sling for a hip carry which is where Minnow is happiest these days for just walking around, but it restricts arm movement on the side where the fabric goes over the shoulder. The ergo gives me full arm motion, but I haven’t figured out the hip carry with it yet (and I didn’t have time to try this morning.).
Toward the end of the first chunk of lecture, Minnow started to get fussy, and suddenly I realized that she hadn’t eaten in 2 hours. We still had 30 minutes to go, so there was no way she was going to make it through class without feeding. I had an empty sippy cup, but I didn’t think water would amuse her for a half-hour. Fortunately, part-way through my lecture, I’d included an example exam question, and so when I hit that slide, I told the class to discuss it amongst themselves for a few minutes. The other fortunate thing is that Minnow is a speed eater and rarely nurses for more than a few minutes at a time during the day. So while my students had ample time to discuss the question, Minnow had time for a snack in an adjacent empty classroom.
Returning to my classroom, I resumed the lecture and only in the last few minutes of class did Minnow decide to interject with her opinion on the subject (“babababababa”).
So, all in all, things went remarkably well. I’m impressed with how well Minnow did, and how well I was able to tune her out and focus on what I was trying to teach. In the past I’ve found that when I’ve had Minnow in my arms, my brain has turned to mush, but I guess I’ve got a little better filter these days. I know that if I have to bring her to class again, I need to plan on feeding her directly before class or finding some sort of food that she can eat without my help. Of course, this will get easier as she gets older.
I don’t want to bring Minnow to class again this semester, but now at least I know what to expect if it does happen. And next semester my first class isn’t ’til 9:30, so I shouldn’t have quite so many early morning catastrophes.
As far as dealing with Fish, I was initially quite pissed. My usual tactic when he f’s up is to call him, tell him off and then hang up on him. (really mature, I know). This time I didn’t call him until my usual leaving work check-in. I asked him to study her daycare sheet, which records arrival time, feedings, etc. and told him we’d discuss it when I got home. By then, he’d figured out what had happened. We discussed several different options (after I refused to let him shift the blame) and I think we have some strategies for avoiding bottle disasters in the future. Our principal idea is to increase the supply of both pumping and feeding bottles, so that if they don’t get thoroughly scrubbed each night we’re still OK for the next day. I also decided that the morning that I have my teaching evaluation, I’m going to try to hire a babysitter to be on hand from 6-8 am so that I can have a few moments of calm no matter what’s happening with Minnow.