Impromptu Take Your Daughter to Work Day

My dad was a science teacher, and I spent many a day going to work with him, on Saturdays or summer days, while he set up his classrooms, rebuilt bulletin boards, and generally did teacher stuff. I have pleasant memories of wandering through empty schools, exploring new corridors, and taking the occasional break to draw epic space battles while my dad put the finishing touches on a display case packed with jars of preserved crittees caught at Sandy Hook. I also headed to work with my mom a bunch of times, where she’d show me the computers, the main frames, and — of course — the robot that delivered mail.

Yesterday, I got to do the same with one of my kids.

Easton was hit by a nasty snow and ice storm that shut down the schools, and caused the college where I work to open at noon. My wife Sue had a project due this weekend that she was desperate to work on, so I volunteered to take my daughter StarGirl to work with me. I figured it was a good day for it; it was a half-day for me, there wouldn’t be many people around because of the storm, and at almost five, StarGirl has the self control to pull it off.

So I packed up my kitbag with StarGirl’s LeapPad, the baseball movie The Rookie (which she loves), the Nintendo DS (with Nintendogs and Animal Crossing) and a few sheets of her preschool homework. I also packed a lunch, complete with hummas, Triscuits, carrots, and olives.

As those who follow my twitterfeed already know, it went very well. StarGirl did all her homework, fed her virtual dog, and designed some new clothing patterns in Animal Crossing (which is her character’s job, or so she tells me). We had lunch in the library cafe, during which we sat on stools, looked out the window onto the quad, and had pleasant conversations about movies and technology. Afterwards, she had a blast playing around with Photo Booth on my Mac. We checked out Cars from the library, but Jordan quickly tired of that. Instead, she decided she wanted to visit BunnyTown at Playhouse Disney. I set her up on my personal Mac Book Pro, and she spent an hour or so experimenting with the different Disney sites.

By day’s end, she started getting a bit punchy, so I turned her loose on my office Star Wars LEGOs and my Constructicon Transformers, which bought me enough time to finish up the PHP scripts I was working on.

All in all, it was a great day. True, StarGirl didn’t get to do the kind of workplace explorations I used to do, but she’s only 4, and the library’s a little too big for her to go exploring on her own right now. In a few years though, I’m sure that will change. I was able to get a lot of work done, even with the occasional preschooler question.

StarGirl had a blast, and asked me if we could do this every week. It’d be nice … but I don’t think my productivity could take that kind of it. We will do it again though — I can easily see bringing her in during the summer, and I’m sure we’ll have more snow days in the years ahead.

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