It’s eight in the morning and think I just broke Thing 2. She tried jumping on me from her bed as I was looking in the closet for something acceptable that Thing 2 could wear to school. She slid down my back and landed on the corner of the bed, much like Wile E Coyote slides down a bare cliff face after an unsuccessful pursuit of the Roadrunner. She knocked all the air out of her little lungs and is gasping like a mullet stuck on dry land. I fear the worst and quickly picture her spending her entire summer in a full body cast, doodling images of monkey bars, boogie boards and tap shoes. As she catches her breath and I lay her flat on the bed, my wife, a trained chiropractor, comes in and quickly runs through a complex diagnostic sequence of 47 neurological tests. The prognosis is positive and it is decided she will accompany me to work as planned on her day off from school. Having a six year old coming into work with you is in many ways a mixing of church and state. Up to now my work life and my home life have been largely separate. My work for the kids is like this mythical place I disappear to and magically return from during the week. It’s like I’m going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or something but today one of the Oompa Loompas’ is coining with. I forgo my usual cab ride and we board a subway at Chambers St. using the uptown 3 train. Thing 1 loves everything about the subway, from sneaking under the turnstile to putting a quarter into a urine-stained panhandler’s paper coffee cup. She will not sit down, preferring to hold on to pole and ride the train like a bucking bronco. This day is no different and I can see no signs of a serious back injury as she spins around the pole in a way that would concern any parent. A mobile mariachi band boards between Houston and 14th street and starts up a shaky version of Juan Ta Na Merda. Another quarter disappears. We exit from this subterranean playground at 23rd and start walking east to my office. We walk in the lobby and co-workers who are otherwise pretty open minded starting looking at me like I’m holding hands with a Yeti. I guess it’s a bit out of context but that doesn’t warrant this level of weirdness. I quickly bring her back to my office and begin her 4 hour shift. We have five activities planned today:
1. Sort and count all the change I’ll accumulated over the last 4 years. Give her a 10% cut.
2. Go collect someone who’s come for a meeting in the front lobby and bring them back to my office. She refuses to do this siting the “stranger danger” policy we’ve been drumming into her head since birth.
3. Ride over to the creative department on a scooter and find someone to do an art project with. She rolls back up with a rose made of toilet paper, a cow-shaped paper weigh and a mask of Queen Elisabeth.
4. Lunch from the vending machine bought from the proceeds of the change sorting task.
5. Deliver some expense reports to Finance. She comes back flustered like she’s been to the principal’s office. I know exactly how she feels.
We finish up at 3pm and like a couple of Wall St. hedge fund managers and walk out to an awaiting black car service that will take us to Odeon in TriBeCa for cocktails. She will have fresh squeezed orange juice and I will have a martini with three olives…. but just one. Once again, she will pay.