Writing With a Baby

With an infant, tablet computers like the iPad are great. They provide casual use of the internet from an extremely portable position. The thing is, they still aren’t that great for content creation. The adage of “butt in chair, hands on keyboard” is difficult to do without a keyboard.

It’s even more interesting when there’s a three year old around as well. It’s very difficult to find the time or energy to find some time to sit down and crank out any writing.

The trick appears to have a chair where you can partially recline at your desk, with the keyboard within reach, and have your infant on your chest, snuggled up against your shoulder. There isn’t much mobility available, make sure the mouse is within reach.

In the reclined position, the monitor is likely further away than usual. Increasing font sizes, or remembering the hot key combinations to increase zoom levels would be a good idea. On the Mac, pressing control while scrolling your mouse wheel will zoom the screen in.

Inevitably, you’ll end up shifting slightly, disturbing the peaceful rest of the little furnace on your chest. If you’re lucky, this will be momentary. Other times, it’s game over, and your writing will be left in stasis, until your eventual return. Over the past month and a half, I’ve had a number of half-finished posts which seem to take forever to complete.

When I come back to them, it is sometimes difficult to piece through the half-connected thoughts on the screen. Other times, I’m just too tired to think through them coherently. I’m reasonably certain that this post is going to come across as a stream of consciousness. The trick is to let the words flow.

Some advantages of writing with a baby on your shoulder is that you’re likely to be left alone. After all, you’re making sure the baby isn’t crying. (Note well: this advice does not apply to three year olds. They’re even more likely to want to interrupt if you’re trying to write and hold a baby at the same time). Disturbing your peace is likely to wake the baby. There is some common advice, “don’t wake a sleeping baby”. Use this to your advantage.

And keep the words flowing. Seriously, the slight tapping of the keys gives a gentle rocking motion to your body, and to the small bundle you’re supporting. With a proper writing cadence, this can be relaxing. Or maybe that’s just my overtired eyes closing on me.

Hush! The little one awakes…

Exhaustion and toddlers

Not entirely sure what to write about today. Feeling rather exhausted. A certain little two year old hasn’t been dealing well with darkness and shadows in her room, and hasn’t been sleeping well.

Of course, we find this out at 10PM of the third night, after four hours of fighting to get her to stay in her room. Usually, the threat of closing the door is enough to quiet her down, and get her to stay in bed. Not so much this week. Put her to bed, start trying to get something accomplished, turn around, and there she is, two floors away from her bed. Awesome.

So last night I managed five hours of sleep, the previous night, three hours. Yay! Needless to say, I don’t drink decaf. I expect that by 3PM, I’ll either be in the corner sleeping, or wired with caffeine. Either way, it should be entertaining.

So, here’s the question. How do you convince a 2 year old that monsters don’t lurk behind every shadow, and that their bedroom is safe? So far, we’ve removed her night light, which was a small light source, casting sharp shadows, and instead are using the light in her humidifier, which is more dim, but also much more diffuse. It glows more than it shines.

Omnidirectional light seemed to help last night, here’s hoping it works tonight as well.