Archived Story

An early start for a new journalist

Published 9:59pm Thursday, December 12, 2013

As a recent new parent in these modern times, when it’s considerably less rare for both Dad and Mom to be bringing home the bacon, our 4-month-old embarked on her first newspaper assignment Thursday.

Working a late shift for a School Board meeting, I’d given my mother-in-law the morning off, and she’d taken the opportunity to rendezvous in Norfolk with some quilting friends.

So when the Google calendar alert sounded on my iPhone (what, I’ve become a yuppie?), I was settled in with a book and a coffee, baby sleeping peacefully, and contemplating the continuation of this exceedingly rare treat for another three hours.

“Stuff the bus — NSA — 45 minutes” flashed across the screen. (Insert mild expletive of choice). It was the culmination of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s Toys for Tots collection, a job I’d scheduled a week or more ago and evidently forgotten about.

A phone call later, my morning was further complicated with that aforementioned intelligence that grandma had gone fabric shopping on the other side of the tunnel, and Daddy and daughter were thus on their own.

Instinct kicking in, a bottle was soon out of the fridge and sitting in a bowl of hot water, the Ergobaby carrier (heel, yuppie!) and other essential equipage were in the car; then baby was gulping down the almost-room-temperature milk before we were humming down the highway.

Baby was a hit at NSA, I can report. She helped bring radiant smiles for the camera, drew out maternal instincts from females and cheesy jokes from men, and, dangling from the Ergobaby with the top of her head about level with my chest, provided a convenient resting spot for my notepad whilst taking notes.

Tears didn’t begin until about 15 minutes into the assignment, a few minutes after we had entered a building and — as it was tactfully pointed out to me — the inch-thick baby beanie on her head had probably grown uncomfortable.

All in all, newspaper publishers and editors the world over should note that Charlotte exhibited real promise of becoming a future His Girl Friday.

We’ll test the waters again Saturday at the Sugar Plum Tea and Ballet Virginia performance of “The Nutcracker.”

It would be nice if the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts has a crying room, but I think I’m out of luck. I do know from previous experience there will be a lot of pink.


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