Have you ever tried to play a piano with a kitten in the house? Or type? Either way, clanging or clacking on the keys is a sure way to lure the feline. You can’t get through a stanza or a paragraph before the cat is stepping between your fingers, composing its own gift to the world.
That’s what it’s like making phone calls with a baby in the house.
Part of my job is reporting, which means I need to ask people for information to report. I’m not a rush-down-to-the-police-capt’n-for-the-scoop kind of reporter, because I don’t work in newspapers, air jordan 12 femmes and I don’t work in the 1920s. I’m primarily a magazine and public relations writer, which means I collect most of my information from polite, neatly scheduled phone conversations that involve a lot of “please make that sound better when you write the article” requests.
So I spend some time on the phone. And, lately, that’s when Maggie starts hootin’ and howlin’.
During family time, my wife and I have been habitually responding to Maggie’s cooing (along with her newly added skills of squealing and whooping). Doing so is reputedly a way to encourage a baby to learn the concept of conversation. So perhaps when she hears me speaking on the phone, she thinks it’s talk time. She can’t see anyone else in the room, so Daddy must be speaking to her, right?
Alas, the last five phone interviews I’ve done — five! — have at some point included tangent phrases such as, “How old is your baby?”, “Sounds like someone needs Dada” and “Uh oh, is it diaper time?”
In every instance, I felt as if the interruption shredded any semblance of professionalism. I suppose my fear is that one day I’ll be talking to some super-serious, self-important source who doesn’t have the time to be patient with a writer who’s being background-vocaled by a baby, and he or she will blow me off, leaving me stranded on a story with an impending deadline.
Like most fears, though, the reality is likely far different. And so far, it has been.
Each time Maggie joined my phone interviews, it resulted in some off-the-topic chitchat about babies and kids and the joys of parenthood and such. Anyone with experience interviewing knows how roshe run hyp important rapport is, and Maggie’s background banter has donated oodles of it to my calls.
So I suppose instead of shushing her (which, yeah, works great on a five-month-old), I should be thanking her.
Still, there’s a challenge found in this arena. In an upcoming write-up, I’ll discuss some strategies for making phone calls with a baby in the room. In the meantime, any suggestions are welcome.