How to Write with a Baby: Seven Experiments

Experiment #1: Writing while enormously pregnant
PROS: Baby is contained. No schedule to disrupt. Kicks seldom impact keyboard.
CONS: Brain is riding high on cocktail of hormones that may cause you to think either everything you’ve written is nonsense or that writing a blue kangaroo wizard who’s trying to lasso the sun is a bitching idea, depending on the day. Baby creates a much more pressing deadline that any publisher. Naps are more attractive than addressing pacing issues, due to kangaroo’s soliloquies.
VERDICT: Unsustainable

Experiment #2: Writing while breastfeeding newborn
PROS: Multi-tasking! Bonding with baby while being productive. Many, many, many opportunities for practice.
CONS: Must type one-handed (preferably no-handed), and half the time that hand will be the non-dominant one, which will create more typos than you ever thought possible (That had handles half the normal typing. Why does it type as if it’s drunk when the dominant hand is out of commission?). Very, very slow.
VERDICT: Unsustainable

Experiment #3: Writing while breastfeeding with soft carrier (Moby wrap)
PROS: Hands can be devoted to typing as baby is held in place. Multi-tasking. Using Moby wrap your friend gave you for baby shower.
CONS: Baby strapped across your chest is enormous. Must sit farther from computer. Must endure jokes about how it looks like you have ginormous boobs, ha ha. Cannot punch jokesters, because baby is in the way. Then baby finishes eating, mad you have strapped his head down against your chest. Pries himself loose.
Verdict: Hilarious. Really.

Experiment #3: Holding baby in lap while typing
PROS: Cuddly baby who seems interested in your work, even though he’s mostly interested in the screen’s light
CONS: lkejfajlsadodas;jdfs;kndsfSDjoewqebjLDSVjSg[oerpihsd
Verdict: *sigh*
Experiment #4: Putting baby on activity gym/jumper/quilt nearby
PROS: Nobody else is touching keyboard. Visual contact with baby, so he doesn’t assume you’ve abandoned him to be raised by the stuffed forest animals hanging overhead.
CONS: Baby is too cute not to look at. (Alternately, Baby demands you watch him chew on the jingly owl. Makes brain-scratching whine if you do not.)
VERDICT: Unsustainable

Experiment #5: Writing while baby naps
PROS: This is almost like pre-baby. You have time to write without worr
CONS: Lasts about 20 minutes.
Verdict : Depressing

Experiment #6: Wait until baby sleeps. Write while pumping.
PROS: No baby, no distractions, writing time!
CONS: See “baby strapped to chest” cons. Add noise like a dying motor and sense you have become a farm animal. Add Husband quoting that scene from Black Books, “Bernard, Bernard Look. I’m a prostitute robot from the future.” Ha ha.
Verdict: Maybe a little hilarious.

 Experiment #7: Handing baby to Grandmama. Running away to coffee shop.
PROS: At least two hours of productive writing time. Sometimes three. You can finish the book this way. People at coffee shop know you and your drink order. Baby is cared for. Visiting time with one grandmother is taken care of. Also, sometimes she folds your laundry and makes your bed.
CONS: Miss baby like crazy.
Verdict: This is hard.

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