Wednesday, April 15, 2009


So my wonderful assistant Celeste had a baby in January and took 12 weeks of maternity leave. I missed her a lot, as you can imagine. What you don't know is that I've known Celeste since she was 8 or 9 years old; her mom and I are dear old friends. So watching Celeste through her pregnancy and into motherhood carries special meaning for me.

Celeste came back to work last week . . . with Amieta. I don't think either one of us knew how it was going to work out. I knew that I don't pay Celeste enough for her to work and put Amieta in childcare, and I don't think Celeste would have entrusted her baby to anybody, except maybe (and that's a definite maybe) her mom. From my perspective, a trained, efficient Celeste is far preferable to an untrained stranger. So Amieta's here.

We've figured out a few things so far. First, Amieta either thinks I'm the funniest thing she's ever seen or she really likes me, because her face lights up when she catches a glimpse of me -- and really, what more could I want in life? Second, we had to get a baby monitor so Amieta could sleep downstairs in Celeste's office while Celeste could be upstairs working with me. We've also ordered a baby carrier -- one of those things you strap on so you can "wear" the baby and have your hands free. It hasn't come yet, but I think it will make things even better.

And the big show down between Amieta and Emily (the cat) hasn't happened yet. It will, and it will be interesting. I'm wondering who will get the better of that one!

So far, Celeste's been able to stay current on her work and do all the things I really need her to do. I probably do go downstairs a bit more often than I used to, and Celeste spends less time up here with me, but the work gets done, and that's the important part.

Celeste worries that Amieta will need more of her time when she is ready for more stimulation. Celeste may take her to a play group then, and she may cut back on her hours. That would be okay -- she's still worth the sacrifice. We have a HUGE project going on that will be ongoing for a good year, and if I had to do Celeste's part of it, I think it would put me right over the edge.

So Advocacy for Patients grows. First it was me and Emily, our mascot. Then we were lucky to get Celeste to join us. And now Amieta.

There's something about having a baby around. I don't have words for it yet. But it brings out the maternal in me in a good way. When Amieta smiles at me with her dimples, I can't help but smile back.

How many "employees" make you feel that good?

I think our little progressive experiment is working just fine. Jennifer

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