When I’m not writing about babies, I’m usually cooking or writing about food over on my blog, Daily Garnish. So this weekend I took Cullen to Blog Her Food – a conference all about food blogging! The first day of the conference was on a Friday. I wasn’t able to find a daytime babysitter, and since dad had to work, my sidekick had to come along.
Taking a baby into that sort of environment is no small feat. I had multiple bags packed and a full plan in place to help us get through a long day out of the house together. The conference started at 9am, but I knew Cullen would need at least one solid nap in his crib that day. I decided to skip the breakfast and the first morning session in order to let him get a good nap in and wake up happy.
I wasn’t sure what the conference setting would be like, so I packed both the Ergo and stroller (and diaper bag!) and headed downtown. The main reason I was able to go to this conference was that it was IN Seattle, just 20 minutes from our house – too convenient!
When I arrived at the host hotel, I immediately saw endless levels of cascading staircases leading to each conference room, gathering area, and check-in point. I knew the stroller wasn’t going to work. The lovely hotel concierge was nice enough to let me check the stroller and diaper bag at her desk, so I didn’t have to take it back to the car, and it would be nearby if needed.
Normally at a blog conference I’d have a notebook and pen to jot down ideas, my big SLR camera to capture the scene, and some sort of bag to collect information and swag from vendors and sponsors. With baby on board, I had an Ergo, a lightweight blanket, a set of teething keys, an extra pacifier, and my cell phone. That was IT.
I feel like I am so used to hearing horror stories (usually from non-parents) about screaming babies in restaurants, on planes, and in other crowded settings. Because of this, I have this hyper sensitivity to making sure Cullen isn’t ever disruptive or overly obnoxious. Of course I think all his noises and giggles are adorable, but I most definitely understand that not everyone feels that way. My plan was to take him to the conference and see how it went. If we had to leave, it was no big deal, but I at least wanted to give it a try.
The first hour that I was there was mostly social time at the end of lunch. I was relieved when I walked in and noticed a few other moms with little ones in arms. Cullen loved all the faces and activity, and I ended up meeting a ton of new bloggers who wanted to talk about babies as well as blogs. He was a great conversation starter!
I breastfed him in a corner without any sort of cover. It’s amazing how much modesty I’ve lost. I also had to do a full outfit and diaper change on the counter of the women’s restroom – you do what you’ve gotta do, right?
Once the sessions began, I decided to chance it and see how he’d do in the more lecture-type environment. I sat in the back row of a talk about cookbook photography, but we only lasted in our seats about ten minutes. Even though he wasn’t very loud, every little giggle and grunt made me cringe, and I worried that people around me would get annoyed we were there. I moved into the back where there was a big wide open empty carpet area – the busy patterned carpet was a baby’s dream! Cullen crawled after an empty water bottle (seriously – why even buy baby toys?) for about 30 minutes and didn’t make a peep!
By the time the second session was going to start, I could tell he was due for a nap. I strapped on the Ergo (which he usually hates these days), and bounced and swayed until his eyes finally shut. With all the activity and stimulation of the morning, he passed out hard and took a long snooze on my chest. By 4pm, it was time to drop him off with dad so that I could continue the rest of the afternoon by myself.
Overall, I think he did about as well as I possibly could have expected from a seven month old! It was fun to have my “mom world” intersect with my “food world” and I’m glad I was able to take Cullen for just a short bit. I went to the second day of sessions by myself, and was able to take notes and focus easily without my sidekick in tow. Every day I figure out the whole mom/work life balance just a little bit more. I’m glad I braved taking Cullen into my professional world, even if only for a few short hours.