Time off work?

JM here.  We have been swimming through four days of two kids now, one of them refusing to sleep anytime between midnight and 6am.  Lucky for us we have so much help from some good local friends, as well as Leo’s ever cheerful nanny.

When Liz went into labor last Wednesday, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it in for work on Thursday, our last day before a week off for Christmas.  I immediately called the staff member who coordinates things, and told her excitedly in Chinese, “My wife has contractions! I can’t come into work tomorrow.”

To my surprise she said, “I don’t know. The students have missed a lot of classes recently. Can you please come?”

Shocked, I said, “I’ll see what I can do,” fully intending NOT to come in, since it was likely I would be with Liz through a long labor like last time.

So I confirmed the next morning that I wouldn’t come in, and she sent a brief message: “I get it. Someone will cover for you.”

When I called the substitute teacher later on, he sounded nonplussed.  I told him how grateful I was so that I could be with the new baby.

“What? New baby??” 

“Yes! Isn’t that what they told you?”

“No! They said you couldn’t come into class because your wife had WORK to do!”

Ah! My bad Chinese pronunciation the culprit again! I must have been unclear on the original message.  ‘Work’ in Chinese is: “gong zuo”.  ‘Contraction’ in Chinese is: “gong suo”.  And how often do people in an office get calls with news that someone has “gong suo”?

So, with a few more messages back and forth, everyone at work began sending in their congratulations.  No hard feelings. I wasn’t playing hookey so that my nine months pregnant wife could go to work.

But if the excuse worked this time, maybe next time too…  🙂

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1 Response to “Time off work?”


  1. 1 mjfalk December 31, 2009 at 1:06 am

    So happy and grateful that you all are on this side of delivery day. You have received the best present for Christmas I can think of—–as have we all—-Rosaline Muller. She sure looks like her big brother in the photo, Mommy and Daddy. May she live a hundred years of happiness and Joy with grace and peace. May angels surround her and each of you with Light and the Path meant for her in this life. Blessings upon your family in abundance, and may you continue to live in the Peace we have all been promised—always. Happy New Year and Happy 5th Anniversary!!—Lots of Love from 2 very proud grandparents in Green Bay.


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