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Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Becoming one with the multi-taskers

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By Stephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist

Multi-tasking? Not me. Or so I’ve always thought.

I’ve heard of people who can do amazing things. They can do important stock trades while picking up their dry cleaning. They can check voice mail and fill out expense reports at the same time. They can check out groceries while carrying on a pleasant conversation with the bagging person. They can bag groceries while carrying on a pleasant conversation with the cashier. They can answer the phone, put that person on hold, answer a different line and talk to that person while finding out the answer for the first person’s question, relay that answer back to the first person, and then finish up with the second person. While accomplishing all that, they organized their desk and correctly filled out their time sheet.

Not me.

I can talk on the phone to one person at a time. The only other activity I can do well while talking on the phone is drive. (Yes, that was me who pulled out in front of you the other day.) If I am on the phone, I can’t watch TV, cook, garden, pay bills, or surf the net. Talking on the phone is a guaranteed way for me to forget at least half my grocery list.

If I’m carrying on a conversation with my husband about politics, the pirate conversation I’m having with my son suffers. Or vice versa.

Getting my kids to school and remembering that today is Pajama Day counts — to me anyway — as multi-tasking, and I fail every time. Picture Day was a particular disaster.

But today I may have changed my mind. This morning, I looked down and realized that I was making French toast and sword fighting with my son. I was doing two things at once and they were both working! The toast was a grand success and I flipped my opponent’s sword across the room. I was multi-tasking.

And now, as I jog my memory, other instances appear. I once could sleep while nursing a baby. I could sleep while going to the bathroom, changing a diaper, and changing sheets. I have often washed the heads of two children at the same time, if that counts, and I’ll say that it does.

I can fold laundry and pretend to be a dragon at the same time. My dragon character is very convincing since it gets angry every time the brave knight steps on a stack of freshly folded clothes. I can vacuum while threatening to give all the toys away if the kids don’t help pick up. I can bandage a stubbed toe while kissing a bumped head. I can plant a garden while giving a piggy-back ride. I can fix four different breakfasts at the same time. I can grocery shop while driving a train (grocery cart). I can read a story and hold two children at the same time.

How about that. Who would have thought? I am a Multi-tasker. I AM a Multi-tasker. I am a MULTI-TASKER.

Oh no. I just burned the chicken.

(Stephanie Wampler is a wife, mother and writer who lives in Waynesville. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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