As I write this, my 21-month-old son, Kelly, is walking around in his playpen — a six-sided plastic gate I like to call "the cage." He hangs out in "the cage" for most of the day while I work. He has his lion piano and Etch-a-Sketch table to keep him engaged, the latter of which he also likes to stand on despite my grumbling. Sometimes, though, Kelly will bounce around the living room, putting his hands on everything, especially my ancient Mac laptop. That's why when I watched this man's kids hijack his BBC interview on impeachment, it felt like he was living my life.
Meet Robert Kelly, a political science professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. On Friday, Kelly appeared on BBC News to talk about the impeachment of South Korea's first female president, Park Geun-hye. A South Korean court removed Geun-hye this week from her post, making her the first elected leader in the country's history to be forced out of office, according to the New York Times. Needless to say, Kelly was discussing pretty heavy political stuff.
Cue children. During Kelly's webcam interview, an adorable little girl in big glasses and a yellow shirt march-dances into the room. Her brown pigtails bounce as she moves toward her dad. Kelly doesn't take his eyes off the camera as he gently pushes his daughter away from his desk. The poor child looks defeated.
The cutepocalypse (yes, I did that) doesn't end there. A tiny tot in a walker quickly follows the toddler into the room. Kelly apologies to the BBC anchor repeatedly, acknowledging the interruption without letting it break his composure. You can tell, though, that the professor really wants to laugh.
The best part of the interview for viewers is when the woman rushes in to corral the kids. In her haste, she stumbles. She grabs the baby in the walker, who doesn't seemed phased. Books go flying as she pulls the toddler to her. Both in tow, she hurries out of the room. Behind the wooden door, you can hear the desperate cries of children. "Why have you forsaken me father?" they were probably screaming through tears and incoherent baby babble. "WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"
I understand this moment all to well. I don't conduct video interviews often, but I do hop on the phone a lot. And it's always a battle with my son. Often, I'm corralling him room-to-room. My finger hits the mute button, then the speaker button so I can hear my interviewee while trying to figure out why in the hell my son is trying to eat the washable crayons I bought him. I don't know if the people on the other end know that I am in a fight for my (professional) life with my child, but I hope I can pretend enough to keep my composure like Kelly had.