Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mommy and Me Work Day

Recently PJ has been having a harder and harder time dealing with some attitudes and approaches of the German kindergarten system. It doesn't help that he is still having some challenges health wise that make him feel physically uncomfortable. Some days are good, most days are just average, and some days suck.

Last week was especially rough and on this past Tuesday he had an unusual and especially strong, negative reaction to entering his kindergarten group. He kicked, cried, clung to me. I tried to go but my parental intuition spoke up. Loudly. I got as far as my car, took some deep breaths, and turned around again. I secretly watched my little guy for a few moments and could see he felt sad, uncomfortable, awkward.

It is important that we all learn how to deal with uncomfortable feelings. It is important that we learn to adapt, to grow, to work through situations that cause us difficult feelings. We start developing those skills as soon as we are born and we continue developing them throughout our lives.

And sometimes we just need a break. Sometimes we need to be sheltered and cuddled and given space to not deal with the negative feelings.

So I picked up my almost-four-year old, held him extremely tight, told him how much I love him and that we were going to have an Exception Day together. Thankfully I work at a company that offers infrastructure for tight-moments. I could have worked from home - like I do more than half of the time anyways due to the global natural of my work - but I needed a printer.

So we went to the office and into the dedicated "Eltern-Kind Büro" (parent-child office) space for a few hours.
Side note: how awesome is it that that isn't yet another "mommy&me"?

I had never used the "Eltern-Kind Büro" before and was extremely pleasantly surprised that there is an entire playroom with tons of toys, books, and space. All of this was right next to a quiet, clean, tidy temporary office space with monitors, laptop docking stations, phones, charging units, and more. Actually it was much better stocked than the various office/desk spaces I use when I am in the office.
PJ was stoked. All those signs of sadness, uncomfortable-ness, and awkwardness dissipated. He was excited, proud, curious, active. Which is how I personally want to see my almost-four-year old.

It worked really well. I wrote, edited, and posted an internal blog. I updated a strategic presentation. I held two relatively informal meetings. PJ popped in and out but on the whole he was quiet and focused. Then suddenly I heard a very excited and extremely loud yell of excitement, followed by "Mommy! You have to come now and see what I did!"

This is what I found.

Look at that face. That excitement. That pride. We made the right decision. Everyone won.

The next day he walked into his kindergarten group, had a not-great-but-not-sucky day, and practiced learning how to deal with those uncomfortable moments. If only adults did the same.


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