Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bringing your toddler to work: To do or not to do?

The Thai New Year, more commonly known as Songkran, resulted in Noah having to spend 2 weeks away from school due to a 'short' term break. For us parents though, 2 weeks seemed pretty long for Noah to spend at home without any scheduled activities nor external help. Having a totally dependent 7-month old at home didn't help the cause much either, so I figured, since my accountant frequently brought her toddler to work, why don't I try to do the same? Maybe there will be something for Noah to look forward to my wife could concentrate on other things when we are out.

The first day was pretty much a mess for me, as he didn't let me work properly on my working terminal, assuming ownership of it and throwing massive meltdowns when I got impatient, as my team depended on my work before they could continue with theirs. However, it was mostly confined to my room so the disruption to others was still controllable. After bringing him out for lunch, he seemed to completely understand the situation and even said, "Daddy, I will type after you finish your work, ok?"

Ok la, stop blowing liao la.....

The second day was more eventful. My accountant brought her son. I initially thought this would be better as they would have companions and disturb us less, but how wrong I was. In no time, my office became a playground. Crayons, pictures, books, boxes, toys were strewn all over the floor. There was hardly any place to walk. 2 kids, hand in hand, stomped all over the office in shrieks of laughter and sometimes petty arguments, constantly bugging my accountant and myself for help. I saw colleagues who planned to look for me head back to their seats when they saw the mess in my room. I couldn't work at all. Aside of some trivial matters, I struggled to write any sentence longer than 10 words properly. It completely sucked. It's enough that I couldn't work in peace, but if it was going to affect my colleagues as well, I would have to put things to a stop.

Oh my goooooooodnessssssssssssssssssss

However, there was something else happening. The kids were genuinely happy. They became really great friends. Even though Thai is not Noah's best language, he was communicating with his slightly-older local friend beautifully. They were just kids being kids, trying to work out how to live with others and play together. The shrieks of joy were real, their laughter full of pure innocence.

But why, oh why, did everything sound so terribly irritating and noisy to me? Even though something has to be worked out in the future to ensure their presence is less disruptive, surely I must change my mentality and see some positives when I see kids enjoying friendship with each other?

By the third day, Noah was really looking forward to coming to my office. Aside of some poo clearing disaster, he was generally well-behaved, until his friend arrived and everything in Day 2 repeated itself again. However, this time I had to leave early (with him) as it was my turn to man my company's booth at a Furniture Fair.

At the booth, he was his usual self. Running around, finding paper to scribble on, trying to make conversation with the people, until he did something that completely stunned everyone. A purchaser from China was asking me about the specifications of my product when Noah pounced out of nowhere. All of a sudden, we saw him, standing as tall as he could, right smack in front of our 'customer', and asked in a serious tone...

"Do you want to buy a mattress?"

One of the ways he keeps himself busy.

I wish I had taken a video of the entire episode. He's only 2 months past his 3rd birthday, and even though he has followed me to my office and exhibitions on a handful of occasions, I had never explicitly explained what I was doing. It seems like he has already figured it all out and is eager to lend a hand. I guess that's what you call "learning on the job".

So... bringing your kid to office, to do or not to do? I personally think that 3 years old (or less) is a bit young, and a few of them in the office will possibly disrupt the working environment and affect the efficiency of everyone, but with slightly older kids and some form of control, the situation will be different. Thinking from their perspective, they will be able to absorb things that they will not have the chance to if they are completely excluded from the adult working environment. They will also understand why Daddy has to leave the house early and come back late everyday.

He now knows how to enjoy himself at exhibition booths, offices and warehouses too

Ending off with a correspondence between me and my wife when I was at my wit's end during one of those days:

Me, "So far this is more of a nanny experience than working, with my kid around. I only have 1 hour in the office this morning and I spent 20 minutes clearing poo. Now arrive at the booth need to bring him to lunch and watch him play with his bowl."

Wife, "It is a Daddy experience. Not nanny."

Words of wisdom, eh?

A Daddy experience. I'll take it.


  1. She is so smart. A daddy experience is totally correct

    1. Hello Sliverfawn

      Yes! But I just wish I did not need to work so that I can enjoy it a bit more!



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