Today is Friday and for the first time in Corona the days are decidedly marked and I am so excited its Friday. For the first time in a long time I am in the work rhythm of the “normal” work week.
Why? You ask! For this week and next I am working with one of my kiddos full time from 8:45am to 4pm each day as he assimilates to Kita.
You don’t know about German kita?
Here in Germany when you have a baby you get much more time and care than in the US. Imagine that! Elternseit or parent time can be up to a year with your kiddo and divided among the parents of the kiddo. During elternseit you still get paid up to 80 percent of your normal paycheck. Also when you have a kiddo you have access to care around your mental health, coaches for new parents and money for kita (kind of like daycare but even more) when your kiddo turns a year old…Elternseit actually overlaps about a month so a little more than a year of this time so you can do the next thing. Once you get a spot in kita the system is set up so that you take a month for the kiddo to assimilate into the system. In the first week you start small…small amounts of time and kita and small amounts of time in separation time. If anything new is introduced, the parent (or guardian) sits nearby to reassure and then the next time there is more time of separation.
The family I work with the most had a series of events that led to mom taking time off for the first two weeks of this process (called eingewohnung) but needed me to step in for the last two weeks.
This is a big deal. Why? You ask?
- This is a pretty intense process with ups and downs. You really have to trust someone to do this process with your kid.
- There has to be a pretty great bond between the one taking kiddo and the kiddo.
- The teacher in this case hardly knows any English. My German is being put to the test!
So for the past five days I have shown up at 8:45amish and taken over in the kita department, talking about his routines, hearing reports, dealing with timelines and processes and separation and bringing him home and then taking care of little guy until either mom comes home or the next caretaker arrives at 4pm. William just turned one two weeks ago so this is new for all of us.
Here is why I am a) really glad its Friday and b) proud of this week:
- As I mentioned, my German is really being put to the test! This is way more usage than I have had to use so far outside of intensive class when I took it. Today, for the first time I felt as though I was actually just…communicating. Back and forth in full sentences to where we all understood each other…using tenses (plural!) and reporting in full. Sure, I threw in an english word here or there when I got stuck but this is far from feeling like an idiot like on Monday…or Tuesday…or even Wednesday. Ana reminds me that I didn’t know ANY German before I came two years ago…so, cheers!
- Bonding with the kiddo is great, and exhausting, and full, and all over the place especially when it is hot outside.
- Kita usually means a new exposure to the world which usually means perma running nose. I woke up with a scratchy throat and runny nose. Great. Bring in the zinc and tumeric powder. I REALLY don’t want these symptoms when I go on a looonnng hike in 10 days.
A new process, new experiences, and new lengths. Wow! Who knew I would be HERE?