By Jennifer Outcelt, Creative Content Architect
You’ve heard of “Bring your Child to Work Day”, but have you ever heard of “Bring Your Child’s Stuffed Animal to Work Day”? If you haven’t, then don’t be ashamed. Here’s what you should know about it: (1) It’s not a real thing and I just made it up; (2) It’s the most fun I’ve had with a stuffed animal in a very long time; and (3) You should definitely adopt the “holiday” if you relish the look of joy and wonder on your child’s face.
Here’s the context… My daughter (3 years of age) often brings stuffed animals (stuffies) in the car with us for the ride to her daycare. Back when she was 2 and naïve, I could convince her that the stuffies needed to stay in the car with fear mongering scripts such as, “Oh honey, we can’t take him inside. He’ll get lost, dirty, or taken by another kid. I think it’s best he stays here.” But now that she is a three-nager and far too clever and defiant for such meager attempts at coercion, the task has become more difficult.
Yesterday was my hardest stuffie battle to date. On this morning she brought with her Lamby, a pure white llama that I mis-specied when he first arrived, hence his undercover life as a lamb. I employed my usual scare tactics, painting a gruesome picture of Lamby face down in the snowy gravel mix of the playground, covered in tempera finger paint, about to be played with by another, unworthy, child. Yet, despite my horrific word picture, my daughter used her newly honed “big-girl words” to immediately quip back, “If someone tries to take him, I will tell them, ‘NO THANK YOU!’ and he will be safe.”
I was foiled… by a toddler! Her logic was sound, but I had the power of rhetorical appeal, so I appealed to her ethos. “Honey, if you leave Lamby with me (a trustworthy woman) I will take him on an adventure. He can come to work with me!” After a brief mulling over period, she loosened her grip on Lamby and placed him back in her car seat. “Ok. He will go with you. He will be safe.” Success!
I could have just left it at that. My daughter would undoubtably forget this interaction and be happy enough reuniting with Lamby when I picked her up at the end of the day. But I have a pension for the ridiculous and an addiction to bringing unexpected fun to life’s basic interactions. I did indeed bring Lamby to work with me.
Here’s how his day went:
He wrote up some emails
Took some important calls
Drank some coffee while catching up on the news
Scribbled out some thoughts during a meeting
Collaborated with me on some website layout issues (We did not agree at first)
Had a delicious lunch in the break room
Took a well-deserved rest in our company respite rooms
Later that evening I took my daughter into my lap and told her I wanted to share about Lamby’s day. She was confused, but compliant. I proceeded to scroll through my photos, explaining each interaction and how Lamby felt doing his work tasks. The whole time she smiled. But the best part, was that although seeing Lamby at my office working diligently was amusing, she took it all in with out question or disbelief. To her it was a completely plausible scenario. Mom said he was going to work with her, and he did.
Seeing my daughter’s innocence, trust in me, and imagination about the word was the best part of my day. Even better than finally convincing Lamby that my website layout was superior.