Working at Home

A few months ago, I had what you might call a change in professional status. I work primarily out of my home office now. This has been quite an adjustment for everyone. The toughest challenge is maintaining the boundary: when I’m in my office upstairs, I’m “at work” and can’t be disturbed. My part of that bargain is that I’m not supposed to go down to interfere except when specifically called.

It has worked out fairly well.

The other day, however, things were not going well downstairs. N (who is only 3) spent most of the morning battling with his mother. It was almost nonstop wailing going on down there.

Realizing that I was not allowed to go down and help, I turned my radio up. It didn’t quite drown out the commotion, but it was a start.

Then I heard C by the base of the stairs talking to his (still crying) little brother. “Come with me. It’s okay. Don’t cry. Daddy will help. You’ll see. Let’s go see daddy. Don’t worry.”

Of course I came down the stairs to help. Who wouldn’t? As I was going for the hug, their mom came around the corner, moving fast. She pointed at me. “Don’t you do it. He doesn’t get a hug from you. He’s in trouble. Don’t you do it!”

I stopped in mid-reach, not sure what to do. I’d like to say that I wasn’t intimidated, but when she starts wagging that finger, she can be pretty scary.

“And you!” She pointed at her youngest son. “You get over here right now!”

The little guy burst out crying again and ran towards her. He didn’t stop when he got there, though, but instead made a hard left and sprinted for the couch.

As my wife stormed after him, my oldest and I exchanged a little hug and then I went quietly back upstairs and he headed back to his trains.

I found out later that the little guy had snuck out of time-out and gone to his brother crying. His brother, presumably not knowing he was in trouble, brought him to me.

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