Changing Times: My Son’s First Week At The Kita
The alarm goes off at 7am and bleary eyed I head to the kitchen to put some coffee on. I shower quickly before waking Felix who is his usual adorable, affectionate self, but slightly annoyed as he normally wakes between 8.30-10am. He's even been known to sleep until noon when he's having a growth spurt or been enjoying the weekend with his mama.
As Felix and I babble over breakfast, he points to his eyes, nose and mouth energetically telling me which is which, the routine starts: breakfast, nappy change, brush teeth, get dressed, only this time it's different we are on a schedule. Knowing we must leave home by 8.15 to arrive at the Kita for 8.30 puts me in a slight panic, Felix is clearly bemused by this as I usher him into the bathroom.
I suddenly long for carefree mornings and enjoyable summer days in the city – I quickly compose myself at the thought of how much fun Felix will have, the benefit to us both of having time away from and being able to miss one another, as well as the new found freedom I am about to be blessed with.
We arrive promptly and are greeted with lots of Morgens from the lovely staff and some of the friendliest kids we've ever met. Like a duck to water, Felix begins to make friends, they are enamoured with the new arrival and vie for his attention in the nicest possible ways. I observe and offer him reassurance when he comes over for a kiss and cuddle. As the youngest in his group, surrounded by only Deutsch speakers, with an English mother and only three German words in his vocabulary, Felix seems quietly confident as he navigates his way through his new surroundings and I couldn't be prouder. The staff engage well with the kids, are friendly and smiley and Felix happily claps and dances along to the German nursery rhymes being sung.
After an hour we head to the garden where numerous bikes, toy cars and Kinderwagons complete with baby dolls are available. There is a sandpit, slide and a huge basket swing. Felix is in his element and wastes no time securing a pram which he pushes around, repeatedly saying baby, stopping every now and then to embrace and kiss the doll.
We leave at 11, my little man is clearly exhausted but very happy as he waves and says tschüss to his newfound friends. At the end of day two, the Kita staff tell me that tomorrow Felix can stay without me until 11 when I will join him and the others for lunch. His fast adaptation to his new vicinity has brought me 2.5 hours of freedom! I imagine what I might do… Go for a jog at the lake, read, sleep, catch up on Emmerdale, sit in perfect silence… As I kiss Felix goodbye on the third day my excitement is mixed with sadness: my almost two year old is growing up, a portion of our days will no longer be spent together and honestly I will miss him.
I walk to the cafe, grab a coffee, some Apfelkuchen take a seat and start writing and a new chapter begins.
By Danielle Marie Shillingford
Danielle was born London 1983. She is an actress and former model living and working in Berlin, Shillingford has specialised in art and theater productions. She is mother to son Felix, born in 2013, and currently resides in Treptow.