My little baby (do they ever stop becoming “The Baby”?) started Nursery at the beginning of September. Yes, it has taken me until now to get my head around it! I truly believe that nursery can help toddlers to develop so I knew I wanted her to go. It was just the struggle of when was the right time? I knew there would never be a right time for me, we have never spent more than two days apart. She does everything with me. I like it like that. Yes I have my moments where I’m counting down the minutes for her to go to either of her grandparents, but as soon as she’s gone I’m lost. On the other hand, I want her to have her own independence and believe me, she definitely has that.
I think a lot of parents struggle with the idea of nursery, especially mums who are always berating themselves for not being able to do ten things at once. We sometimes feel like failures if we can’t work, look after our kids and have a clean and tidy house all at once. It’s all part of the “mum guilt” that comes with the responsibility of having kids. We also feel guilty because on the difficult days we feel like flinging them through the doors of nursery and shouting “KEEP THEM, PLEASE!” Come on, admit it.
My mum and I took her to visit the nursery for the first time together so we could have a look around and for someone to tell us the ins and outs. As soon as we walked in she ran off and didn’t even look back at us (cue the sound of my heart breaking into a thousand tiny pieces). She was diving nearly head first into the sand pit and I thought “Oh thank god, someone else can clean that up this time!” They told us we could leave her there for an hour whilst we go home and fill out the paperwork and “have a cup of tea” as they put it. They said they would ring if she became agitated and unsettled. My parents only lived down the road from the nursery and we live just around the corner from that so it seemed silly not to.
As soon as I walked in the door of my parents I cried. It wasn’t so much that I was going to miss her, of course I was but I was also thinking “omg, think of all of the things I can get done without a screaming toddler wrapped around my ankles!” The reason I was crying was more that the past two years flashed in front of my eyes and I realised just how fast they had gone. Had we had enough time to get everything done? Had we savoured every single moment? I don’t know but they were gone now. As silly as it sounds I thought this was one step in the direction of her not needing me anymore.
The next Monday morning came around and we got ourselves ready to take her for 8 am so she could have breakfast with all of the other children. As soon as she saw the building and knew that that was where she was going, her eyes lit up. She pressed the bell and jumped up and down in anticipation as she waited for them to open the door. This moment made me see it from her perspective and it made me realise that nursery to her is a magical place, filled with lots of fun and adventure. She gave me a kiss in the foyer and sauntered off down the corridor without even looking back at me.
I got home and the house was so quiet. I expected to feel upset and I was slightly but actually the fact she went in so well had put me at ease. I knew then I was doing to right thing. It was just what she needed and I think I had done it at the right time. I also got to enjoy my morning coffee in peace and what mother doesn’t want that!