One week ago Emma started nursery…just two mornings a week to start with. When she was born, I plucked an age in my mind (18 months) of when I thought she should start but as it turns out, she needed it earlier. As she approached 15 months old, I could see that she thrives on being around other kids, soaking up everything around her. We’d go to the park and she’d stop dead in her tracks when she saw a 3 year old girl, watching their every move. I knew we’d have to alter our plan.
I found the decision hard. In my eyes she is still a baby, so how can I sent her to nursery when she could be at home with me? It was mostly for selfish reasons: I didn’t want to miss a thing. I’ve already banked the first step, to the first time she said “baaa” when I do the sheep sign, to the first time it looked like she kicked a football; and my phone is over-loaded with videos remembering every little detail. Even though it’s not really my thing, we’d go to baby groups in an attempt to keep her stimulation appropriate to what she needs. But somehow I know that’s not quite enough.
The decision was in fact obvious, a no brainer. One settling in session confirmed that she needs nursery. We arrived and were greeted by a smiley, warm and friendly girl…they call all the staff Aunties and Uncles to give it a family feel, which I thought was really sweet. I was surprised that Emma, who doesn’t take to everyone straight away, wanted to play with her immediately and started organising the sippy cups (she’s ALL about the organisation at the moment). Then we went to play in the garden and she laughed hysterically to herself playing with the hula hoop and kitchen set. Afterwards was messy play, something I’ve never been able to do with Emma and she sat there engaged and excited. Two hours passed and I knew that this will be good for her.
Three morning sessions on and although no tears emerged to begin with, they are flowing angrily now when I drop her off. I hand her over to one of the Auntie’s and Emma looks back at me with wounded betrayal that I am leaving her. I force a smile and tell her I’ll be back at 1pm. Deep down though, I wonder how on earth I will do this for 3 full days a week, 24 hours a week of wondering if she’s okay, hoping she’s happy there, hoping she’ll eat her lunch, hoping she’ll sleep if she needs to.
We’re only at the beginning of our nursery journey, but there’s one over-riding feeling about it all. I have to learn to let go a little. There are certain things that are out of my control now – she’s a toddler and having the opportunity to learn more and make friends is brilliant. Since her start to nursery, Emma is learning fast. She keeps showing us her nose after singing heads, shoulders, knees and toes and is chatting so much more.
It feels odd not to have her by my side every moment of her day, but I’m so proud of my little rock star.