A year ago, Emma had her first settling in session at nursery. At the time, she was 16 months old and I knew she was ready for the change. I wasn’t quite ready and a bundle of anxiety dropping her off at nursery. I went to a nearby coffee shop, watching the minutes roll over on my phone until I could pick her up and find out how it went. Would she settle in okay? How would they know if she was hungry or thirsty? What would happen if she was upset? The guilt that I was leaving her was quite overwhelming and even though I knew it was what she needed, it was hard to accept that I wouldn’t be there for her 24/7 anymore.
After a week or so, her nursery became a second home. The girls and guys who look after her are extended family to us and at the end of every night, Emma tells me about each and every one of them. Some days one of the Aunties might be on holiday, while another spent the day in the babies’ room – Emma wants to make sure we know everything. Her confidence grew immeasurably and then she started to make close friendships at her nursery. Seeing the joy on her face when I pick her up made any mummy guilt melt away. Her closest friend always looks at me in disappointment when I come to collect her, almost as if I’m spoiling their fun. I didn’t realise it, but those moments were the glory days.
Next week, Emma will leave that room and move downstairs to the ‘toddler’ class (the class before pre-school). All her friends have already moved down, so initially I wasn’t worried but every time we mention it, Emma gets so upset. She doesn’t want to leave the Aunties and Uncles she loves so much. I can tell she loves being the big girl upstairs, showing the younger children the routine and how to eat her lunch well. Even one look in the toddler room sends her to tears and I’m just dreading next week. I know those angry ‘why are you leaving me?’ tears will inevitably return and I’ll have to peel her off me and pretend again. Pretend that it’ll all be fine, and put on a poker face for her. I’ll have to try doubly hard to make sure she doesn’t see how much it hurts my heart to see her upset.
just another change. we can do this
My inner mantra is going on overdrive as we enter the next phase in our nursery life. Yesterday I saw so many pictures on social media of little ones starting school that made me realise, these changes are all part of life and she’ll be absolutely fine. I’m sure within minutes she’ll be joining in with the rest of the group and will relish being a bigger girl, even if it does take longer than with some of the other boys and girls. One thing’s for certain: it’s always tougher on the parents and with time she’ll be chatting away about the new Aunties and Uncles in her life!
So as I put on my brave face for my little girl, who is growing faster than ever before – I know these feelings of nervousness for both of us are down to the amazing job our nursery do. I feel really lucky to know that Emma is in such safe hands. Every day I pick her up and am told snippets of the day – the funny, adorable and sweet moments. They really do treat her like she’s their own – something I never expected before I enrolled her at nursery. A little change ahead, but nothing we can’t handle.