Over the past few months I’ve been on a serious nursery/pre school hunt for the little lady and up until January, hadn’t found the right fit. I don’t think I’m picky, I just wanted to find somewhere that both me and Phoebe felt comfortable. We visited lots of different environments and some I absolutely loved but Phoebe wasn’t feeling them and vice versa. Then there was the issue of hours and days available, plus some places just not returning my calls or emails! Luckily we’ve now found the perfect place for Phoebe and we can’t wait for her to start her new exciting journey.
After choosing the right nursery it was time to schedule some settling in sessions. They had space the same week, which was ideal as I didn’t want to leave it another week. Each session was 2 hours, the first one was all about her keyworker getting to know her and all her little ways and to let phoebe having a good look around. Once the paperwork was all complete, I left my little lady to play without mummy and nipped to a mates house for a cuppa. It felt very strange leaving her but she was happily playing so I made my escape. During that first session she asked for me a few times but seemed to manage the hour without me okay. Session two was totally different, I only spent 5 minutes or so with her, I helped her with her coat and bag, we hung it on her peg then she was off playing. This time she was there for 2 hours without mummy but they said she copied pretty well and even made a little friend. I visited a friends newborn baby and enjoyed my toddler free hours, I felt more on edge this time being that hour longer but the baby was a welcome distraction.
When I picked her up, she had just hurt her finger and was a little upset so very pleased to see me but overall session two went well. Being near the end of the week, I decided it would be best to start Phoebe on her proper hours the following week, plus it gave us a few more full days together. Over the next few days I made sure I was talking about nursery in a positive light, reassuring her that it would be fun with lots to things to do. Some nights she even asked for more playgroup (as she calls it) the next day, which I took as a good sign.
It was a rollercoaster of emotions that first week, for both me and Phoebe. I honestly didn’t think I would feel so awful about leaving her, at times it was really tough and I even shed a few tears myself.
So, day 1 started a little off-balance as the room Phoebe would normally be in was having the carpets cleaned, meaning she was in a different room, upstairs. It didn’t seem to faze her at first but once I started to say my goodbyes, she became a little clingy and asked mummy to stay. The staff did a fabulous job at distracting her and once her key worker L was happily reading with her, I left (sounds so heartless when written down) and made my way to a mates house for a cuppa and more newborn cuddles.
When I picked her up she was extremely excited to see me, huge hugs followed by tears, which I’m taking as good tears those kind of tears that say” you came back mummy” Sounds silly but I honestly think Phoebe thought I’d left her, for good. When we got home she was clearly very tired from the whole affair and had a well deserved nap.
The rest of the week, she slowly got her head around it all, some mornings being better than others but towards the end of her first week, her normal room was back in action and I could tell she was very happy about this. The staff really helped me feel at ease during my first week and on one particular morning I even phoned up to check she has settled ok , once again they reassured me that the little lady was happy and playing so I put the kettle on and got stuck into my book. Pick ups seemed to be getting better and on some days, depending on the weather we stopped in at the park on the way home.
Over that weekend we all came down with bad colds and coughs, so spent it cuddled up on the sofa watching movies and getting as much sleep as we could. Come Monday morning there was no way Phoebe was well enough to go to playgroup so it was another home day resting up. Phoebe spent the rest of the week at home, with no playgroup much to her annoyance. We all slowly got better and come Sunday it was finally shifting. Phoebe still had a bad cough at night plus a crusty red nose from the constant wiping but considerably better than the following week so I felt confident she could re join nursery Monday morning.
Her second week was a little better, still lots of ups and downs and I think having a week off being poorly didn’t help her. The drops off have been really hard some mornings and the guilt is unbelievable. I know once she’s settled in for the day she’s absolutely fine but those few minutes of a sobbing toddler, clinging onto you saying “mummy please stay” has been something I wasn’t quite prepared for. I love picking her up at the end of her session and just staying out of view for a couple of minutes so I can watch her interact with the other children and see how long it is before she notices me. The tears at pick up are slowly going and I now get a nice hug from my tired little girl (maybe as she knows I have a packet of crisps waiting for her) and sometimes even a picture she’s drawn for me or a princess crown covered in glitter they’ve made that day. Phoebe is growing up so quickly and I love that she gets to explore being a toddler on her own without me there. Some mornings I’ve really have to stay strong and focus on the bigger picture, because as soon as baby girl comes along I’m really going to need that time plus I know it’s fantastic for her development and social skills. There are lots of changes going on for the little lady and more to come, so I’m hoping that her playgroup will be a nice way for her routine to still be somewhat normal when her baby sister here.