Our original plan for Sophie wasn’t nursery.
In fact, if I’m perfectly honest, I really wasn’t up for it at all. I was worried that it was schooling her too soon (in terms of development targets, Ofsted and all the rest) and I wanted her to go to a childminder in order to almost have a surrogate family.
When we were faced with nursery as the best and really only option, I initially struggled to cope with it. Dropping her off two weeks ago for her first full day in nursery, I was just about ready but incredibly nervous.
It was my first day back at work so I was already slightly on edge. My wife was on nights so not on hand to help. It was all on me.
I had to wake her up to dress her (Sophie that is!) and then she smiled at me, blissfully ignorant that I was about to leave her for the day and her life was about to change forever. She’d been so spoiled – and so had we – with a year’s worth of family time with her between us, but we needed to go back to work and so she was going to have her first normal day without us. Big difference.
I’d packed her rucksack the night before. It looks so ridiculously cute and she doesn’t wear it really but it’s got Flopsy her rabbit in and her comforter, change of clothes etc. I put it on her back for a quick photo, and then, at 7.30 in the morning, and with the weather freezing cold, I was bundling her into the car and driving off.
She’d done a few settles so we knew the system but there was still real tension building up inside my stomach as I approached. There were other working parents dropping their kids off as well but they do this all the time. For us, it was pretty gut-wrenching. Sophie seemed to realise where we were and what was happening to her as her cuddling into me became a lot more pronounced.
Upstairs, I handed Sophie over, signed a bit of paperwork and then left her in the more than capable hands of her nursery staff. They cuddled her and made her feel really welcome – she really likes them – but as I stepped backwards through the door, her eyes filled with tears and her whimpers grew far stronger.
The door closed and everything had changed.
As I left the nursery, one of her workers had taken her to the window to wave me off. I could still see her red stained eyes as she sorrowfully waved me off. I could feel my own eyes filling up slightly as I drove away.
Back to work… Sophie in the hands of someone else… I felt horribly guilty.
But, and this is really important. As soon as I left, Sophie switched into her happy mode. She absolutely loved it there and has settled in like she has been there for ever.
We are so grateful for this and our anxious prayers have been answered in so many ways. Nursery has already been good for her and we look forward to everything else she will experience there with so much more confidence.
It still doesn’t make it any easier to drop her off though!