The Highs and Lows of Nursery

Even before T started nursery we knew he’d pick up a few things that would be out of our control. Things like colds, stomach bugs, and nits were expected; although I’m pleased the latter has yet to hit us. Hand Foot and Mouth and Chicken Pox, however, that was our six-eight month treat!

But what’s really frustrated me about nursery recently, more than the disease (although this got particularly annoying after the third week of illness), is other children’s habits.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to sound like a moan about parenting decisions. At the end of the day children will pick up all sorts – the child T has picked something up from very well may have picked it up from someone else too! But when your child picks something up; like a word or phrase, that you don’t use in your house, especially when it’s not particularly nice, it gets your back up. 

Let’s start with the most annoying phrases to date…

Mine!

We’ve never said this to T in an effort to hold onto something. It’s generally; “that’s so and so’s” or “that’s not a toy”. So when T came home one week and started grabbing things and shouting “mine!” Or hiding things behind his back I was really shocked.

Not only is it really aggressive but I worry what’s suddenly being taken from him that he feels he now needs to verbally mark his territory!

Share!

On the same note as ‘Mine!’, we’ve recently noticed T taking toys from us and shouting “Share!”.

We’ve been known to say this a lot more when play dates or his cousins come to play, but only if it’s up for sharing. We’re more of a ‘who had it first?‘ kinda family.

Hitting.

Probably the biggest shock since T started nursery is when T gets frustrated he can’t have something and then hits our leg (before falling to the floor in a heap).

If he has something that he knows we’re going ask him for; like a dog bone or a random piece of food found from under the sofa, he’ll suddenly hide the item behind his head and then try and hit out before we get near!

This is what happens when we leave T to his own devices.

Some of these behaviours are really heartbreaking as I can’t seem to snap him out of them until he’s been away for a few days! What do we do? I feel silly talking to the nursery as it’s all “normal” toddler behaviour – he’s bound to pick things up – but I’m still not happy about it. I may very well just bite the bullet and talk to nursery. Even just to ask what’s going on and whether I need to be concerned.

But with all this in mind…

I still wouldn’t change our nursery. T is in a really good one despite the above, and the good things definitely out weight the bad. He’s constantly learning lots of new (pleasant) words, he’s confident, he’s learning about colours and shapes, and even repeats them back to us. It’s incredible.

It’s just frustrating when all your hard work goes to down the drain when the toddler that comes home is one that likes to suddenly poke eyes!

K

Returning to work: What I’m looking forward to. 

With less than one week to go until I return to work, I’m actually feeling alright about not only returning to work, but leaving T at nursery (maybe it’s because they’ll then be dealing with a teething baby).

Taking myself out of the role of ‘mum’, there are actually a few things I’m looking forward to when I return to work:

1. Hot drinks. 

I never thought I’d miss something so much as I do a hot drink. Drinks these days are either thermonuclear or luke warm, and are hardly ever consumed at a relaxing pace.

A poor excuse for a coffee

A poor excuse for a coffee

2. Completing a task.

I’m forever completing tasks, but never the original task I planned to do. Breakfast? In between that I would have diverted to put the washing up away, diverted to put a wash on, and walked T around the lounge a few times; thus leading to point 1.

Returning to work will mean starting something and finishing it without getting interrupted.

3. Adult conversation (that doesn’t include baby talk). 

I’m so proud of T, so of course I’m going to want to shout it from the rooftops, not to mention talk about the stresses of parenthood, but every now and again I miss chatting about non-parenting matters.

The other day, whilst chatting with friends, our topic of conversation went from feminism, to music, to our favourite sandwiches. It was brilliant. It gave me a break from being “mum”.

4. Me time. 

Although work will be work, so I won’t necessarily be able to think about much else, I know I won’t be thinking about what I’m doing for T’s dinner, or that I need to get that white vest out of the bucket of vanish.

5. Clean clothes. 

After a day with T, I often look like someone who’s just completed a bush-tucker trial; with debatable stains on my top, and crusty patches on my jeans that I can’t remember putting there.

I’ll be wearing a uniform at work which not only means that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear, but it’s unlikely I’ll end my shift with sticky stuff on me (unless I miss my mouth whilst eating a jam doughnut).

6. Missing T. 

This sounds like an odd one, but hear me out.

At the moment I spend every day with T, so I don’t often get a chance to really “miss him”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t aim to get rid of him, but the only time we part ways is when T is in bed, and even that is short lived as he often still wakes in the night.

Going to work will give me a chance to miss him, and him miss me (hopefully).

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There’s no doubt about it that the first few weeks are going to be tough, especially on days when T isn’t happy about being left, but thinking about the above points is going to make it easier (for me, anyway), not to mention the fact that I genuinely think nursery will be good for T. He’ll make new friends, and learn new things.

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How did you cope returning to work? What made it easier for you? What did you look forward to?

K

Looking For Our Nursery. 

As mentioned in our last nursery post, T has to go into nursery. We can’t afford a nanny, nor is there an opportunity to have family look after T. This is our only option at the moment. It’s sad, but I’m slowly accepting it.

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Where we live there are TONS of nurseries within a 10 mile radius, which is actually a double edged sword. On one hand we have a vast choice of nurseries and can decide whether we choose one local to home or local to our places of work, choose one based on its learning style, or even choose one based on its food. On the other hand, and ultimately our deciding factor, because of the anount of nurseries we have, we also have our choice of costs! Nurseries are not competitive in the slightest, so having this many choices makes things difficult.

Nurseries argue that the reason why they’re not competitive is because each one is unique. Each one is so different based on the care they provide but at the end of the day they’re all doing one thing; looking after our children. A comparison between a chain nursery and a little independent nursery can often be no different… Until you get to the price. You would think that the chain, that often has more than one “branch”, would be cheaper as it’s making more money across the board, but no. You may then think that the little independent nursery would be cheaper to then compete with the well known nurseries, but no.

It really is a minefield.

So far, we’re at the viewing stage. I’ve already booked a handful of viewings and will be viewing them over the next few weeks. I’ve heard that once you get a “feeling” you’ll know you’ve found your nursery so I’m hoping I don’t have to view many before finding the right one.

The viewings, so far, are going well. There really are some wonderful places out there. With each viewing I’m armed with a list of questions, and thanks to our chums online we’ve been able to create quite the list:

Food selection.
– Packed lunches accepted?
Milk warming?
Nap times.
– Dealing with fussy babies.
First aid procedure.
Flexibility for shift workers?
Illness policy.
Extra hidden costs?
Exursions / outings?
Where will he be cared for?
– By whom?
Staff turnover.
Routines?

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only apprehensive parent when it comes to nursery, but it’s so hard not to worry that your baby won’t be ok.  Will the nursery be able to deal with T? Will he eat? Will he SLEEP?

I know a lot can change in a few months, he’ll be starting nursery when he’s a year after all, so it’s no good worrying about what’s going to happen later when even I don’t know what T is going to be like later. We’ll just have to wait and see.

What questions would you ask a nursery? Do you have any reassuring nuggets? How was your little one when they went to nursery.

K

Nursery

There’s no easy way to start talking about this, nor is there a snazzy or funny title suitable, so I guess I’ll just start. We’re getting ready to put T into nursery. There. I said it.

As a mini foreword, I know I’ve been incredibly lucky to have this amount of time off as maternity leave, however no amount of time, however long, will be long enough. I don’t want to do this. 

It’s not until April next year that he’ll be starting nursery, as that’s when I have to return to work, but it’s good practise to get viewings done and places booked early. Getting it done early will iron out any creases such as his/my schedule, as well as allowing for taster days where T can get introduced to the place slowly.
I feel incredibly sad at the thought of returning to work – in fact it makes me feel sick. It’s then not made any easier when I think that I’m not going to be leaving T with someone he knows when I go off to work. I have this horrible image of dropping him off and him sobbing his eyes out until I return.

I’m sure this won’t be the case and my general thought of it will become easier once T is moving and eating regularly, but my natural instinct at the moment is telling me he is too vulnerable to be left, but then I see others doing it all the time and with babies much MUCH younger so I tell myself I’m being a wuss. It’s so hard.

Every day I’m urging the universe for a lottery win so I don’t have to to back to work, so I can become a stay at home mum, but it’s not working. Wanting to be a SAHM isn’t the “easier” option – far from it. It’s a day AND night job in itself, which is why I’ve heard plenty of mums chomping at bits ready to return to work, but for me, it would be ideal.

In my eyes, if I was able to stay at home, I wouldn’t miss the milestones, the new foods, my baby growing up. I’d see it all. But, unfortunately, I don’t have a choice.

Over the next few weeks I’m planning on viewing several nurseries, however I hope to find “the one” sooner than that. I’m hoping to get that “feeling” that I’ve heard so much about early on so I can get T’s place booked and have one less stress about returning  to work on my shoulders.

Exactly how we go about looking for our perfect nursery is for another post!