The thought of sending your daughter or son to nursery is one of mixed emotions, just like everything seems to be as a parent. One minute you want to spend every second with them, squidging chubby cheeks and hearing their amazing little laugh. The next they’ve just thrown weetabix AKA the closest thing to cement across the room, hitting everything possible including the dog, and you’re suddenly keen to offload them to anyone that will have them.
Nursery is a huge consideration. You may have days where the words “I wish I just had some bloody time to myself” come all to easily, but when the reality strikes to hand your minime over to the professional carers, how does it really feel?
Well, when Meg was 38 weeks pregnant and the size of a yoga ball with arms and legs, she landed a new job (GO MEG!). The only downside to this news was that she had to cut her maternity down to 5 months for her start date. So, we did what all parents do; we weighed up our options, realised nursery was the way to go and we did some visits of kid prisons… I mean nurseries in the area. We then came home, curled up in a ball and had a little cry at how much it all cost. Despite the financial tears, when it comes to childcare and having genuine professionals look after your offspring, the reality is you’ll pay anything (within reason).
Luck was on our side however and a beacon of light shone in the distance, in the form of my in-laws. They offered to look after Ivy full time at home. Call them mad (I did), or the kindest (I also called them that). It meant we could go to work with confidence of where Ivy was, who she was with and that they were family. At 5 months she was still so tiny, so the thought of dropping her off anywhere but with nanny and granddad would have been a lot to take on board.
Life, like it does for many, threw us a curveball a few months later. This curveball meant we had to reconsider some temporary nursery care for Ivy, two days a week. Returning back to the ‘umms’ and ‘ahhhs’ of what do we do? and where does she go? We selected a nursery, and with a sign on the dotted line, the internal questions came; will she forget us? Will she forgive us? Will she enjoy it? Well the bottom line is Ivy loves nursery and the lovely ladies that looks after her, and we’ve noticed some clear benefits since she’s been there.
When juggling the initial worries of sending Ivy to nursery, there was some reassurance in that we knew she would benefit from being around other children. We’re hardly a quiet and reserved family, but it became clear when Ivy was with our friends little ones and people in general that nursery was shaping her into a playful and approachable little girl. She’ll be waving at anyone and everyone in the street, or shouting ” ‘iya” (we’re going to have some issues with stranger danger!).
None of these benefits are a guarantee from nursery, everyone has a different personality and experience. However, it was mentioned by friends that being around other children can benefit in terms of sharing, considering the fact they’re playing with toys and doing activities together all day. Now that’s not to say Ivy is always so forthcoming with handing things over, but she is interactive with other children and will always look to hand toys over to play with at home. All factors I didn’t realise were so important until you start to see it happen right in front of you.
She shares… BUGS!
It’s not always sunshine and socialising. Nursery comes with a shitty side, and I mean that quite literally. In the months that Ivy has been at nursery I’ve had more viruses than I’ve had in the last 4 years. You see, when you throw several children into a room, with snotty noses, dirty hands and then have them play together all day, one of them is inevitably going to become a hazardous crawling bundle of germs. Then nursery kindly hands them back to you at the end of the day and the bubonic plague slowly spreads across to mum and dad, nanny and granddad, and on one occasion even made it to auntie and uncle (sorry guys!). I’m told it’s good for building Ivy’s immune system and the colds, conjunctivitis and sickness are to be expected. At this rate my stomach should be able to withstand a healthy portion of raw chicken 😂.
Ivy never mastered the crawl, in fact she still moves around the room using a Quasimodo style leg drag method. But she’s starting to walk as well now, get up from sitting, and squat to pick things up. Kids will walk when they’re ready to walk, but I’ve no doubt nursery has provided her with the opportunity to see how other children move and work around their environment.
Find what works for you
Choosing childcare is a big decision, but I hope some of the points above (aside from the sickness) might help if you’re in nursery limbo. There is one thing I will say. When you get the opportunity to pick them up at the end of the day, you cannot beat hearing “DAD!” (Or “MUM!” as she has called me on a couple of occasions) shouted across the room! Nursery may not be an option for everyone and if we had to go full time we’d no doubt be looking at various ideas, but if you can, don’t worry they will remember you at the end of the day.