Mum and son-first day of nursery-Honest MumSo this morning we took the cute obligatory photos of Alexander, just 2, in his nursery uniform, the same nursery that his older brother Oliver attended, and pre-school (I’ve removed the markings on the uniform) and loved dearly- and we all smiled sweetly as my nerves were building up…another day, another huge milestone for us all (my eldest son, Oliver started school only last week)!

First day at nursery-Honest Mum

…Yesterday saw me stay with Alexander in nursery for an hour as he played and became more accustomed to his new environment and although he enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure what would happen today…

mum and son-Honest Mum

You see, he’s spent the first two years of his life with me every single day, yes, my Mum helps a lot, having him at my house or her’s but since she broke her foot, a family friend Beverly has been offering me childcare for three half days, playing with him while I sat in the kitchen tapping away, all the time able to see him, break for lunch, and basically be with him as much as possible.

I’m a full time professional blogger (and write weekly for Grazia) but as long as I meet my deadlines, I can work mornings and evenings burning the midnight oil if I need to, and although some days can be tough going, with my family’s help, we make it work!

First steps to independence

Nursery will of course help Alexander socialise more (play dates aside) and is the neccessary first steps towards independence for him. It will also help my work structure no end.

I know 2 can seem old for a child to start nursery but it’s the age this particular one (which is amazing) takes children and I feel lucky to have a career that has enabled me to spend so much time with him so far….

Alexander-Honest Mum

But back to today, I dropped him off, stayed a while then was advised it was best I left. Cue wailing which I could hear in the car park as I ran out, tears streaming down my face too.

Ten minutes later, arriving home, heavy-hearted, I called the school to check up on him. He was still crying and cross but they recommended I leave it another hour. Urgh. The- longest- hour of my life.

Thank goodness for the support on twitter and a call from one of my blogging besties Zaz of Mama and More because I felt broken, literally heartbroken, like I’d abandoned my baby.

The vision of his sprawling arms and confused face was haunting me, over and over again. I’m crying writing this and he’s fast asleep in his pram next to me as I type!  It was AWFUL! Heart-wrenching!

Then the school called again to say it was best I pick him up now so he doesn’t become too upset.

I rushed there with open arms, desperate to hug and kiss my baby. To just smell him.

He kept saying, “Me go home, Mummy, me go home” before falling fast asleep the minute I drove off.

…Tomorrow we’ll be back again and I’m staying with him for a couple of hours then he’s coming back home with me and we’ll be doing that again on Thursday-a slow settling in period to help him feel more secure and we both feel happier.

I know it often works to leave them and go (and some parents simply don’t have the option) but I think a slower period will suit Alexander…

What a tough old day but I know it will get easier, and better and there’ll be fewer tears (from both of us)-hopefully.

 

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75 Responses

  1. Jess Helicopter

    Oh my goodness….this is TOTALLY heart-wrenching! I thought you were going to say, he went in, cried and then was fine. But the fact that you had to pick him up because he was so upset must have been awful for you. I used to have such a callous attitude about kids crying when their parents left because my youngest never did! Then the minute he DID start to get upset at me leaving was the worst in the world. You feel so evil….even though your head tells you it’s good for them, your heart is ripped apart isn’t it? Big hugs and i hope it’s getting easier. xXxx
    Jess Helicopter recently posted…Childcare Guilt.My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, he was in total bits but I’m sure in a few months when he returns, it will get easier and if not I’m willing to wait, thanks for your lovely comment x

      Reply
  2. ghostwritermummy

    Oh, its so heartbreaking isn’t it? Bella started nursery when she was about a year old, and I took her out again as she wasn’t settling and I was too upset to leave her there. I wanted her at home and I didn’t care if nursery felt it was the wrong decision. She went back again at 2 when I was more sure that she was ready, for just one day. Again she took a while to settle but they have webcams that allow me to look in on her whenever I like so I knew that once I’d left she was ok. Now she does two days and will go up to three after Easter. She loves it and although it was hard at first, I know it was the right time and the right decision. She is such a confident little thing and great at making friends. And on the plus side, working from home is now not as stressful as it was becoming. Hang in there, he will settle to the new routine and it will start to work for you all x x x x x x
    ghostwritermummy recently posted…Return of The Bump: 33 weeks and the third growth scanMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling your comment means so much and you totally did the right thing, I am sure he will settle soon and if he doesn’t I will take him out and he can start later too, lots of love and thanks x

      Reply
  3. Steph @MisplacedBrit

    Honey, what a day!
    It’s absolutely fantastic you have the option and time to take it all much slower. I hope you both see a difference very very soon <3

    Miss Four started at nursery the week she turned 2 and I think one of the biggest differences compared to my 18 month old now that he's started is that he still can't talk. He's not stood at the gate crying 'mama! I go home with you…' The way she was.
    It's horrible not being 'supposed to' respond to those cries.

    It IS going to get better… That's just unfortunately no comfort at all when we're in the midst of it.
    Huge hugs lovely lady!
    Steph @MisplacedBrit recently posted…Roasted Chestnuts, Cognac Butter & Blue CheeseMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks so much felt horrendous this week but hopeful things will get better and he seemed a little happier despite still crying at today’s trial, thanks honey and hope your son settles well too x

      Reply
  4. Sophie Lovett

    Oh that must have all been so hard! I haven’t had to face leaving Arthur for any length of time yet and I know I’ll be a gibbering wreck when I do… I hope things are getting easier and the settling in period is working. He does look so super cute in his little uniform 🙂 xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…Breastfeeding a toddlerMy Profile

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  5. susan @happyhealthymumma

    Oh Vicki, I feel like crying with you!! I know how hard it is to leave your little one, as you know Thomas just started nursery too! I am thanking my lucky stars he settled in well so far, although maybe as he gets older he may go through phases! I k now I would have been just like you had he burst into tears! Alexander is so lucky to have you as a mum and a nursery which allows you to stay with him, that’s brilliant for both of you! I am sure he will settle eventually and maybe find one of the teachers there particularly nice so that he feels he can go to her and feel safe when you do leave him there eventually? I know Thomas loved one teacher in particular and I put him straight into her arms then leave and he is fine- but if I did it with another teacher then he would be inconsolable! I really feel for you, and hope for his sake (and yours!) that he starts to enjoy it soon. (p.s I never thought about removing logos before, thanks for bringing it to my attention, sometimes I think I give away too much on my blog!) x
    susan @happyhealthymumma recently posted…The Baby Show is Back~ I have 2 tickets to Give Away!My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Oh hun thanks for such a lovely message, really touched me. His teacher is wonderful and so loving and I think with time and me being with him will make all the difference, so glad Thomas is happy, thanks again for your touching words and yes removed the logos from Oliver’s school pics too x

      Reply
  6. Jenni - Baby Chaos

    Oh my, this must have been so hard for you, I can kind of relate to this as Boo is starting nursery in a few weeks, she has her first ‘settling in’ session in October – it’s just an hour and I can stay with her, but the first time I leave her I know I am going to be in tears! I am already stressing out about it now.
    I hope things go smoothly for you and your lovely little boy, he looks so adorable in his uniform.
    Jenni – Baby Chaos recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays – 24/09/2014My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, sure it will get easier, today was still not great but he will settle slowly but surely, in the meanwhile I’ve stocked up on tissues. Hope it all goes well for you hun x

      Reply
  7. Not A Frumpy Mum

    There’s no worse a feeling than leaving your child knowing they’re not happy. My little boy has just been through a not wanting to go to nursery phase and he’d cling to me at the door. He literally had to be peeled off me so I could get to work. It was heartbreaking and I cried all the way to work. Luckily he only goes one day a week and he has a great time once he’s got over being left. Really hope it goes better for you today xx
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  8. You Baby Me Mummy

    Oh I am sorry it was so awful for you both. I am sure it will pass and he will start to enjoy it soon. It would break me too having to leave Baby. I hope today is easier for you both x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Share Your Wedding #34My Profile

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  9. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    Oh lovely, this is so hard, and I’m so sorry it’s been so tough for you. Both my boys started nursery at six months, so I didn’t really have to go through this in quite the same way. It was hard to leave them, but they were far less phased by it. The wee girl though, she won’t start pre-school until she’s three and a half and I really worry about how tough that’s going to be for both of us. I think I need to look for some intermediate option to get us both used to it over the nest year! Sending huge virtual hugs, it will get easier and he will love it xx
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    • honestmum

      Thanks for your lovely comment sweetie, do think it must be much easier the younger they, good luck for pre-school, an intermediate option sounds like a good plan x

      Reply
  10. Mel

    Oh, poor little man (and you!). It is a huge milestone for both of you. It is great that they are letting you stay with him for a couple of hours tomorrow. I will be thinking of you. X
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    • honestmum

      Thanks honey today was OK but he was still tearful with me there, I was like another teacher doing reading time with the little ones and Alexander had some moments where he seemed happier-it’s going to take time. Thanks for your lovely comment x

      Reply
  11. Katie

    Oh! Sending you lots of love.
    It was bad enough going to work and leaving Lucy with my Mum… I can only imagine how heart broken you felt.
    Four weeks in and I am finding it easier now, even when she cries. It does get easier I promise xx

    Reply
  12. Susan Mann

    Aww honey, I feel for you. I had the same with my oldest and it broke my heart. But they settle and they love it, it’s heartbreaking though. Big hugs xxx
    Susan Mann recently posted…Family – The Gallery 201My Profile

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  13. Ali

    My heart goes out to you x such a tough one and one that I have been there too. I did the softly, softly approach with Bex who is my eldest. Oscar settled in fine thankfully.

    Bex was two and a half when she started and Oscar then was 6 months so I think that also made it harder for Bex as her and Oscar right from the start were very close.

    I am sure he will settle in fine, maybe a big brother pep talk on the things Oliver used to loved about it. Perhaps Oliver could remember something he used to love and Alexander and you could find it when you go in. May create a familiar connection for him knowing his big brother played with it etc.

    Alexander is the most scrumptious looking boy with those gorgeous curls and in these photo’s I can see someone who wants to go to nursery x it will come! xxxx
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    • honestmum

      Ooh good idea Ali and thanks for the lovely comment, fingers crossed the softy approach really helps him, thanks for your advice x

      Reply
  14. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    Oh lovely, sounds like it must have been so hard! I really hope the slower settling in process works for you both! Monkey starts his in January, it was meant to be Nov when he turns 2 1/2 but with the baby and then Xmas we’ve decided to wait until the new year. I can see the same situation you have described happening, but we will just wait and see how it goes. I hope today is better for you and tmw even better. Hugs xxxx
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    • honestmum

      Thanks lovely, chatting to teachers and friends who work in that environment say it’s totally normal but it was so hard, taking things slow to ease him in, doing it my way now! Thanks for the support and hope things go well for you x

      Reply
  15. Fiona @ Free Range Chick

    This post is full of familiar emotions. All the signs that our babies are growing too quickly for our liking. Time is so precious and totally out of our control. This must have been so heart wrenching for you, Vicki. Awful when you leave them crying and they tell you that it is for the best. I’m never so sure… We’ve left Finley at nursery since he was 10 months old, for three days a week. He was never fussed, never cried and was always happy. I thought we had it so easy. Then in the last few weeks he’s moved up to the pre-school group and has become completely unsettled. He only does one day per week, but I drop him off and he cries and begs. It is horrible and I hate leaving him. In fact, I hang around and I’m sure they don’t like it. Fraser has been with me every single day since he was born, and will do until he gets his 15 hours. I’m dreading that day. I can’t imagine leaving him, but also realise the importance of getting them into a routine in preparation for school (wish I could home-school, but that’s another story). I hoped that things are more settled for you all in a couple of weeks. So many changes for your boys and you both as parents. Sending much love and lotsa hugs xx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, gosh it can be so, so hard can’t it! I was hanging around too but they felt it best I left. Such a horrendous day. Here’s to tomorrow being better xx

      Reply
  16. brummymummyof2

    Oh my lovely lovely lady. I put my first in nursery aged 9 months and in some way I think it is easier as they don’t really know what is going on. As they get older they become far more away of their surroundings and obviously it hurts them a little more. You have to work, you have to earn money to treat them and it is horrible and upsetting but it will get easier. My boy turns two in the New Year and even though we don’t have to put him in childcare as I only work two days and the rents are here we are considering it for one day as the little boys and girls who had never been in any till preschool were hysterical when my girl started and I really do not want that. Lots and lots of Love xxxxx
    brummymummyof2 recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays 24th SeptemberMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Gosh yes you are so right and my Mum said exactly the same thing, this will make my work life easier, I need to earn money and he will benefit massively from mixing with other kids and it’s all prep for school, thanks so much for your comment, so reassuring x

      Reply
  17. Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    Oh Vicki, only reading this now as was out all day. it must have been so hard for you, and feel so bad for not being here for you, so sorry. I think you as mama know what is best for you and Alexander, and if you think it needs to take time, then do it. I will be in a very similar position in spring, and am dreading it… Olivia will be 3 and she is such a mummy’s girl. Isabelle was so different it took her no time to get used to nursery. Maybe it’s the second children that make it harder for us? Here for you lovely, hope tomorrow is a better day x
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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much, I think you are right, they are the baby and in many ways it feels harder (for us too), sure today will be better, thanks so much honey x

      Reply
  18. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper

    Oh bless you, it’s so so hard 🙁 We had exactly the same with Freddie a year ago. He was 2.7 then and hadn’t been apart from me, except to spend time with grandparents. he was so upset for the first few weeks, but then was fine, and now he absolutely loves it, runs in with a smile on his face each session! We’ll have to go through it again with Sasha, but I think she’ll be okay as F will still be there to keep her company. I have to say, I’m quite looking forward to when S starts, as then I’ll have some proper structured work time, rather than trying to squeeze it in all over the place! Hoping A settles soon for you, big hugs xx
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  19. Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely

    Oh Vicki, how heartbreaking. My littlest will be two in January and I’m starting to think about putting him in nursery or something similar for maybe one day or two mornings a week. He’s not been out of my sight since the moment he was born so I need to ease him in to a more social setting. It’s going to be heart wrenching.
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  20. Kim Carberry

    Oh no….When you said on Twitter you were on tears I didn’t realise it was so bad….Such a big change for you both which will take some time to get used to. I hope he settles in soon!! Hugs to you both xxx
    Kim Carberry recently posted…Saving Water & Money….My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks lovely, really was an awful day but today I’m positive things will be better, thanks so much for your lovely comment, it means a lot x

      Reply
  21. sarah hill wheeler (@hill_wheeler)

    What a day, sounds like you have been through the mill. Am sure however things will resolve themselves, and two is still very young! Broke J into nursery very slowly starting with one morning then two, then three, and seemed to work for us…to the extent that a few weeks in he decided he’d rather be at school than come home! (And, that said, he still managed to surprise us with full on separation anxiety when starting Big School).

    It really can be heart wrenching stuff, and probably not much consolation when you are in the midst of it, but take heart you will get there in the end.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, they have a minimum of 4 mornings or 2 full days and it’s a wonderful environment there, they said it is often easier for them to adapt with whole days although I will collect at pick up from the school so it won’t be a full day really, thanks for all your support x

      Reply
  22. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Oh sweetpea. As I said earlier, motherhood doesn’t half push our emotional buttons from time to time!! You’ve had a rollercoaster of a few weeks haven’t you, which can’t help either.

    I know exactly how you’re feeling right now, nursery inductions can be brutal, they certainly were for me and Elsie and all I can say to you really is this (all of which you already know)…it will get easier, the tears will stop, you will both gain so much from it and…he will grow to LOVE it.

    It’s the settling in part which is awful but it will pass. It will pass. xxx
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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling and for all your wise words to me on FB, meant so much. Yesterday was rubbish but you guys all made it more bearable, thank you xx

      Reply
  23. Franglaise Mummy

    Oh lovely, that is just so hard. There is nothing worse than seeing your child in tears and not being able to comfort them for whatever reason. As a mum who’s left her kids in various different childcare environments and as a childminder I can tell you it will get better, and then you’ll be crying that he skips off without a backwards glance and doesn’t want to go with you at home time, but for now it just feels very hard. Accept that it’s going to be a tough time, don’t beat yourself up over it (you’ve had a hard time recently with Oliver starting school too) and be there for him – and Oliver – when they need you (as I know you are anyway). Good luck and shout out when you need support xx
    Franglaise Mummy recently posted…A decent bra vs a boob jobMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much honey, hoping this week with me being with him will help him ease in more, thanks for your advice and support, means a lot to me x

      Reply
  24. Kelly @ The Two Boy Mummy

    Oh what a tough day for you. There’s something that feels so primally wrong at leaving your distraught child but you are doing the right thing for your little boy in helping him socialise and become more independent. Remember the mantra ‘this too shall pass’, and things will get better. Hugs x

    Reply
  25. PhotoPuddle

    Oh hun, I am so sorry you had such a bad day today. It’s heart breaking isn’t it and it goes against every maternal instinct to leave them when they are so upset.
    My two year old stated pre-school this month. It stated badly. Every time I dropped him off he would scream and scream. It was a scream I had never heard before not just a general tantrum cry and it totally broke my heart. Luckily, within about five minutes of me leaving he settled and had a great time. In fact he’s always disappointed when it’s time to go home. Anyway, it appears that everything has clicked into place now. When I dropped him off today. He wandered in on his own we said goodbye and he waved as I went out through the door. You will get there and he will wonder what all the fuss was about. Just be prepared for a bit of an emotional ride!
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  26. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    Oh darling it’s so difficult to leave our little ones when they’ve been with or near us since the day they were born, isn’t it! My Little Man struggled at nursery at first but now he loves it. We found that finding a set of toys he particularly likes playing with – in his case trains – made it easier and I reminded him every day that we were going to plan with them. Now when we arrive at nursery he says ‘trains!’ and toddles off himself.

    Your little prince will settle too eventually – it’s wonderful that you can ease him in gently in the meantime. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow is less traumatic for both of you x x
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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much sweetie for your reassuring comment, so hard. I took a ball (he’s football obsessed) but made no difference, sure things will improve x

      Reply
  27. Mouse

    Oh love, how hard that must be! I cannot imagine how that must feel (I’m new at mummying) but it can’t be nice. I hope your little fella settles quickly and has a much better day tomorrow. I’ve worked in nurseries, so I know that they almost always do settle in and start to enjoy it. Some just take longer than others. His uniform is amazing!!
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  28. Potty Mouthed Mummy

    Oh lovely. It’s good that you can take a different approach to settling him in and you will both feel the better for it I’m sure. It’s so tough. H has been at nursery nearly two years now and I vividly remember days like this, gosh we still get them. But try not to feel guilty as I’ll bet you are. You shouldn’t. It’s just a change of routine and sometimes that is very very tough indeed. I’m sending lots of hugs and hoping it gets easier xxx
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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling for your kind words, felt so awful today, guilty, broken, tearful-cried for most of today. Hopeful things will get easier and all your support means a lot, thanks so much xx

      Reply
  29. Tinuke

    Oh hun! Sorry the first day didn’t go as well as you’d have hoped. I’m hoping the rest of the week gets easier for you and for the beautiful Alexander. I remember that feeling of your heart and tummy literally jumping out with anxiety. It will get easier xx
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  30. Annwen

    It’s always hard when they’ve been mainly with you. Just give him time, let him feel safe and show him how much fun he can have and he’ll soon be settled. Having similar issues with Lissy at the moment and struggling to leave her to dash to work. Xx

    Reply
  31. Aimee

    ah, I’m sorry you had to deal with that. I’ve always been very lucky except a few hiccups and it broke my heart. You know this already, but he’ll be perfectly happy in no time xxx
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    • honestmum

      Thanks honey, I know, suppose never thought it would be this hard for either of us x
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  32. Steph @ Sisterhood (and all that)

    Oh love! Those first drop offs are hard. I can remember then getting straight on a train and having to stop blubbing! Give it six weeks and then look back and I’m sure this will feel a distant memory. It definitely took a while with both mine for all of us (me included) to feel settled. Hope each one feels a bit better x
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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much hun, was a tough morning but hoping things will get better soon (I know they will) if only these things weren’t so hard x

      Reply
  33. Ebabee

    Oh lovely, I feel for you so much. It’s such a horrible feeling but one we have to go through. I went through similar when A started nursery at 2 – she howled and I sobbed feeling like I had abandoned her because similarly she had never been without me up to that day. It was a tough, tough few weeks when she would start crying the minute we started walking to the nursery because she knew where we were going and that I was going to leave her there. But on the positive side, even if it takes a while for them to settle (and us to adjust) it will happen and soon I’m sure Alexander will love going there. Big, big hugs xx
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    • honestmum

      Thanks Nomita, means a lot to know I’m not alone, it really is so hard x
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  34. Babes about Town

    Aww sweetie what an emotional couple of weeks! First, {hugs}! It’s really difficult, especially if your little one is struggling too. And 2 is not old for nursery, Jed didn’t start nursery until he was 2 and a half and even then it was just a couple of hours in the morning. I remember the second day he cried and my heart ached but after that he was fine and he grew to love that nursery so much he used to ‘send it cuddles’ when we passed by lol.

    You have to take it day by day and see how little A adjusts to his new setting. He’s had such a secure and loving start from you that typically means they settle quicker (if the environment is right for them) and that he will be back to his lovely self in no time. But please also don’t feel pressured from any direction to speed up his settling in, it’s such a big change for them and they really are very little still. In many countries kids don’t start anything resembling nursery/school or whatnot until much older so there is no right way or time, only what works for you and your family. So take it at your own pace and here’s to a happier day tomorrow. Sending you love and (virtual) cake xoxo
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    • honestmum

      Thanks sweetie for your lovely comment, means a lot. Yes so many kids start later and Oliver started at this particular nursery at 2 1/2, I meant a lot start as babies too. He really is still so little, still my baby and it’s a lot for them. I am going to take thing slowly and hopefully he’ll settle in soon enough, thanks again honey x
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  35. Maria (One Tiny Leap)

    Oh Vicki, I feel your heartache… it’s truly awful seeing them desperately wanting you there, playing with them and giving them a helping hand making friends.

    My son was fine at nursery in the UK, but when we moved to Portugal he really struggled to adapt because of language, but now, he looooves it. Yesterday was his first day back after a 2 month holiday and by 8am he was ready and asking to go and ‘see all my friends at nursery’.

    I hope it gets easier for you both, and that the cuddles you get when you pick him up are extra tight to make up for the mornings x
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  36. Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork

    Oh love, I really feel for you. M was quite happy-go-lucky when he started nursery last year, but the return after the holidays has been horrendous. Desperate crying in the morning, awful emotional outbursts at night. Even though I KNOW it’s a great nursery, I began to seriously question everything. I feel your pain, I really do.

    Three weeks in and things are much, much better. He practically runs in in the morning now! He just needed time to experience us coming back to get him a few times over – it was just too hard to believe at first. Talking about it with him helped a lot: every night we sat him down before bed, told him what would happen the next day, reassured him we’d be back, and that it was okay to feel upset. After a few days he started saying these things too, unprompted.
    It’s great that you can take it slowly, and I’m sure Alexander will settle in before too long. x
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    • honestmum

      Thanks so, so much for your comment Eline, really made me feel better and will discuss it with him more, it’s so hard for them isn’t it and us but you’ve really reassured me, thank you x

      Reply
  37. Notmyyearoff

    He looks adorable in his little uniform. It’s so so hard to leave them and just the step into nursery world too where it’s all change. Hope he settles in very soon and loves it every much as his big brother did. Hugs for you x

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  38. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Oh darling, the heart wrench is so enormous for this phase, but as the trusty book I always go back to says – Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet – “we are the bows from which we must set fly out children as arrows”. You’ll know the best way to settle him in for both your sakes xxx

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