So those who follow me here and on FB know that Alexander, 2 and 4 months, trialled nursery last September after his 2nd birthday and HATED it.
I know it’s common that children don’t always take to nursery easily and Alexander was no exception. The fact he’s always been in mine or my Mum’s care thanks to my freelance career, up to trying nursery, meant we didn’t expect it to be a smooth transition either…
However, the sheer distress was off the scale, for both of us, so I decided after a couple of weeks that we would leave things, let him mature a little and return.
A few weeks ago I tried again. The results were mixed, small progress but mostly a distressed little boy who at 2, can fully articulate his anxiety, ‘Don’t leave me Mummy’, ‘I’m scared’, ‘Stay Mama’ ‘Don’t go Mama?’- heartbreaking.
I preserved. We both did. I talked to friends, followers, even the poor postman and mostly felt reassured, we’ve all been there, things will improve, he’ll like it one day- but something in my gut, viscerally, just didn’t feel right.
All children are different. Alexander’s vocabulary is wide but he’s young in many ways and he’s the youngest too as he enjoys reminding me, ‘I’m a baby, Mama, Oliver, big boy’…
And Oliver was different, he attended nursery earlier than his brother, at 18 months (which I realise can help with settling in) and yes he cried a little, but the transition from home to nursery was smooth and without worry. He then had 6 months away due to glue ear and an operation, but returned to a new nursery (the one Alexander has trialled) settling in effortlessly.
But it’s not been that way with Xander.
This morning, after a more positive session last week, I couldn’t even leave him for an hour session his grip was so tight, his fear so clear. He made me carry him, little legs clinging onto me as he shook and wailed, ‘Don’t leave me Mama, come with you Mama’.
And that feeling again. That this nursery, at this point, is just not for him. We know our kids. I know my gut. Alexander is an easy going but sensitive child. I want to listen to his needs. I want him to feel emotionally secure.
I put him down, reassuring him I would stay and we would play together. ‘No Mama, no, please, Mama, please, I want to go home’.
Sweeping him up I decided that’s it, we won’t be returning.
Yes I’ve paid a term in advance (ouch), yes perhaps in a few weeks or months he would no doubt settle in, yes some children take time but no, not right now, not this nursery, not this time with Alexander.
I’m lucky that my loving Mum, a former teacher too, is free and wants to continue helping me with childcare. I’m lucky that I have a wonderful lady, Beverly, who visits 3 half days a week whom Xander loves. I’m lucky that my freelance career, although full time, means I can fit my work around my kids and that I work from home. I have options and choices and can decide what to do. I do realise how lucky I am.
In a few months, I’ll try again, possibly at another, smaller nursery closer to home. In the meanwhile, he’ll get on-going stimulation and lots of love from us all, and social interaction from play dates and groups.
I’ve made a decision, and it feels right.