Jack’s stay at Nursery may have been short whilst I returned to work but his progress speaks for itself. As much as I hate to admit it, his time at Nursery did us all, the world of good.
Back in November, when Jack was almost 11months old, we decided that I would return to work and so began the search of a Nursery placement for him. The idea of leaving Jack in the care of a ‘stranger’ made me feel physically sick. A baby should be at home with his parents (or guardians) as far as I was concerned at the time.
Our first visit to one Nursery made me feel terrible about putting Jack into childcare as I just didn’t like the place. Then we visited a second Nursery which was out of this world. From the moment I stepped inside, I felt completely different about the whole idea.
We arranged some settling in sessions for Jack and of course, he was absolutely fine, I on the other hand felt awful. He officially started his placement in December.
For the first few days, I thought it was the end of the world. I was beside myself with worry and was still in the mindset that he should be at home with his mummy. Jack was very tearful when we left him behind and I felt like the worst mummy in the universe.
By the time I returned to collect him, he was full of smiles and came rushing to the door for cuddles. That did make me feel better about the situation but the true saving grace was that I was pregnant again and so I would only be working until the end of March before I could start Maternity Leave again. I had a countdown of just 15 weeks and Jack would leave Nursery at almost 14months.
As time went on, I continued to miss and worry about Jack but it became easier and I did enjoy being back at work. I had forgotten how much I had missed catching up with friends and the break from bottles, nappies and house cleaning was good.
Jack was given a book to bring home each afternoon, which included everything he had done through the morning. I would sit and read it with him when we got home, as he would chuckle away. I enjoyed learning about his day, it made me feel like I was part of the fun. He would occasionally bring home some paintings and treats etc.
Sadly, Jack did pick up back-to-back colds and bugs at Nursery which affected the whole family. To be expected I guess, but it was horrible seeing him suffer and also being poorly myself during pregnancy was not fun.
Towards the end of Jack’s Nursery placement, I began to feel guilty for him. There was no denying that he enjoyed being there and that he had made some lovely little friends. He also loved the toys, sensory room and Nursery staff.
When we attended our Exit meeting with Jack’s Key Person, we was given an Early Years Foundation Stage “Look What I Can Do!” Book, which was full of observations and photos taken of Jack throughout his journey at Nursery.
I had no idea that they had been keeping such a documented account of his progress and it almost brought me to tears as I read through it. It highlighted just how much he had grown whilst being at Nursery and will make for a gorgeous keepsake.
In the 4months that Jack was in childcare, his development was without question; he is far more confident around others, is extremely ‘chatty’ and has picked up endless skills.
So what had seemed like the toughest parenting challenge to make in the beginning had actually turned out to be the correct thing to do. We returned to the Nursery a few weeks ago to see everyone and it was smiles all round. We look forward to returning to see them again, sometime soon.