Peaches is entering nursery, or daycare if you will, very soon. Before officially starting nursery there are “settling in”, or taster, sessions. My partner took her to the first session - two hours long, he answered some developmental questions and watched her play (and almost completely ignored him). She took to it quickly and did not want to leave “school”.
I did not really know what all that or this meant. As everything is theoretical until put into practice first hand.
30 minutes ago I experienced it first hand. Woke her up from a nap telling her it was time for school, she squealed with delight and quickly got dressed. (What the what?! How is it suddenly not a fight to dress her?) We walked over, signed in, went into her designated classrooms and boom - off she went. I got an occasional glance, but not one with any kind of recognition. Suddenly I am Jo Nobody in her little world.
The nursery team let me know I could leave whenever I felt comfortable, and I could have left right then. But no. Instead I awkwardly stood around, looked at things on the wall, said hello to the children staring at me. If they could communicate better, I am pretty sure they would have said - “take a hint weirdo”.
No goodbye, I just slipped out of the room, signed out of the building and walked. Alone. Back into the school. (Stopping to give my husband a “WTF Time to Myself Boogie”.
Time to myself…. Especially unplanned time to myself.
What do I, how do I, should I….
I am lost.
And I guess that is what this, after two solid years of full time stay at home mum-dom, is going to be all about for me. She gets to socialise, grow, experience from outside my peripheal vision… and I get to.. relocate me. Check back in with that stranger who after a 32 year relationship took a backseat.
How do I even start? Sorry I ditched you, bae, you know I love you.
***Editor’s note : Children just love to prove you wrong, two days after I wrote this up Peaches broke out with impetigo.... so that was fun. Since she has recovered and returned to nursery she is having separation issues. Which is less fun than seeing her independently walk into the classroom of her peers.
It is difficult living in a school. No escape from work. None.
Even when trying to leave the grounds - - texts, conversations, thoughts all travel back to school. It is my second child -and third, fourth, fifth, sixth.
Those boys in our care.
Teenagers are a world in themselves, but I cannot help compare the simularities with our toddler. Both desperate for independence but need guiding. Both thrown fits when things do not go the way they think it should. Both demand and both eventually listen. Both need structure and a good example. Both have brains that are sponges and need a good night's rest to function at their best. Both are on the brink of a whole new stage in life.
One moving from baby to child, the other child to adult.
So this first half of term was absorbed by these children. Adjusting, learning, trying, aiding, teaching, listening, speaking, arranging and organising. Going above and beyond - it wiped us out.
The last week we were running on empty.
Cannot let that happen. So after a refreshing half term break - where we recharged the parenting batteries - we are back.
We are trying a new approach - one that still provides, offers, guides but mostly so that everyone knows we care about them. To do that - we need time to care for ourselves.
So here we are.
In the school.
Sun’s out, fun’s out!* Is that a saying? It must be the sunny weather or that Peaches is now a toddler, but we are having better social luck at the playground and library. More conversations and interactions make both Mama and Kiddo happy!
I still get into this hermit mode of “hissss, leave me alone with my angsty thoughts” - don’t get me wrong. But I am really enjoying the parent conversations at the moment. No longer is anyone asking me if I do this or that for my baby, if I work or why I haven't returned to work.
Finally people are owning up to not knowing what hell they are doing, how exhausted they are and tips on kid friendly places to go. For first time parents the veil of “things are going to get easier” finally is lifting. We all realise, what second+ time parents already knew, that the parenting does not get easier. Nope. It just changes a little with each step in the child’s development.
So we gather with our wee ones in the communal spaces of libraries and playgrounds. For the bleary eyed parents these spaces have become a safe place to share the ups, downs and struggles of parenting. Kind of like a confessional but for dishing out embarrassing moments about themselves, their partners or their offspring.
Here are some anonymous examples:
“We were staying with my partner’s mother after the birth of our child. One morning during a feed a packaged arrived. As everyone was out of the house, I quickly buttoned up my nightgown and answered the door. To my horror the door slammed behind me. I had no keys, no phone, knew no one and had no idea how long his mother would be out. Somehow the police arrived and I was able to direct them how to get to my partner’s sibling - who had spare keys. After 25 minutes (which felt like hours) I was back inside the house to find my five week old babe still asleep safely in her cot.”
“My elder child was born with a heart condition. My younger child was born with a hole in their belly. I have recently been focusing on my younger child after their latest surgery. I am very afraid that in giving the younger one so much attention, I will miss something in my elder child that could be fatal.”
“We were at the mall during a prime holiday shopping day, took my young child into the toilets with me when they loudly asked me ‘mummy, what’s that hairy thing?’. Needless to say, you could hear the echoing snickers down the adjoining cubicles.”
We all have fear.
We all have shame.
We all have earth shattering love for our children.
These things never change.
But talking to others about the crazy journey eases our troubles.
If even just oh so briefly.
*I started writing this during a string of good weather, but am very aware while posting this it has been raining for days. England! You trickster, you!!
Not an instructional blog but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - so help me Mom.