I had scored some freelance work, but it was mainly graveyard shifts managing a few brands’ social media accounts. Have you tried working a night shift then looking after a toddler the following day? I wouldn’t recommend it.
But aside from that, it was becoming clear I wasn’t enough stimulation for Little Miss. Every morning, she would be itching to get out of the house and if I wasn’t showing signs that we were going out by about 8:30am, she’d be throwing shoes at me (yes, really) and banging not the front door.
To be honest, I also just needed a break. It’s tough work looking after a toddler seven days a week. And two days off would give me a chance to get everything done – job applications, housework, whatever – so that I could concentrate on Little Miss and being a great mum on the days we have together.
Little Miss is very confident and extremely sociable (even offering kisses to complete strangers on the tube. We’re working on this.). So I was relatively relaxed about her starting nursery. When we went to look around, she ran off playing and even sat down at the table ready for snack time with the others. She clearly felt at home
Settling in week went well.Monday: 1 hour, with me in the room
I sat filling in paperwork and just let her get on. I figured she’d come and get me if she needed me and thought it was better for her to get used to the surroundings without me. She only came up to me once with fistfuls of chalk and crayons as if to say, “look! They just let me have these!”. She was also at this point, covered in chalk.
Tuesday: 2 hours, without me
It went really well and I got the most amazing cuddle upon my return. Apparently she was a little gem.
Wednesday: 4 hours, without me, including lunch and nap time
She remembered that I had left the day before and kept a close eye on me as I dropped her off. She was quite unsure about my leaving, but apparently calmed down within five minutes and got on playing. She even managed a 40 minute nap.
Thursday: 6 hours, without me, including nap time and two meals
She had cottoned on by this time that this wasn’t just for fun and was very clingy when I dropped her off, even a little teary. Apparently was calm within five minutes and didn’t look around for me at all the rest of the day. Managed an hour’s nap and was asking for seconds at lunch and tea (she’s her Mama’s daughter!)
Friday: full day 9am-5pm
Daddy joined us for drop off today. Again, Little Miss was very clingy at drop off but I could see through the little portal window in the door she’d calmed down by the time I’d got my shoes back on outside the door. She did brilliantly and painted us a picture.
The staff can’t believe how quickly she’s slotted in. The first week after settling in, she was quite unsure at drop off but by week two, she was giving me a kiss good bye then running off to play.
She loves her key worker, “Gace” and now, when I say, “Today’s a nursery day, you’ll see Grace today,” Little Miss is climbing into the buggy in a flash, ready to go.
A pleasant side effect is that Little Miss seems to appreciate her time at home more. The morning after a nursery day, she happily sits in her tipi reading her books or colouring quietly. The first week she was at nursery, this took me by surprise and I was up, ready to go and trying to persuade Little Miss to get dressed. She kept taking off her leggings and running away. When she crawled in mine and the OH’s bed and got under the duvet, I realised that perhaps she just wanted to chill out at home after a hectic day at nursery the day before…!