Saturday, 7 September 2013

First day at the nursery: rites of passage

The day has come for Eddie to start the nursery. I have been anxious for weeks in advance, how will my little man cope without me in this brave new world. He is only little, just turned 3 in July, and will be the youngest in his group. We have never spent a day apart in his life, and though I have left him with my Mum or a childminder for a couple of hours, it's not the same, as he was at home, in his own safe place, which he knows so well.



My little man has probably picked on my anxiety, as days before he started the nursery he kept asking me if I would be there with him. Every time I had to reassure him that though I wouldn't be in the room, I wouldn't be very far, and I would take him home in a few hours.
We arrived, came into the big class, and all his initial smiles turned to worry and fear, as one of the other children was crying hysterically. He looked at me and grasped my hand even tighter.
How can I leave my little boy? I was a total wreck, a quivering mess. One of the teachers came up and offered to take Eddie in. I told her I was going to stay in the staff room, just in case Eddie's having a big meltdown. With my older son, I was offered a chance to stay with the class for the first week, to help him to adapt to a new environment.



A few times I left the staff room and peeked in the class from the corridor. I saw Eddie engaged in a conversation with one of his TAs, he was showing her some drawing. Another time I saw his little face all red and scrunched like a piece of paper, with his little hand wiping the tears. My oh my, my heart sank.
Quarter to 11am, the teacher came to the staff room and asked me if we moved recently, as Eddie kept telling her he wanted to go to his old house. I told her, we moved over 6 years ago, so Eddie could only mean his home. He must be thinking this is a new home. I asked her to tell him that I am just in the room next door and that I will pick him up soon.
As he is ever so little, he doesn't quite get the concept of time. Three hours feel like an eternity when you are not sure about what you are doing there and why you are there, among the total strangers, and where is your Mama.
It made me think how vulnerable our babies are. How scary it must be for a little person to be left without someone he knows and loves.And how brave.



Needless to say, both Eddie and I were very happy to be reunited. Rites of passage. He was hungry and gobbled a rice cake. After the school, we went to a nearby playground.
That afternoon, after his nap, the first thing Eddie said after he woke up was: "Mama, thank you for picking me from the nursery". Poor thing, he was scared that I might leave him there.

I hope that once he is settled, he will start enjoying the company of the other children, make friends and make a good use of all the wonderful toys and equipment they have in the playground. He is a social animal, and is always trying to strike a conversation with the children he meets in the library or while shopping.

But my heart is aching, when I have to leave him in the class. And perhaps, just perhaps I also mourn the loss of  the babyhood and that time together, when only the two of us stayed at home in the mornings.
You are not a baby anymore, my little man.





Post Comment Love

11 comments:

  1. Awww I remember the first day so well, I think it's even harder for the mums than for the children ! In France, children can go to school from age 2, which seems so Young to me. I always waited for the next year, when they were 3. It's always a shame because there are lots of tears from many of the children for a few weeks, then they just get used to it and it's the half term holiday so it all starts again when they go back ! I hope Eddie settles in quickly and makes lots of new friends xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Cheryl! I hope his fears will subside and he enjoys the company and lots of new toys.

      Delete
  2. Aw, hope it's getting better every day for both of you. My daughter first went to nursery a couple of short afternoons per week at 2, totally because I thought she was ready for the stimulation rather than out of necessity, but I remember very well wanting to turn and run the other way with her in my arms. She's just started doing 5 mornings at the nursery attached to the school she will go to and it was a much better experience this time. All I can say is that most reports are that once you are out of sight, the child quickly gets on with focusing on what they are doing. As for you - large mugs of warming, soothing tea help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's just it was too abrupt for us, from being together for 3 years non-stop to parting for a few hours very week day. And yes, tea is my mate. ;)

      Delete
  3. I know the feeling well. My youngest has just started nursery (he turned 3 in August) and after a couple of two sessions a week he is now in 5 afternoons a week. Still can't get used to the silence in the house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It feels very odd, doesn't it, when the house is so quiet. I find it a bit disconcerting, I guess it will take me time to get used to it.

      Delete
  4. awww honey its such a manic emotional time for you all xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, sob, sob, my baby is not a baby anymore. sigh

      Delete
  5. Aww starting school for our little one's is such a big change for them and us....Hope he settles in ok x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kim! He was very excited about the obstacle race in the play area the other day.

      Delete