Researching the nursery online, going to visit and filling in the forms was all very easy and we felt organised. We made the decision for B to spend 2 days with his Grandparents and one in nursery. For us, the one day a week in nursery was for the socialisation, the playing, the new friends and different scenery and the two days with his grandparents was because who wouldn't want to spend 2 days being doted on (and fed till near bursting) by their Nanna and Grandad? Our decision felt right and to be able to pick a fantastic nursery and have parents to be able to do this, makes us very grateful.
So, why was I sat in Starbucks desperately trying to not make eye contact so nobody saw my puffy eyes? What coffee did I order? Who knows because all I could think about was that my not-so-little-baby was 5 minutes (literally) across the road having his first settling in day at nursery. A million and one questions ran through my mind as soon as I left him in the room. What if he cries when I leave him? What if he misses me? What if the staff forget to give him his dummy for naptime? Why didn’t I snuggle him for longer this morning? I found these questions streaming through my mind. Then, I realised that he’s probably having more fun at nursery than he has at home, he is obsessed with playing with other children, he’ll get to do arts and crafts (that I’m scared to do at home because I'm the worlds clumsiest person/everything is white) and he very rarely cries - so why was I so upset?
Don’t get me wrong, I know how stupid and daft I sound writing this but (there really shouldn't be a but, BUT)... this feels different, sort of like he’s taking his first steps towards becoming more independent and needing me less. I longed for B to sit up by himself, to say Mum, to roll over, to crawl (If only I knew what I was getting myself in for on that one) but here I am shaking my head and stomping my feet at nursery, this is something I have not longed for. All of a sudden, we’ve gone from spending every waking hour of the day together (sometimes more than I’d like) with the exception of some date nights and days out to now, him being away from me for 3 days. He’s got his own routine and things that he does without me and his dad and I can't help feel that this is good, for all of us but deep down like I want to rewind everything to Day 1 (maybe just without so much of the newborn-ness).
On the flip side, I’m really excited about the routine and for us as a family to start operating outside of maternity leave and to start our new normality. The nursery is really fantastic - think Miss Honey’s classroom in Matilda. The staff are lovely and are completely besotted by him (No surprise here, he really is a flirt!). Yet, I watched nearly every minute of the clock tick by as I waited patiently to pick him up. 5 minutes to go and I downed my coffee like it was tequila on a night out, broke a red light, drifted around every corner and I’m absolutely joking... However, I did fix my hair at the door of the nursery, so I didn't look like I’d just jumped out of a semi-moving car and raced to the door. I pressed the buzzer twice, just in case they hadn't heard me and not because I’m impatient. There he was, sat snuggled into a nursery worker, he looked comfortable. His face lit up as he commando crawled over to me saying ‘Mam, mam, mam, mam’. I felt instantly reassured.
My mum-friends and the whole of social media reassure me that feeling like this is super normal and everyone feels like this at some point - God help me when he goes to school and he can forget moving out of Cardiff for University. I’ll put these tears down as happy tears. Happy tears because we have a healthy little boy who’s starting a new adventure - an adventure that doesn't require mum or dad 24/7 and that he’ll figure out by himself. Who knows what B will get up to in nursery but one thing is for sure, pick up time will always be my favourite time of the day and I can’t wait for my fridge to be covered in splodgy half-dry paintings and handprints.