I’ve bought the uniform, the name labels (although I’ve put them in a safe place and they are currently m.i.a.), new shoes, a backpack.
If it’s on the list, she has it.
We are ready.
Or at least, one of us is.
Every time someone mentions nursery, and it’s surprisingly often these days, Mark and I share a look… of utter terror.
I know this is often the way; that bloggers with children starting nursery or (shudder) actual school will be writing similar posts this week or next.
It’s comforting, sort of.
But it doesn’t stop The Fear.
While some change is inevitable, Mark is worried that we will lose our happy go lucky little girl – we rather like her, it would be good if she stuck around. He also wants to carry on shielding her from emotional or physical harm (forever), which we obviously can’t do if we are not there (and which we realise is part of growing up, to some degree).
For me, it goes further.
I hated school.
Ok, maybe not all of it. Definitely high school, for all sorts of reasons, and my mum says she had to take me out of play school because I upset all the other children by sobbing my heart out each week, even if it was only for an hour.
When I think about Freya starting nursery, the weight of my unhappiness presses down on me like a physical thing.
What sort of mother am I to start her on that path, to consign her to 13 years, at least, of misery by making her go to nursery – even if it is only two mornings a week, at first – when she doesn’t really need to?
And then I stop.
What I have to remember is that Freya isn’t me (or Mark).
Whatever my feelings about it I have to be entirely positive for her sake.
And the thing is, she is ready.
It won’t come out of the blue, I have been preparing her. Hoping to ease her into it, giving her the skills she needs to thrive.
We’ve been walking by the nursery since she was a baby and often stop and look through the fence and watch the children play for a few minutes. The teachers even wave at her. We talk about how much fun it would be to be in there. I’ve been excitedly telling her more recently that it won’t be long before she will be allowed to stay and play with them.
When we went to the open morning she didn’t want to leave.
She is desperate to make friends. At the park she will try and play with other children, any other children no matter if they are five years older than her (and often not interested) or too young to play the games she wants. At nursery they will be her age and probably interested in the same
strange, often unfathomable games she wants to play.
We go to different places, we meet new people. I encourage her to ask questions, not to be shy. I’ve gently been teaching her about being mindful of others but to stick up for herself where appropriate.
She might not have been out of my care (or that of close family) before but I’m hopeful that, once she’s used to a new routine, she will be in her element.
I have to be confident she will.
Now, whenever anyone mentions her starting nursery, instead of bursting into tears, as I want to, I repeat a mantra in my head.
She will love it.
It’s only for a couple of hours.
She will be fine.
Plus, if she doesn’t settle after a period of time, we can try again next year.
I’m not a powerless child now, I’m an adult, a mother, and I will make it as enjoyable, positive and meaningful as I can for her.
Any other tips for surviving nursery for an anxious mum (and dad)?