Toby has been going to nursery full time now for almost eight months. He started in August of last year when I went back to work and except for a few holidays and illnesses he has been there every week day since. On the whole it has been a positive experience but like everything when it comes to raising a child we’ve had our ups and downs.
When he first started going to nursery Toby would often cry when I dropped him off but usually I could hear he had stopped before I even got out of the building. For a long time this crying stopped (unless he was ill or had had a particularly bad night the night before) and Toby would literally run, or crawl in the early days, round to his room and happily start playing. Unfortunately, the crying has returned in the last month or so and I’m not entirely sure why but I’ll come back to that in a minute.
He has always eaten well at nursery and rarely refuses anything they give him. The only thing we have found so far that he really doesn’t like is rice pudding but apparently he always tries a spoonful and then refuses the rest. Perhaps he’s just checking to make sure he hasn’t changed his mind!
In the beginning his sleep was a bit of an issue too – even though he was still having two long naps during the day at the weekends they would often struggle to get him to sleep at nursery and some days we would pick him up and he’d be really grumpy because he’d only had one short nap or sometimes not slept at all. It’s better now and he seems to be in more of a routine. He usually has a nap of between one and two hours after lunch, at the same time as a few of the other children.
Nursery has been great for his development too, he gets to do lots of things there that I probably wouldn’t do at home (mostly things that involve making a lot of mess!) and he gets to spend time outside in the garden or going for walks every day. Of course it’s difficult to say what he would have been like had he not gone to nursery because we don’t know any different but he certainly seems to be getting plenty of stimulation every day.
So why the wobbles? Well, there have been a few things lately that have started to make me feel uneasy about our situation. As I mentioned earlier Toby has been crying when I’ve dropped him off for the last month or so. I know he stops crying and settles down when I’ve gone, and he’s usually fine the rest of the day but it doesn’t make it any easier to leave him. And then a few weeks ago it started getting to the point where the crying would start at home as soon as I asked him to get his shoes, or tried to put his coat on. Last week we got to a whole new level of screaming, particularly when trying to get him into the car. The screaming getting into the car then carried on for the rest of the week, even when we weren’t going to nursery. We even had to abandon an afternoon out at the weekend because Toby was still screaming 15 minutes from home.
Now, I don’t know how much of this is purely to do with nursery or whether he is just going through a bit of a phase of separation anxiety. He’s been quite clingy with me generally, often shouting for me if I just leave the room, and refusing to let his dad put him to bed at the moment too. He’s been teething again too and also had really bad nappy rash for the last week or so which can’t have been helping either.
The situation at nursery hasn’t been helped by the fact there have been quite a lot of staff changes recently. This concerns me a bit in itself. High staff turnover is rarely a good sign in any business, and it makes me wonder why people are leaving. Toby has always been a little shy of new people so when there are different staff every day (they seem to rotate new staff round the different rooms in the beginning which doesn’t help) it is very unsettling for him. New staff also means new people changing his nappies and getting used to using cloth, so sometimes they have been put on really badly and must be uncomfortable for him.
So, as you can see there have been quite a lot of things that could be contributing to his unsettled behaviour. I spoke to the owner (who has also recently taken on the role of manager) last week and he did go some way to reassure me. They have put a procedure in place so that Toby’s nappy is changed every two hours and each nappy change is now supervised and signed off by a senior member of staff. This should at least help his nappy rash clear up and make sure his nappies are put on properly. They also told me that although a few people have left recently they are getting a couple of very experienced staff starting in the next week or so and hopefully one of them will become his new keyworker. I’m pleased that they have listened to my concerns and are putting things in place to try and improve things for us.
Actually, as I finish writing this post, things have already started to improve since I started to write it last week. The screaming and fighting about getting in the car seems to have stopped. He has had a bit of a cry as he his dropped off and we have to leave but he’s stopped before we’ve even left the building. I’m really hoping that this was all just a wobble and that things will keep on getting better. In a few months we’ll need to start thinking about him moving to the next room, but also make a decision about what we are going to do after the new baby is here and I’m on maternity leave. At the moment we are hoping to keep Toby at nursery part time, to give him a bit of stability but also so I can have a bit of time alone with the baby. Fingers crossed it just all works itself out one way or another, because for now I think we’re doing all we can.
Have you experienced nursery wobbles with your little one? I don’t know if it’s common to go from being happy and settled one week to really not wanting to be left the next – I’d love to hear if any of you have gone through something similar.