Last week Toby left the nursery he has been at since he was 13 months old and started at a new nursery.
There were a few reasons for this; there were always a few niggling issues with his old nursery, nothing that was serious enough for us to move him but things that given a choice we would have changed. The nursery he has moved to was actually my first choice when we were putting Toby into full time childcare when I went back to work. The only reason we didn’t send him there was because it didn’t open early enough for me to drop him off and still get to work on time. Obviously that isn’t an issue now so it was no longer a reason to keep him where he was. The other main reason we have moved him is because this nursery is a lot cheaper than the old one! This doesn’t seem to have any ill effect on the care the children receive, and it means we can afford to keep Toby going four afternoons a week for the same cost as three afternoons at the old nursery. The other thing that influenced our decision was that the old nursery doesn’t receive council funding to provide children with their free hours of childcare when they are three and the new nursery does. Although we are planning to move back to England in the next year there’s a chance we’ll still be here when Toby turns three and it was easier to move him now than wait until he is three and there’s less chance of getting him a space.
Anyway, last Thursday we went along to the new nursery for a settling in session. We had told Toby what was happening but I don’t know how much he really understood. I think he was pretty confused when all the staff were giving him cuddles when he left his old nursery on Wednesday! On Thursday Barry had taken the afternoon off so we all went along. As soon as we got there Toby went off and started playing. I spoke to his key worker for a while and then we went and sat in the manager’s office for half an hour and left him to it – I don’t think he even noticed we weren’t there! When our hour was up we headed home again, Toby seemed like he’d enjoyed himself and we told him he would be coming back again the next day.
On Friday we went again. The plan was for Toby to stay at least three hours but that I would phone after two and if he was doing OK then he would stay to have his tea and do the full afternoon. When we pulled up in the car I told Toby we were at his new nursery – ‘new nursery’ he said and seemed quite happy to go in. In the hallway I was explaining to Toby that he had to change into his special ‘inside shoes’ (he didn’t have to do this at his old nursery), and I showed him the cool slippers that look like trainers that I’d got him. One of the staff came out and at this point Toby started saying ‘home’ and trying to pull me towards the door. He’s only just learnt to say home and what it means so he likes to use it, even if it’s not necessarily what he really wants. I told him we weren’t going home and we went into the toddler room where he’d had so much fun the day before. At first he clung on to me and refused to go and play. Then he had a spell of lying on the floor. After ten minutes or so he decided to go off and have a look at what there was to do. I stood up and he came back to cling to my leg again. Then he found something else to do. I probably could have sneaked off without him noticing but I don’t really like to do that, so I said goodbye, and he cried as I knew he would. He has been going his old nursery full time nursery for well over a year and still cried at least half the time when he was dropped off so I wasn’t too worried. I left him to it and sat in the car outside for a while just in case they rang me straight away to say he wouldn’t settle. No call came though so I headed home. I called them a couple of hours later and he was absolutely fine so we left him there to have his tea and do a full afternoon session.
Unfortunately this week hasn’t such plain sailing. It’s been a struggle some days to even get him in the door. Yesterday when we pulled up outside he started crying and saying ‘no nursery’ and then ‘me home’. When I left him he was really crying for me (and it was the same on Tuesday) but there have been no calls to collect him early and we’ve gone to pick him up they said it’s taken no more than five minutes for him to calm down. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more tears of drop off but as long as he continues to settle down quickly I know he’ll be fine. It doesn’t change the fact that leaving him crying is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and it doesn’t really get any easier.
I’m so proud of my biggest boy though. There have been a lot of changes in Toby’s life recently and he’s coping with it all so well. I guess he’s not my baby any more, my little boy is proper toddler and he’s a total superstar.