Next week Holly starts nursery 4 days a week. Over the past week or so she has been doing a few settling in sessions to get used to the people and the environment. It is going a lot better than I had expected.
I had been a bit worried that we had got our timing very wrong. In the week or so before Christmas Holly went through a very clingy stage and started showing signs of separation anxiety; crying every time I left the room and always wanting to be cuddled. Last week when I took her into nursery for the first time, I was prepared for disaster.
Thankfully, Holly surprised me. By the time I had finished my paperwork Holly had made new friends and was happily playing in the sand tray and bossing other babies about. She willingly took her bottle from a complete stranger and then got straight back to play. She was doing so well that I decided to leave her to it and popped out for a cup of tea. The second session was much the same.
Tomorrow Holly is going to nursery for tea which will be another new experience for her but I think she'll be just fine. The only thing I now think she may struggle with is settling down for a nap when there are so many exciting things going on around her.
Seeing Holly so relaxed in her new surroundings with her keyworker and the other nursery staff made me so happy. Lara spent her first year with a childminder which was a much more homely environment and this time around I had looked at what other options there were for Holly other than nursery but nothing really worked out. I was tempted by the prospect of a nanny (two sets of nursery fees made this seem like a financially viable solution) or a childminder who might be able to still look after Lara after school later this year. Thankfully I know and trust our nursery and I love it there so it doesn't really matter that the other options were all dead ends.. Lara has thrived and is sooooo happy there.
And now more than ever I know that choosing the right childcare for you and your children is such a personal decision and one which tests your parental instincts to the max. Having spoken with an old friend last week whose little boy wasn't settling well at nursery I got the impression that she hadn't got THE feeling from the nursery. As a parent you just KNOW. Its a feeling somewhere deep down inside that you get when you know you've found the right place for your child. You're happy, your child is happy and life is good to go.