Run up to the first day……….
Halle has always been a very bright child. She has absolutely flourished at nursery. Making friends, growing in confidence, creating a bond with the incredible nursery staff & coming home with all sorts of weird & wonderful things. School is a milestonethat we have both been counting down to. She has been ready for a new challenge since the beginning of this year.
As soon as it was open for us to apply for school, we sat down together and chose 3 schools to apply for. We already knew where she would go. Following in my foot steps and going to the same school as me. It’s a beautiful forest school. They wear slippers in the class room, wellies outside to explore the expanse of their woods. They also do not wear the conventional uniform. They have the school cardigan and sweat shirt but instead of the usual school trousers and grey skirts they wear a pair of joggersor leggings. Always ready to go out to their forest class rooms to learn out in nature.
Although she has been totally ready for this new challenge there has been a massive hiccup in our plans.
I work at the GP Surgery who had the first confirmed UK case of Coronavirus. But at the time I was, thankfully, on maternity leave having just had our son in September. Being on maternity leave I decided to take Halle out of nursery right at the beginning. If I was at home anyway, I did not want to put her at risk. So starts the downward spiral of behavior and loss of confidence.
I am for sure not the only parent who has struggled with how to keep our children entertained and learning from home. I have always been in total awe of how the nursery staff keep our children engaged all day long. I was so looking forward to having Halle home.
For a few days we plodded along. Taking lazy steps through our days and staying in our PJs until noon! A big part of this was down to my anxiety around the situation of Covid-19. Not knowing what was going to happen & worrying about how I was going to keep our little family safe during these uncertain times. It came to breaking point after we had an emotional day. One tantrum after the other. A 6 month old not sleeping or napping and a very overwhelmed and exhausted mummy & daddy.
Having had 4 months off of nursery, Halle was beginning to get fed up of adult company. She was missing the interaction with her peers and desperate for someone to be her super hero side kick to help defeat the villain.
Going back to nursery in July was a massive relief for us all. She needed to get back to see her buddies. We needed the time to get work done, only needing to keep one child entertained. This obviously didn’t come without its down sides with all the worry of her being back with so many people and how she would feel about the new routine of being left at the front door.
Initially she was nervous about going back but she did actually settle in really quickly and the system they had in place was very reassuring. So this resolved some of our anxieties.
Halle going back to nursery benefitted us all. In the respect that we now know roughly what school drop off will look like. Also,roughly how children will be spread between bubbles. It has also given Halle in insight into her new normal, in an education setting.
We were lucky that we were able to visit Halle’s new school. They organised a socially distancing treasure hunt. Only having 2 children and family members at a time. They also had a section set out for them to plant their own sunflower seeds to take home. Halle can be very shy in new situations, again picked up from me. Sorry bear!! But this made her feel comfortable straight away. It wasn’t too overwhelming for her being with loads of other children at once, of which she often struggles with. Even walking up to the school for our first visit she told me she had a nervous tummy. I told her that it is normal to be nervous and that it is super brave of her to do something even when she is feeling scared. So with a spring in her step she completed the treasure hunt and planted her seeds and said see you soon to her new teacher.
Just last week Halle had an almighty melt down. This is the way she expresses her emotions when she is not sure how to put something into words. Eventually, after she had thrown all her bedding on the floor, emptied her drawers and thrown toys down the stairs, she came out with this.
‘Mummy, I’m scared that I won’t make any friends.’
That statement sent a shock wave of feelings straight through me. Bringing back so many memories of how awful children can be to each other. She was crying in my arms. Trying to catch her breath in between her whaling.
I could feel the lump in my throat. Trying to keep it together. I couldn’t do it. I cried too.
Sat on her bedroom floor we cried together. I could feel her pain and I could not find the words to comfort her. Because I am scared too. I know what’s to come. How children form different groups of friends at school and often don’t appreciate the differences of each other in a positive way. Eventually we got it all out and we talked about how much fun it would be making new friends. Creating excitement about all of the new things she would learn. Turning these scared feelings into anticipation.
Since then we have collected her uniform and she has tried it all on. This was one of the biggest, most emotional, moments in my mummy career to date!! I will be losing my little buddy. My best friend who I’d go on coffee dates with, babycino for those worrying about the caffeine situation!! I’m going to miss going into a book shop with her and reading the backs of the books from the older children’s section, because she thinks she is ‘too old for the baby books’.
This little girl has been my absolute rock since the day she was born. I will forever be thankful for those first years together and the strength she has given me through so many hard times. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her. To hear her read those first words to me. To write her first sentence. And to make her first school friend.
Now excuse me whilst I go eat a whole bag of Maltesers to myself and cry in the corner with a box of Kleenex. #Emotional