You think your toddler will be the ONLY one doing all the learning once he/ she starts nursery? WRONG! You – nursery-going mum – will have a LOT of learning to do as well. Some lessons will be delightful, others not so much. But there WILL be new experiences so brace yourself.
1. Settling-in period is the most unsettling experience… EVER!
I hated it. As much as I looked forward to packing Little Man off to nursery (I love him but I need those hours of me-time to preserve what's left of my sanity), I dreaded the drop-offs. He, like most toddlers, took a rather long time to settle, and that one month was excruciating. The protests often began at home, leading to howling, screaming and streams of tears as I dropped him off. Nothing stabs you harder than watching your lil one screaming 'Mummy', reaching out to you, eyes red with tears… and you having to walk away. The Momguilt hit me so hard in the beginning, I couldn't even enjoy the free time I had.
2. Soon, you will be forgotten at drop-off… but the run to you and hug at pick-up is to die for!
However, once the blood, sweat and tears (drop-offs almost felt like that at first) die down, and your toddler feels comfortable/ secure/ happy at nursery, they will LOVE it so much that you will be ignored and forgotten at drop-off. Forget a hug and a kiss, you're lucky if you get so much as a wave goodbye!
The biggest smile ever when they see you in the evening and that drop-what-they-are-doing and-run straight-into-your arms counts as one of the BEST feelings of motherhood.
3. Our kids do fine without us – we are more scared than them!
Taking off from the previous point, our kids will be just FINE without us. We are the ones who are scared of letting go, of trusting our precious child in another's care, and of all the possible what-ifs.
4. They learn so much so fast
It amazes me how Little Man – and toddlers in general – pick things up so quickly. Their brain is constantly seeping in information. Alphabets, numbers, songs, language, social skills, functional skills – you will barely recognise your kid after a few months at nursery. Proud mama.
5. Get ready for a whole load of illnesses
Ah, this one's a bummer. But it cannot be avoided. Brace yourself for a LOT of snot and sniffles and an almost persistent cough/ cold. And then the biggies – chickenpox, conjunctivitus, nits, lice!!!
6. And a whole bunch of crappy arts and crafts (sorry, not sorry!)
The first 'drawing' (scribbles) that your toddler proudly brings home will make you immensely happy. And proud. You will stick it up on your fridge, and send a picture to everyone on your whatsapp list proclaiming your child is set to be the next Picasso. You will look at it everyday with a big smile on your face.
The first paper flower your toddler makes will also get the same treatment, as will the 'hand-print'.
The first Mother's Day card – ah, now that's a real keeper.
Then the novelty will start to fade. You will look, say 'Wow, it's lovely darling', probably ask what it is meant to be (because it's still essentially just scribbles), genuinely be amazed at your kid's imagination, and then keep it. Somewhere.
After a whole bunch of crappy scribbles have overtaken your fridge and desk and walls, you will slowly start to throw some away, with equal amounts of guilt and relief.
7. Your toddler will not like to talk about his/ her day when asked, but will tell you EVERYTHING five minutes before bedtime
When you excitedly ask your toddler how his day was, expecting a long, equally excited answer, don't be surprised if all he/she says is 'Alright' or 'OK'. What did you do/ learn? 'Nothing'. C'mon, you mean to say I'm paying 80 quid a day for you to learn nothing?!
When you're (trying to) tuck your toddler into bed, and when all other excuses and storytime and blah blah blah is done with (read this post to get a clearer idea of what I mean), your toddler will start talking about his day. IN PRECISE DETAIL. He will tell you what he liked/ disliked, what he ate, if he did a poo at school, which kid got 'thinking time', everything.
8. Don't think the staff are fibbing when they tell you your toddler is so well-behaved/obedient!
It's a fact. Toddlers transform into these ethereal beings when at nursery. They are obedient, they tidy up, they go to the toilet without being continuously told to, they try new foods and even eat their veggies, all while sitting down in one place all through their meal. They nap at the drop of a hat. They sit and colour for a whole half hour. Angels indeed.
Maybe it's the desire to conform, to emulate what their friends are doing, or they just know they won't get away with being naughty like at home.
It's almost as though you left Jekyll at the nursery and got Hyde home in the evening!
9. Your picky eater will eat everything… but ONLY at nursery
Yes, they will relish broccoli, eat all their greens, try out that thing on their plate that doesn't look like pasta, and basically eat a good, healthy, balanced meal while sat on the table throughout. No one-last-bite pleas, no threats and definitely no television! Blah… mealtimes at home are sooooo the opposite!
10. Child-free hours will whizz past
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I love my son and do love the days we're home together. But sometimes motherhood can get a bit tedious and a bit much, and that's when I crave Little Man's nursery days. But when they roll by, they just whizz past. So bloody fast.
Yet, I can't wait to pick him up in the evening. Every single time.
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