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the wrench | saying goodbye to nursery

One of my favourite times of the day is picking my daughter up from her nursery school. If I’m lucky, I get a few seconds of watching her, busy at play, before she notices me and comes stumping over. Sometimes she’ll say, “There’s MY mummy”, which always sparks that spangled, warm pride we carry with us in the eternal maternal bumbag of emotions.

She loves them, those young folk in their colour-coded polo shirts, those who are the puppet-masters of her day, whilst I grind out copy and strategy and reports at my desk. She’d drop everything to run across a room to cuddle most of them. And you know what? Unless they are all master illusionists, I think they really care for her, too.

They teach her songs. That’s a serious understatement of their powers though. They taught her to walk, to hold hands, to drink from a cup. “Sit on your bottom”, she says to me, before I slump down to watch her eat. They taught her that, too.

And I really like them.

Today I learned that the woman who took my baby from me and promised me she would look after her is going to become a mother herself. I am genuinely thrilled for her, as I would be for a friend.

But the wrench is that we’re moving a little too far away for it to be possible for them to see her safely into primary school for me. The journey will be too long – I’d be the mum of that last, stoically playing child at the end of the day. We’ll be saying goodbye to nursery.

I don’t know what to do. Do I try to explain to her on her last day that it will be the last day she’ll be mine again at 6pm, smelling of pasta bake and clutching a drawing that somebody helped her do?

Do I keep hopefully reading the carefully sourced books with parables on new schools and new friends, and ask her what she thinks?

Do I let her friends and carers say goodbye to her as if she’ll never return, or ask them to pretend that she’ll be back the next day?

My baby, grown up enough to walk by my side, seems so young to be facing this challenge. I don’t want her to face it alone, without me by her side. But that’s how nursery works. I’m perplexed as to how this wrench feels far, far worse than the original decision to send her to nursery in the first place.

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8 Comments

  1. A thoughtful post and I’ve no words of wisdom to offer. But how lovely that she’s had such a great start at nursery school.

  2. Rachel Rachel

    Don’t have any answers here! But great that you’ve felt so positive about nursery. Your recommendation was one major reason we sent A there too and she loves it. Fantastic about the pregnancy. I was thrilled as well.

  3. ‘Enternal maternal bumbag of emotions’ = amazing. Oh, it’s hard isn’t it? We moved when E was two and it meant we had to change nurseries. I think she wasn’t hugely aware of the impact, although she had two best friends and she did mention them for a while (she has no recollection of it at all now). I felt distraught though and cried like a baby on her last day. I’m not sure there’s a lot you can do, but she – and you – will come to love her new place too xx

  4. Ah this post is lovely. It must be really emotional for you, especially when she’s settled in so well. It’s lovely that you love the nursery so much, hopefully the next one will be even better! x

  5. Oh that is a tricky one. I told F he was leaving when he changed ours as i didn;t want it to be a shock but I think that is because he is a very sensitive child. I think whatever you do she’ll be good and you’ll be there to hold her hand through it. x

  6. Ah it’s great that you’ve found such a great nursery and I can totally imagine how it must be sad to leave. When Cherry went to pre-school she had a great key worker for the first year and really loved her but then the second year she had someone awful so we were glad to take her out, it must be hard when they are all great. Hope it all goes okay 🙂 x

  7. This is a beautifully written post. Aren’t we lucky to have access to such wonderful nursery workers!? x

  8. Oh my…as a new mummy I can only imagine how hard this might be, we’re just thinking about nursery placements and it’s a hard enough task trying to find somewhere (and someone) to take care of your baby, let alone finding somewhere amazing and saying good bye to it. I hope she’s OK and that you’ve worked out a way to tell your little one in a positive way x

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