So we are three weeks into our new chapter and it has honestly shocked and surprised me for many reasons.
As we brought our then one year old around for a browse and put her name down for our place of choice, I thought “lots of time to have her all to myself, it’s ages away!”.
How naive was I?!
Children grow in the blink of an eye and all of a sudden I was being informed she had been accepted, what date she’d start on, when our introduction day was, it was all there in black and white, and it was frightening.
This Summer gone past hasn’t been so easy. Towards the end I had lost some confidence in myself as a parent. Toddlerhood had proven even more difficult and other people, strangers, were not helping.
Peoples cruel remarks, words, and overall attitude towards my daughter was hard to deal with, and I remember just crying my eyes out one day once I got home thinking “What had I done?” But then on the other hand being furious with those people, knowing that my child, as many of my friends had told me, was a normal happy regular toddler who was only acting in ways they all do.
It lead me to stay inside for a couple of weeks, only leaving to get bits if I needed them, and to be honest it was what I needed to get myself back together again.
But then the beginning of playschool was edging closer and anxiety hit again.
Questioning if this or that would happen, imagining teachers speaking to me about how “bad” my child was, envisioning her having a slap fest across the classroom, which was totally ridiculous but that’s what anxiety does to you.
It was so real, but I had to snap out of it.
Regardless of any “habits” Isla had, she deserved a chance, a chance to feel a new beginning, live a new chapter, and being an only child, be around other children the same age and without Mama or Daddy around.
The introduction day arrived and Isla rolled in like a mini boss, diving in to play mode, and she was in her element.
There was a point where she took a small toy off another girl, and I could feel my insides knot, my head panicked.
One of the childcare workers simply came over, took the toy, explained how we share, while replacing the toy in Isla’s hand with an alternative, and everyone was happy.
Maybe this playschool thing ain’t all that bad after all?!
Then came the big day! The day Isla would be brought in, and spend the afternoon without any parents in sight.
Isla has thankfully never been someone who makes strange or needed myself or her Daddy to cling to, so we are very lucky that this issue never arose.
It was probably the longest 3.5 hours of my life, but as time rolled on, and each day I realized that no phone calls were being made, she was happy going in, happy coming out (most of the time), I began to relax.
There was one day where she told me she wasn’t going to playschool, and I just stayed positive and went in as normal with her, and she’s been upset once or twice while in playschool but really out of tiredness – it takes a while to get used to this 5 day thing!
But the way I see it is that we all have “off” days as adults and children are no different.
It’s been three weeks since that beginning now and my worries are pretty much gone.
She has done so well and has come on leaps and bounds since beginning her new adventure!
It seems like every day there’s something new. She’s singing so many different nursery rhymes, singing happy birthday a million times over, stringing her sentences together, learning lots of new words constantly, being courteous and is most importantly, loving it.
Before I sent her, I was nearly second guessing myself on whether I should send her or not.
I even toyed with the idea of sending her part time, but turns out the 5 day week was the better option overall for better learning with the rest of the children.
And now I am so glad.
It is so hard to cut the apron strings and give a part of your baby to the world, to trust people with your daughter/son when you aren’t around.
But from what I’ve learned it’s much harder when those apron strings don’t come undone and because we’ve let loose we have a vibrant, outgoing, confident little person.
Yesterday was the absolute cherry on top when I arrived to collect my little star, as I was told how brilliant she had been, how settled she is and has the routine down perfectly, which was surprising to me because we’ve never been over the top on routine at home, but there you go – she is really very easy going!
So to parents who are on the fence, scared or anxious about the big move to playschool for any reason, do it.
Avail of the schemes, let your child explore, and take one day at a time.
I know I am certainly more relaxed having a couple of hours to myself 5 days a week and you know, I thought I’d never say that either.
Now I can get things that I want to do, done, and overall I am a more relaxed Mama because of it. It really truly saved my sanity.
Happy Parent = Happy Children