Thursday, 19 January 2012

Cutting off my right arm - I survived!

When I woke up at 5am I had that feeling you get when you know that you have something to worry about but for a brief moment you can't remember what it is - and then it dawns on you and you feel it first in the pit of your stomach.

It came to me as I was still remembering the emotion of the twins being born yesterday, today was a big milestone for Verity - and me - her first day at nursery.

We had decided to put her in a day nursery for one day a week as my shift patterns were going to be changing, and also because we thought she would benefit from it, but given the choice and how I felt this morning, I wouldn't have been doing it!

Firstly, there was the guilt of leaving her. Should I really be working rather than looking after my child for this one day?

Even though I knew I was working so that she could have whatever she needed, what if needing me was more important than anything?

I had been through all this when I first went back to work, even though we were able to manage by leaving her with my parents for a couple of days and using flexible working for the others.

Now I was going through it all again, but was suffering not only the guilt of leaving her, but leaving her with people she didn't know for the very first time.

She is not a particularly clingy child, she is fine when left with family and is quite confident at the groups she goes to but I had no idea how she would react being left where absolutely no one was familiar.

What if she hated me for doing this?

Then there was the fact that this was the first day of years of other people judging my child that will continue until she is at least 18 - and beyond - if she becomes that lawyer or vet that I am banking on.

What if she displayed some of the toddler traits that are beginning to rear their heads - everything she touches is "it's mine", and if you try to take it away there's trouble. We even sometimes have full scale throwing herself on the floor drama queen moments - but most of the time she is a very happy and amenable child but what if they only see the bad bits and think she is "difficult" or a whinger on just one meeting?

They would probably also be judging me. I found myself wondering whether I should change her trousers when she spilt a small drop of porridge on them at breakfast in case they thought I was a slummy mummy. I didn't. There wasn't time!

I then thought I should make a note of what she wore so that she didn't turn up in the same thing every week.

I also worried that they would judge me on the remnants of the bad teething nappy rash that she had last week.

Will they blame me for her fussy eating when I am tired of telling people that I have offered her anything and everything since weaning started but she just isn't that interested in food.

But near the very top of my list of worries was "what if she loses "toppy"? This is one of my old tops that she needs when she wants to sleep. If it were to go missing - we would be stuffed!

So with all these thoughts in my mind, I phoned them at the beginning of the week to confirm what we needed to bring etc and they began to prepare me for upset.

They said that as she was only going for one day a week it would probably take her a while to settle but not to worry as it was only to be expected.

They suggested I stay for a bit while they went through her routine etc with me so she could see I was happy chatting with them, then to go home and phone whenever I wanted.

There seemed to be no doubt that she would be upset as it was pointed out that leaving her with other family doesn't count as "being left" so she wasn't used to it. I take took their point but I had only been confirming that she hadn't just been with me 24/7 and is used to me working.

On the "toppy" front, it was suggested I cut it in half "just in case". Brilliant - why hadn't I thought of that before, instead of guarding it while out as if it were diamond encrusted.

n the end, I cut the arms off to keep safe at home, and then wondered if could cut my own arms off to leave with her at nursery for comfort as I felt I was losing my right arm anyway - why not go the whole hog?

So, armed with the change of clothes and the infamous "toppy" we set off. I explained to her that she would play and have lunch then mummy would come and get her.

I had a heavy heart, why on earth was I putting her in a situation where she was likely to be upset. I had spent 23 months trying not to do that so why was I walking straight into it now?

In the event, I could barely get her coat off before she was playing. She came over while I was talking to the manager because she wanted to show me things but basically she zoomed around excitedly, trying to play with everything at once.

I sloped off - I didn't/couldn't do the big goodbye - and phoned when I got home. She was still happy as Larry. I started to feel a little bit miffed.

I phoned an hour later and there hadn't been a single whinge or moan. She had been playing solidy and was completely happy.I was so relieved and delighted - but there was a small twinge of doubt inside me, why wasn't she missing me, is she THATfed up of my company?

We decided not to push it so I collected her at midday - after lunch and before her nap - so that she would leave happy. She didn't eat, but she doesn't eat at home so that was nothing new.

She didn't want to leave. She smiled at me when I walked in but the Railway Children-esque "Mummy, my mummy" never came, nor did the slow motion run to me with outstretched arms. Instead, she said hello but then ran past me and dived head first into a ball pool! When I asked her if she enjoyed nursery she proceeded to say "I want to see it again" all the way home!

So I am very, very proud of my happy, confident and independent little girl but does this mean I am now surplus to requirements? She didn't even ask for me FFS!

Don't get me wrong, I didn't WANT her to be upset in any way and I hope she continues to be happy there but a little "Where's mummy?" would have been nice!!!!

I know I would have been more upset - beside myself in fact - if she had cried at any point so I am really not complaining, I just hope that the fact she was settled is because she is happy and secure and not because she is bored of me!

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