It started with that little coat hook.
That first little coat hook at your first nursery. It wasn’t even your first day there. It was a pre-visit. They had to bring me hot sweet tea. They were so kind to me, this weeping mess of a mum who had been derailed by a little coat hook, with your nametag on it.
The worst bit was always the drop-off, when you screamed, though I knew you were fine five minutes later. After about the third morning, they advised me to just wait a few moments and watch you calm down. It didn’t stop me crying as I walked to work though, not for that first week anyway.
I thought it would get easier.
In a way, it did, and it didn’t.
When you started your new nursery after we moved, I was so relieved I no longer had to commute into central London and back with you in a sling; I forgot to be the sobbing mum on the doorstep. I possibly cried on the walk to the station though. I’ve got previous.
Then it was time for you to move from Baby Room into Toddler Room last January. There is a corridor between the rooms. You can see across from one room into the other. It’s not even a whole skip across a hallway, that’s how close they are.
Yet on that morning, I surprised myself and alarmed one of the lovely staff by bursting into tears as I handed you over, and hung your coat and bag on your new little hook. I didn’t even know I was upset about this next stage until it was happening. I bumbled my way out of there, apologising and yes, crying on the way home, with H on the phone reassuring me it was all okay. More hot sweet tea helped.
And as for this January? The tears started back in November, when we received the letter about your visits to the nursery’s pre-school room. ‘OH COME ON!’ I thought to myself, as the tears rolled down my cheeks. ‘Really? Still crying?’ I can’t help it. Although the additional news that the costs would be lowering was delightful, it seems that each big new stage reduces me to tears. Apart from the potty training that is – once that had proved a success, there were only tears of JOY.
I steeled myself for yesterday’s drop-off as pre-school began. I wore no mascara. I only blubbed twice as we got ready. On the walk there, we sang ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ and I took some deep breaths.
Oh but they couldn’t have made it any easier for us. There were your lovely key carers, waiting, and all smiles as I took the obligatory doorstep snaps. There were your friends waiting for you in the Toddler Room, just like before. I had to take your coat and bag upstairs and hang them on your new little hook, but this time I didn’t lose it. It’s only taken two years, at last!
I came downstairs to see you playing and laughing with your friends and MoreGuin, you didn’t even notice as I left – just how it should be. And I remained calm on the way home. In fact, I saved the tears for earlier today, when researching your schools admission process made me cry and reinforced my belief I’ll need some sedatives for September 2017. Until then, denial, denial, denial. Sometimes when it all gets too emotional, denial is key. For all the other times, there’s tea. And wine. Obviously.