Today Beaver is leaving nursery. After three years.
The cocky me of months ago, ‘Oh we’ll all be fine,’ is suddenly nowhere to be seen. Departing us when we need her most.
I feel adrift. As if the rug is being pulled out from under me. Like Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment when she says goodbye to her children. OK, maybe not that bad.
To Beaver, the last day of nursery means nothing more than wearing your pink skater dress that you’re NEVER allowed to wear to nursery. It means fancy clips in your hair. And sandals that are forbidden by nursery rules. Because hey, what are they going to do? Kick us out on our last day?
To me it means transition, a new routine, a temporary lapse of security. That I am suddenly old enough to have a school-age child (let’s not even go there). It means having to do breakfast and dinner at home seven days a week. SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. I only have two recipes. Is it nutritionally sound to alternate egg fried rice with Popeye pasta? Does anyone know?
Beaver has friends at nursery. Hell, I have friends at nursery. 23 in fact. That’s how many of us are going to Giraffe tomorrow for a leavers kids’ tea (with Bellinis). In Blackheath. In case you want to steer clear.
And now we have to start all over again. In a stricter environment. Where toys are not allowed. And, I imagine, hot pants are frowned upon.
Yes, it is safe to say that Beaver and I might not be cut out for school life. This week alone I have had to scrabble around on the floor looking for wands whilst calling South Eastern Railway and asking if they’d mind holding the train. Whilst Snow White finishes accessorising.
Leaving nursery means I will no longer be able to get the lovely 8.17 train. The one which is fast to Waterloo East and always gives me a seat. And gets me into work 15 minutes early for coffee and toast. Instead I will be doing school drop-off. I say drop-off, it will actually be more like a drive-thru. Because I will have exactly 8 minutes to see Beaver into school and get my train. Tight? Nah.
But most of all it means the end of an era. The first era. The official end of Beaver’s babyhood, her toddlerhood, her preschoolhood. Concluded in one day. Just like that.
And I know that this is just the beginning of the milestones we have to reach. That they will get harder as Beaver gets older. That I’ll have to do them all again with Godivy. To think that in those early days, I thought I’d ‘done’ motherhood the moment I got them to sleep through the night. Like that was the biggest milestone of all. Gina Ford, you’ve conned me.
So to all of you with pre-schoolers-soon-to-be-schoolers, I know how you feel. Exactly how you feel. And I wish us all a graceful transition as we embark on this next era. Failing that, waterproof mascara and a big box of tissues.
Damn it, why can’t leaving nursery just be about wearing a pink skater dress?
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT LEAVING NURSERY?
Surviving Motherhood Tip#7 – how to survive the transition from nursery to school
- Prepare your child for what’s ahead. It won’t mean anything to them but at least you can say you tried
- Prepare yourself for what’s ahead. You’ll still fall apart but at least you’ll be ready for it
- Work out your new ‘school’ routine and start practicing ahead of the first actual day. Lay out breakfast the night before if it helps. Hell, eat it the night before if it helps.
- Don’t cling to your child’s keyworker’s leg when that last day of nursery looms, begging them to let you stay. Being escorted off the premises is not how you want to be remembered.