I’ve just been having a little scroll through my blog and I had the sudden guilty realisation that almost every blog post recently has been centred around Jenson. I guess that’s what happens when you have a new baby; their updates are much more frequent, their stages much closer between and milestones more prominent but I can’t help but feel a pang of sadness that I haven’t been writing about my Jasper, my firstborn and the reason this whole blog even started.
So, as I sat and thought about what I could write I realised that we in fact have a major transition right on our doorstep – Jasper has started pre school. Yes that’s right; my squishy baby (okay he’s two years old – almost three but I still call him ‘Bubba’ and he’s still my baby) is starting pre school; that’s pre-school, the last stage before school and that is just a little bit of a big deal.
Now, Jasper has been going to nursery since just after his first birthday, so education/ being away from me etc etc is nothing new to him. That’s not what’s making me well up every time I look at his swishy golden locks and cute button nose; it’s the fact that he’ll soon be starting school and once he’s there, there’s no return. I mean, there’s home schooling of course but I’m not cut out for that, we’d end up on Costa dates and watching Paw Patrol whilst Mummy instagrams, so really, this is it. It’s still a whole year and a half away but the count down is on, the home stretch is in sight (do I call it the home stretch? Isn’t that something you refer to when you’re looking forward to something?), okay let’s not call it the home stretch, maybe the next chapter? That sounds more positive without it being something I’m forced to admit I’m happy about which I most certainly am not!
Jasper started off with two morning nursery sessions a week. He was away from me for 5.5 hours a day, twice a week and that was enough, it worked. We were fortunate that we didn’t need him to go; we just thought it would be mutually beneficial for myself and Jasper … and Pete, and I guess Rhys too. Jasper would get more social interaction, be less dependent on me and would learn new things that I couldn’t teach him; I could focus on my blog and Youtube channel, Pete would feel less pressure as the sole breadwinner and Rhys wouldn’t be tackled at the door by an eager baby brother every Friday because he’d have had lots of interaction with other kiddies.
Settling him was no trouble, we had the odd tears but he always calmed down as soon as I left and had a wonderful time there. His speech developed amazingly, he started walking whilst there and he made some lovely little friends; he also grew bonds with the nursery teachers which gave me so much confidence. His next big transition was going from the baby room to the toddler room when he was around 20 months old. He was only in there for a couple of months as we then moved areas and he started at a new nursery, the one he’s at now. There was a bit of an overlap for a few weeks as he went to his old nursery one day and his new one for two days but he soon said goodbye to his first ever nursery and settled in with two morning sessions a week at his new one. Again there were a few tears, the odd army crawl out of the room whilst he was choosing his breakfast but he soon started coming home telling me stories of his favourite ladies and new friends. His speech came on in leaps and bounds and both me and Pete were so grateful to the ladies in that waddlers room as they just helped him to blossom into the cheeky chappy he is today.
Next up he moved to toddlers. This happened on his 2nd birthday and I felt so sad as we’d both grown such a bond with that room. He had his special ladies there and I didn’t know how the next room would compare. They seemed lovely but would they love him the same? Because seriously, the baby room ladies loved him and I really felt it.
Well I needn’t have had any worries; Jasper was a hit in his new toddler class. It became clear instantly which ladies he’d grown a special bond with and it honestly melted my heart every time I dropped him off or picked him up and caught a glimpse of their bonds. I could just see how much they cared for him; they found him so sweet and funny and were always honest with me about his behaviour which on the whole was fab but he could certainly be a monkey when he wanted to.
I grew even more confidence when Jasper moved up to toddlers and I could just see his confidence shining through. Toddlers gave him so much independence; on top of making his own breakfast which he did in waddlers, he had free flow play so he could choose many of his own activities. His character shone through even more; he became potty trained and he made some really close friends in that room and I felt the saddest ever when they told me he’d be moving up to pre school at 2 years and 9 months rather than 3 years. I knew instantly he’d be apprehensive, he’d spent the longest duration of time in that room over any other and he’d really become so attached to it. I knew he’d have to go up at some stage and I knew he’d settle fine in pre school but I just didn’t feel ready to let go. We had a routine, it was all so normal and happy and I didn’t want him to have to move on. It’s like being told you have to leave a job that you love, in an office you love with colleagues and bosses you love; to work in another office, with new colleagues and bosses and a slightly more advanced job. You wouldn’t want to do it would you? There’s nothing wrong with the new office/ job/ colleagues etc but you’re happy in your current situation. Why rock the boat? Why fix what isn’t broken? I’m aware that I’m being completely dramatic by the way. I know that he has to move up to pre school; it’s inevitable and of course beneficial and it would be weird if he didn’t and remained in toddlers until he was 12. I get that. He needs to learn new skills and of course prepare for school and deep down I’m so excited for him, I’m sure I am, deep down somewhere, so I’m not in any way saying I don’t think it should happen … I’m just not ready to pop our little bubble of ‘everything’s fine’.
Well 2 years and 9 months came and Jasper started his settling in journey. He had short visits with his toddler ladies, then short visits alone. He then spent a morning there, then an afternoon and this week, he had his first proper day. Before he started his sessions I just thought it would be like any of his other transitions and to him it probably has been but to me, in a selfish way, it’s been blady awful. This is purely down to me of course; the nursery, the ladies, even Jasper has made this whole thing as smooth as possible but I’m just having a mum-style wobbly and I can’t shake it.
This is it. Now that he’s at pre school he’s officially on the descent to school. His next transition will be school. The next time that he settles in, that he says goodbye, that we bring thank you cards and presents (on the to do list) will be when he starts school. I feel my heart rate rising as I type this and I’m aware of how completely pathetic that is but oh my goodness it’s like a swift slap in the face, it’s a stinging realisation that my baby won’t be a baby anymore. He’ll be at school every day. There will be no more play groups and midweek play dates. Our weeks wont centre around fun things for Jasper but around school runs. Weekends will become crammed with what we would have done in the week and no longer will I be able to take him in later because we’re having a lazy morning or take him out for the day because we have something fun planned. I can’t switch his hours or days to suit me; I won’t get a one to one handover every day to find out how he’s eaten, who he’s played with and what he’s learnt. I won’t get to sneak in the door whilst he’s playing with his friends, waiting for him notice me and run up for a cuddle. I’ll have to wait with the other parents, in the playground, for him to finish and tell me about his day.
I’m having so many regrets and must-do’s. I already wish I’d filled our non-nursery days with more fun activities. I’m already feeling the guilt for the lazy days that I know we needed and are completely okay to have. I’m already making a mental to-do list of things I want to do with Jasper before he starts – fun days out, trips away and weekly ‘Mummy – Jasper dates’ which he’s already declined on the first attempt!
Of course I’m not forgetting Jenson; I know it’ll be wonderful to have time with him as I did with Jasper when he was my only baby during the week but I’m just going to miss him so much. I know everyone says that it’s amazing; to get everything done, to be able to work every day, go to the gym, playdates and playgroups with just one baby but I manage fine just now. I’m happy working two days a week and most evenings after bedtime. I love taking both boys everywhere and I’m not fussed by my lack of hair and nail appointments.
I guess what I’m asking is … can we make school a two day thing? haha
Well this became a deeper rant than intended; I only planned to write about his transition, how he cried a little and told me he didn’t want to go and that he wanted to stay at nursery. How he wanted to go and see the ‘nursery ladies’ and tell them about his day at pre school. How, despite them having to hold his clinging arms away from me while I ducked out of the room consumed by guilt, he actually had a wonderful first day and greeted me with huge smiles whilst sat eating his 2nd helping of supper and then went on to show me their pet guinea pigs.
So there it is I guess. Jasper has transitioned to pre school; it’s done. It was no easier or harder for him than any other transition, I guess because he’s just become both more aware and more understanding each time. I however am consumed by all the emotions and just want to enjoy the soon to be normality of pre school before the time comes for school applications, graduation and the big first day!
Please say I’m not the only muma worrying about school when my child isn’t even three yet? Did anyone else find the toddler to preschool transition the hardest because it actually symbolises so much more than what it really is?
Thanks for reading mumas … and dads if there are any of you on here,