Monday, September 20, 2010

Nursery: the hidden upside

Who knew there was an upside to nurseries? Certainly not me when I had to take Louis last Friday morning. It was always going to be tough, my first drop off after nearly a three-week break, and it was. Tearful, he clung, begging to be picked up for "one more cuddle", his plea of desperation for when the going gets really tough. Like at bedtime. It didn't help that his new "key worker" had a day off and there was another new face in the room. Somehow I managed to peel him off and make my escape, his "I want my mummy" refrain ringing in my ears for the rest of the day.

How could I do it? I couldn't stop thinking how wrong it felt for all that a) it's only two days a week, b) it's actually a very nice nursery and I know he's lucky to have a place there, and c) aren't they supposed to teach even toddlers useful skills such as socialising, etc, etc? And yes I'm assured he calms down once I have left, although he does spend the day asking after me. (And Daddy J, I'm sure.)

But then today it struck me. The upside. I don't have to worry that he prefers someone else. Not for us, the scene last week when a friend's toddler was cuddling her childminder when her mum was in the room. Or at playgroup today when one mum had to watch her two year old toddle off after the nanny he shares with another boy. Louis is mine, all mine! And I can stop worrying about the parade of new faces at nursery.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

La bella citta

Us urban mums are beset by guilt. There's the guilt that Louis can't scooter down the street because there's too much dog debris; the guilt his trips out involve the tube and the shops rather than his bike and some fields; the guilt that I need to drag him out in his buggy to get anywhere useful; and the guilt that our garden is the size of a postage stamp.

And yet. Day one back in the big smoke after a week luxuriating in the Italian hills with little but baa-ing sheep and partying grasshoppers for company and Louis couldn't be happier. It's not that he didn't enjoy la bella campagna - all that earth was perfect for his diggers - but he was genuinely thrilled to be back in London. What with buses, building sites, trains (including his own personal "toot" from a Bakerloo line driver), and taxis to look at I'm beginning to think city life with a child isn't too bad. It's certainly stimulating: there's always something different coming down the road, even if it is just yet another type of construction vehicle.

Maybe all those parents who claim they're moving out to the countryside for the sake of their kids actually have themselves in mind. Or am I just speaking as someone with a pre-school age child?