You may remember how just over a month ago I was upset at the thought of losing my little guy to pre-school for 12.5 hours a week and I wrote a tongue in cheek post about childcare to make light of it all. Well, here we are in the first week of February and I thought I would give you an update on how we are all coping with the changes and how the start of pre-school has affected us both…
The Start of Pre-School
I am happy to report back that even though the routine is killing me (more on that in a minute) but he is loving pre-school and making new friends. I have been told that he is a right little chatterbox and is enjoying being around the older children as they match his speech levels… I cannot think where he gets his talking skills from! He has taken it upon himself to help at every snack break too. He is supposed to sit at the table with the other children but he insists on going into the kitchen and being handed the bowls and cups to give out to the waiting children. He now sees this as his little job! I have had a great review about him and we have even discussed upping his hours because on several occasions he hasn’t wanted to come home.
Jake’s first day at pre-school in September 2016
The only issues we have encountered are him being difficult to go to bed at times or waking in a sweat after a couple of hours which we are putting down to the stimulation he is now getting and the fact his brain is finding it hard to switch off. Luckily, his new bedtime music is helping him to calm and settle in the run up to bedtime and I’m sure he will soon develop the ability to leave pre-school at the door… I hope. The other issue is the demanding behaviour which seems to have come out of the blue. I am pretty sure it also has a lot to do with being a three year old too, though! It seems that as soon as he comes home demands are being made every minute, build a train track x100, I want something (to eat) x infinity, play with me, help me with the toilet (he never asks on days where he hasn’t been at pre-school), go outside, get on the floor, watch fireman Sam… he just goes on and on and on. He just doesn’t seem to be happy with what he is doing and where a film would have previously kept him hooked he seems to have ants in his pants and wants to move onto the next activity partway through. Again, perhaps because of the way the day/morning is based at pre-school and how he now has structure – we’ve always played each day by ear and routine hasn’t really been in place…
Which nicely leads on to how routine is wearing me out!
Yes, I know a lot of you reading this have years of experience in school runs, packed lunches, filling out forms and actually remembering to pick your child up but for me, this has been a shock to the system. I thought it was only going to disrupt Jake’s life, I really didn’t think about myself in all of this. The first day back was a Wednesday and I had put Jake down for half a day. Now, he had been doing 9-12 on Friday’s since September to get him used to being there and this always meant no lunch. What I hadn’t realised was that half a day on any other day (they close at 12 on Friday’s which makes it an exception) is 12:30 pick up and I have to provide a packed lunch… I, of course, turned up with no lunch, bad Mummy moment on the first day!! I had to run to Tesco’s and pick up a few bits, return home to put it all together and then drive back to the pre-school to drop it off. Not a great start, eh?! Another problem is just trying to get Jake dressed. On some days it is such an issue that we end up running late. And why do they never want to eat their breakfast quickly or brush their teeth?! Any normal day he will wolf his food down but noooo, not on a day when we’ve gotta be out the door for something.
I have had to remember how to be prepared and organised – something I used to be amazing at when I worked but having been a stay-at-home Mum for three years now my brain has practically turned to mush! I need to make sure he has a change of clothes, several pants just in case, wellies, outdoor gear and lunch on 2 days. Plus get out of the door at the right time. Now, why does this vary each day eh?! The traffic is now my bugbear. The pre-school is just a 5-minute drive up the road but we have had icy days, road works, huge queues at traffic lights for no reason and of course the people who feel that driving under 20mph is the best way to go. I have taken over 15 minutes on some days because every possible problem has occurred yet last Friday I was 10 minutes early because I did it in the 5 minutes it should take. I can’t seem to win!
Don’t Forget To Pick Him Up!!
And then there is the bit where I am meant to pick him up… And not forget! Monday’s are pretty good because he goes until 3pm which means I don’t tend to get caught up in anything but Wednesday’s are my off days. I just seem to let time slip away and I become engrossed in something (usually writing) and suddenly realise that I cannot Jenson Button it there in 3 minutes! Next step to work on – don’t forget the child! It has taken me this whole month to adjust to waking up, getting up, getting us both sorted and out of the house by a certain time, I have been shattered. I’ve had it too good, haven’t I?!
To add to our week I thought it would be a good idea to also enrol him in gymnastics on a Tuesday. Just one more place for me to remember to get to on time. However, he loves it and I really enjoy going around the circuits with him and watching him progress each week. After 2 weeks of doing it, the instructors were even encouraging me to move him up to the next group where he will go in without me and will have to listen to their instructions! I am so proud but there is a little piece of me that is disappointed that this will probably soon be another activity that I won’t get to participate in with him. He has grown so quickly all of a sudden and is now such an independent, bright and clearly athletic little man. This is the point where he needs to be without me to flourish in some situations and I need to learn to stand back and let him do this.
My previous upset of missing him has unexpectedly dispersed and instead, I am excited to hear how his day has been and am so proud each time I am told something by the staff members. One of the areas that have helped is the strange coincidence of the freelance writing opportunity cropping up just at the right time. This means that I can spend the whole day on a Monday in the office writing and working, I can run errands or write on a Wednesday and I still have my Friday for my workout classes. The time flies by and I’m not alone for long. We then have all day Thursday’s to do anything we want which makes the day seem much more special.
Just don’t mention school just yet! I’m not sure I could cope with that routine just yet.
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