I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Nursery or is there more to it?

Last Year I Wrote the following:
The thought that I need to push Ellie away to nursery into an environment that she is not ready for and doesn't need, seems wrong makes me feel….how does it make me feel……wrong

At that age, I’d rather she spend the time with people in her own family creating a connection and a bond to family rather than with a stranger who has no connection to me.

I’d rather she spend that time with someone who understands her needs and abilities and has the time and effort to allow her to develop at her own rate and I don’t think a nursery setting has the facilities or the capacity to enable that. The guidance used in a group setting of that many children of that age is not one I am comfortable with and I would hate to think that Ellie would have to compromise herself just to fit in. 

This nursery starting did not work out, she did not want to be there, she was not ready to settle and not be without me.  We decided to leave it for a while, which turned out to be almost another year.

A Year Later I am writing:
This is now our second attempt with introducing Ellie to nursery and whilst she seemingly has a great time when she is there, she now does not want me to leave the room and she now definitely does not want me to leave the building.  This has been a downward progression from the previous weeks, where I had managed to leave the building and sit in my car and then on another day leave the building and go home for an hour or so.
I have always tried to honour my children's needs and their wants as much as is possible in our day to day lives.   I let her know the night before we are going to nursery the next day and she says 'I don't want to go'  I let her know that I will not leave until she feels ready and is ok with me leaving she always says 'I will never want you to leave'.  The next morning, I gently encourage her to get there ( come on hurry up lets go we are going to be late!) and once there if she wants me in the room I stay and after a while if she is ok with me going to a different room, I leave.   I have to feed Maia in a different room (don't get me started) so often I say I am going to the staff room, she used to be non-plussed by this but recently she has not wanted me to go and wants to go with me.  Other times I have gone to an empty room and played alone with Maia.  At some point, I then let her know I am going to go home and will be back soon, I did this once last week.  This week she has been freaking out and pleading with me saying she doesn't want me to go.

Ellie is used to being able to choose what she wants to do at any given moment, I have watched her struggle with having to do what everyone else is doing but I have also watched her emphatically let them know that she does not want to do what they are suggesting. I have also watched her assert herself enough to be able to do it.   My worry  is that over time she will lose this ability to listen to herself. My other fear is of her being labelled disruptive.  I was once told by another mother that 'they all have to learn to conform eventually'. I may have visibly shuddered.

Ellie is used to being listened to and taken into regard with things and I don't believe that is fully possible in a group nursery setting. I have heard her repeating herself because they dont hear her and seen the confused expression on her face. She often repeats herself at home, but she is ALWAYS heard in the end. I have explained to her that she needs to be loud and clear when speaking to the teachers because they are so busy doing so many things, they might not hear. Often times, it is like they are just not expecting someone to voice an opinion

I have listened to the staff tell me that they want to build a bond with Ellie and they cant do that if I am there because she will always want to come to me..I have told them I am not prepared to leave the place if she is crying and becoming distressed.  Building that bond of trust can take a long time in some children.  Ellie took nearly two years to feel comfortable taking the hand of someone else in a group we go to twice a week.  Maia, well she was off playing with the stuff happy as larry....maybe because she had no conceivable idea that I would leave her...why would she?

I have listened to the staff say they are happy to have Ellie clinging to their leg for as long as it takes for her to feel secure. I am wondering when that became an ok way to be? If you knew your child was feeling so insecure and scared that they were literally clinging to a leg...wouldn't you want it to be yours?

I have listened to the staff offer to do something with her to entice her out of the staffroom, away from me and into the nursery setting, only to turn round, just when she was about to go with them, and say 'oh I can't I need to talk to these new parents having a look round'.  

I have listened to the staff say that pretty much EVERY child goes through this and if after 10-15minutes, they had not managed to calm them down, they would call me. I told them I would not let Ellie be in that state for more than 1 minute!  I cant help wonder how many children are crying their hearts out, feeling not listened to and have had yet another chink of trust broken off.  I also admit that one minute may have been an over-reaction on my part at the shock of hearing them say 15minutes later (of what hysterical freaking out or silent whimpering) and THEN they would call me.

I have listened to the staff tell me that every parent feels like this and I can't help wondering when we stopped listening to our instincts and felt we *had* to do this? I know some people need to, its a necessity,  but right now I don't need to.  Sure I would make the most of it and Maia would love the mummymaia time, but not at Ellie's expense.

I have listened to staff tell me that last year Ellie definitely wasn't ready for nursery but this year, they see a difference.  I have also heard staff say 'Ellie is not herself today' when she would not let me out of her sight. I have also heard Ellie say to me EVERY day I don't want to go to nursery AND I have heard another mother tell me their child did this twice.  She settled in once, then after the holidays needed to 'settle in' again.  What does this tell me?

I have listened to the staff tell me she will have to learn eventually because when she goes to school it will be harder for her and I can't help thinking that 1) I want to homeschool and  2) If I don't homeschool, she would be older still and more open to the separation and 3) she will learn eventually but I would rather it was in her own time and not being pushed by me.

Finally, I have listened to all of this, why is no-one listening to Ellie or me?

Meltdowns -  on the verge all morning
Losing the Plot - well its leaving me very emotional and stressed
Breastfeeding - away from other children incase g-d forbid a father walked in


  1. Sounds like nursery isnt the right place for your little Ellie!

  2. Either she isn't ready or she needs a different family friendly nursery. This is not the place for either of you and I don't know if I would trust the people in an environment like that with my child without me. She can probably feel that in you as well.

  3. This seems to be the plague of our society! Thank goodness you are listening to yourself! Your little one needs you and I don't believe these little people are designed to be away from us. I like you dont want or need my little individuals to "conform"! Go with that gut feeling you are doing a great job! I have 7 and have not always felt the way I do now, but am convinced that these children are supposed to be with us! My children have always been with me, and surprise surprise at a very young age are very sociable and very intelligent! They can even carry on adquet conversations with adults and don't have to be off with children there own ages. So much for "home schooled children not being able to socialize"LOL

  4. I really regret sending my children to nursery school. We start schooling children way, way too young in this country, and they are suffering as a result.

    We now home educate, and my four year old (who I stupidly sent to THREE different nurseries before realising that she was happiest at home and had been trying to tell me that for a very long time) will not be going to school in September.

    It can be hard to swim against the tide of what everyone else is doing with their children, but my kids are so HAPPY at home. They are much more confident people now. I have no regrets.