A New Chapter.. Starting Nursery

Today, (Thursday 6th August) my little boy started nursery. I say little boy, because he is just that now - a little boy. He's shown so much independence lately, he's shown masses of confidence and he's also shown us that he's reached an age where actually, he's okay to sometimes be without us. 

I don't try and hide the fact that I suffer with anxiety surrounding many things. Whilst I mostly appear confident in social situations, I in fact suffer with social anxiety. I don't like big crowds, I don't like being without Adam - the person I've grown up with and spend everyday with. I'm clingy, I always have been. My Mum tells me how she couldn't leave me as a child and when she did I apparently would always scream. Adam and I have tried really hard not to let Ethan be like I was, whilst I couldn't be happier with my life, I do think it's important to not let anxiety take hold of you, I think it's important to feel confident socially. We want for Ethan, what all parents want for their children, for him to make friends easily and for him to always be full of confidence and independence.

We've always encouraged him as best we can by taking him to groups such as swimming and playgroup. We've also been persistent in taking him around to his Grandmas and Grandpops every Thursday, where he stays overnight and then most of the day Friday. In the beginning, he would cry as we tried to leave after we'd dropped him off, despite the fact that he always had a fantastic time with his Grandparents and though we knew that the crying only actually lasted a few minutes, it would often really upset me. In the end I stopped taking him as I found it too hard to leave him whilst he was crying and so Adam took over the drop offs. Around six months ago, Adam told me that Ethan had started waving him off with a huge smile on his face, when he would drop him off. I felt so relieved. It was never about not wanting to be with his Grandparents, who he's always loved very much, I think that it was just the shock of us not being there. I always think that it was about separating that invisible umbilical cord.. something that in reality Ethan actually found much easier to do than I did.  

In the last few months, Ethan's changed so much. He doesn't have any young children friends outside of any groups, but wherever we go, even if it's just into town, he'll seek out any children and will approach them full of confidence - he wants to play with them, to join in, to be 'part of the gang'. Where once, he'd cling to my leg and shrug himself away if someone approached him, he now has no fear and is just so much happier for it. He's honestly just full of this complete and utter confidence - he's growing up and becoming so much more independent. Given the choice, it's not us he wants to play in the park with anymore, it's other children and he's fine going about doing that all by himself. 

We're so very fortunate in that we've never had to use a nursery or childcare for work related reasons. I always said I didn't want to put Ethan into nursery until he could talk, I thought that I didn't want to put him into a nursery until he was at least three. But a while ago, he started showing us signs that he wanted more than just the groups, more than just the activities we do at home. He seemed to want other children to be around and to play with. We started looking around at a few nurseries around six months ago, but we were cautious that we were expecting and we didn't want Ethan to feel pushed out. We sort of left the whole idea, but then recently I started to again feel from Ethan that he wanted and needed more than his usual routine, he so desperately seemed to want children his age to play with. We went back to visit the nursery that had been our favourite and literally as soon as we walked through the door, Ethan was off. With no ounce of hesitation, he went straight over to the other children, walked straight up to the front of where they were hula-hooping with a member of staff, picked up a hula hoop and joined straight in, with not a care in the world. He didn't even try and follow us when we went inside for around half an hour, out of his sight, to talk to a staff member. I knew then that this was not only the right thing for him, but also that it was the right nursery. 

Today, just a week later, Ethan has gone for his first settling-in session, he's there now as I'm sat typing this. It's just a three hour session today rather than the normal five and a half hours, twice a week that he will be doing. Before we left, we stayed with him for an hour whilst we filled in paperwork, but when it came to saying goodbye, my heart had started to feel quite heavy. I was worried that he'd get upset, despite the fact that he'd been running around playing with two little boys that he seemed to instantly make friends with. His key worker suggested that it was best to say goodbye rather than to simply disappear and so nervously I approached him to tell him that we were leaving. I needn't have been so nervous though, because when I explained to him that we were going, he literally turned around and simply waved goodbye. 

It's a hard feeling to describe how I felt as we left - I don't quite know how to put it into words. There's was excitement, because I really do know that this is the right thing for Ethan, I know how much he'll grow and excel with two morning sessions a week at a nursery, I know that it will benefit him so much and not just now, but in the future too. I truly believe that what we do with our children from day one impacts and shapes the person they go on to become when they're older, so in that sense I'm so excited and pleased for him. But then there's the clingy Mum inside of me, that cried when she left, because she doesn't quite understand how her baby grew up so quickly. Although I couldn't be prouder of Ethans new found independence and confidence, I do, somewhat selfishly, miss my little baby sometimes. I think it's hard for any parent to learn to let go more and more as their children grow older, but I think that for me, being as clingy of a person that I've always been, it's even harder. I'm a follower of my heart, I use my feelings and emotions when decision making and though right now I feel quite overwhelmed with this new, more grown up chapter of Ethans life, my instincts are all there shouting at me telling me that this is going to be not only great fun for Ethan but that it'll also really help to set him up for the future, to improve his speech, his confidence, his ability to be his  own unique little person. My baby, will always be my baby, but my baby also needs for us to allow him to grow up. 



  1. Lovely post! I hope he has a fab first day! Darcie went to nursery from 7 months old - and whilst that's not really what I ever wanted, she was never ever fazed by it all. In fact in the holidays (like now) she asks to go to nursery (charming!). I really think its important for them to experience nursery, and it really sets them up for school.

    Kay xxx

  2. Oh bless you! It's hard letting them go isn't it.
    My eldest daughter started nursery at 6 months, luckily it was the same nursery I had a job in so she was with me. When I left for maternity leave I put her in a nursery in the village I moved to {that I live in now} as I felt it really helped her with speech, confidence and socializing with other children. Was the best thing I did! She only went once a week, was a bit of a break for me too tho!
    Both my girls started pplay school at 2 and a half! Best thing I ever did! THey love it!

  3. My daughter was the exact same! I was so upset the first day when she simply went into the arms of a member of staff and was not fazed by me leaving. I felt somewhat angry at myself as I naively thought I wasn't good enough. But now 4 months down the line she loves going to nursery and she loves it when I come and pick her up. I think it's a win win! I hope Ethan loves his time at nursery xx

  4. Such a lovely post Alex! I hope that Ethan is having a wonderful first day at his new nursery - I can only imagine how bittersweet it must be to see him so independent. I think that it's so wonderful how much you've encouraged him to spend some time away from you, and clearly it has given him so much confidence! I too am very clingy and although I'm quite confident I do have issues with separation anxiety which I don't want to pass down to Zach! xx

  5. What a lovely post and so true.
    You are just like me. my hubby always says to me how I am a control freak that I don't like him going anywhere and all that. I got way better but it seems to be anxiety then. I just like doing everything together with him. I don't think it's a bad thing is it?

  6. I remember feeling the exact same way Alex. Well done to you and Ethan for such a big step. I am sure he will absolutely thrive there and you will love a bit of alone time with Logan. x

  7. Aww I hope he had a lovely time! I was so anxious on Indiana's first day of nursery but she absolutely loves it. She's been going since 8 months old and now runs in without even saying goodbye. Sometimes she even cries when we have to leave haha xx