Monday, January 10, 2011


This year, my two year old daughter Fern enters the alternate universe that is known as... Preschool.

Image sourced here

I am trying hard not to panic about it.

Or show Fern that just driving past the Preschool has me in a tailspin.

I think it might be both a blessing and a curse that I have been able to stay at home with her full-time until now. I've been able to shower her with my undivided love and attention and mould her into the little girl she now is; if a swear word falls out of her mouth (it hasn't, but I know its only a matter of time) I know its MY fault, and not something she picked up in the sandpit.

She's had 12 months of not being sick, as well. Not even a sniffle last Winter! I'm sure that within 8 seconds of entering Preschool she will come down simultaneously with every flu-cough-gastro-vomity virus there is. It's part of Preschool initiation, I hear.

And then there's the financial savings; no school fees, and let's face it, shopping with a 2-year old ought to have a Post-graduate prerequisite, and Ive probably saved thousands in wearing old flour sacks rather than drag Fern around the boutiques shopping for dresses with me. (But Fern, SURI does it and seems to enjoy it?!)

So if I don't have to send my daughter to Preschool...... why would I?

Well, for all my efforts in shaping her into the 2nd Saint of Australia, my little girl seems to have a few little - well - faultipoos -  that I am hoping Preschool might assist to iron out. Like not sharing, for example. And bossing other kids around. And leaping on her brother with wilful abandon. And, although I'm only sending her one day a week, would it be unreasonable to expect them to toilet-train her, also? And teach her to eat something other than sushi and rice bubbles? And not to pull her hair-clips out? Or twist dreadlocks into her hair? Or throw her tin full of pencils all over the floor and stare at me dully when I ask her to pick them up?

hmm. Am I expecting too much? But its the other stuff that a Preschool can offer that's also swayed me into sending her, stuff I can't give her: the fact that she can play all day with other kids her own age. And do crafty activities and get dirty without her mother chasing her around with the vaccuum. She can watch and learn from other children and take direction from other adults. Best of all, she will gain some independence and hopefully discover new talents and skills that will lay the foundation for school and her future life.

And of course, there are the benefits for ME! A day-off, of course. Yes, I still have Elliott, but he is so deliciously cruisey that it's like having no child a lot of the time (he sleeps!!) and I am looking forward to our special Mummy-son day we've been denied until now. Maybe I'll be able to leave the house! Push a pram around the shops! Have a - gulp - coffee in a CAFE with a friend! Get the house cleaned up without a tornado in tow! Read a magazine! Sew! Close the door to the bathroom!

But best of all? The dodgy handmade mothers day cards and painted bits of paper and assorted handcrafted delights that are sure to make their way home. Isn't that what my double-doored fridge was born to behold? I'll eat that stuff up!!

But most of all, if I'm brutally honest I'm looking forward to getting a bit of headspace. My daughter takes up a lot of my thoughts, a lot of the time. Even when she's sleeping I'm cleaning up after her, planning our next activity or meal or whatever. It might be nice once a week to step back from all of that and take a deep breath. Besides, how can I miss her when she's always around?!

Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself?

Ok, so I sort of feel like I'm throwing my daughter into the proverbial lion's den. And the thought of actually signing her name into a book, turning around, getting into my car and driving away without her has me reaching for a paper bag.

What if she gets bashed up? Or feels lost or lonely? Or can't find her water bottle when she's thirsty? And how will she sleep on a horrible trampoline bed with 14 other kids around her?

But I'm trying to focus on the positives. And distract myself with organising essentials, like a personalised schoolbag (a must!), groovy labels (what? you thought I'd use a permanent texta?), and sewing an oilcloth lunch-pail (I have a pink plastic back-up just in case). I'll share all of these items with you later this week... because surely she'll be the coolest kid in school? And not feel as though her mother has abandoned her?!!?

Oh golly, I have 2 weeks to psyche myself into this. TIPS?!!?!


  1. This was me a year ago! As hard as it is (and I have a cling-on child), she'll get used to it quickly, as will you! I live for Thur/Fri when i have one easy child. Enjoy I say! I really think it does help you miss them a bit instead of getting frustrated with them from getting in each other's hair. I really look forward to the two days when I pick Josh up.

  2. I had to send my daughter to daycare for two weeks so that I could complete teaching rounds in 2009. I delayed it as long as possible and she went when she was 9 months and then did three weeks when she was 11 months. After that we kept her booked in for one day per week because she loved it so much. We started sending our second daughter as well, when she was about 9 or 10 months. She loves it too. I think it's often harder for the parent than the child. My daughter asks me every single day if it's daycare day, she loves it that much.
    It's great to have a day of sanity, being able to eat without having to give up half your meal, being able to sit and craft for a small while without interruption, even being able to clean up without turning around to see all of your work undone by a sweet little girl.

    One of the best things is when you go and pick them up, after you've actually had a chance to miss them. ....and yes, those lovely cards and pieces of artwork you also get are fantastic!

  3. I think everyone has a different experience. I sent my son a year ago to day care for two days a week. It lasted 9 weeks and I think in that time he went half the time - he got so sick! One thing after another and so many antibiotics. And as a result he didn't enjoy going too much and we pulled the pin. Now he starts kindy in a couple of weeks and I'm bracing myself for the same thing. I think he's more ready for it now as he's over 4 years, a little older and wiser.

    At the end of the day, as parents, we know that this separation has to occur at some point. If Fern is or isn't ready, you'll soon know! Best of luck! (And January is a better time to start - we started mid-flu season!)

  4. Oh Nicole this must be hell for you. I know how you were with dolls as a kid so I can only imagine your feelings on 'giving up' your living doll to other women for a day. Hell right!??!

    Not a mother myself I can't offer any opinion that would count, but if it's anything like leaving for work with a new kitten locked in a room all alone then my sympathies pile up en mass.

    At the end of the day here is what matters. You. and Fern. Also I remember you and Michelle going to pre school but for some reason I never did. Which must have meant you had fun, and that was in the 80s. These people know what they are doing, it's what they do for a living. She will be perfectly safe and happy and think of all the friends she'll make that she never would have had a chance to meet. Also, imagine sending her to kindy for full time school with other kids who know what to expect cause they went to day care, and she has no idea whats happening!

    Your doing the right thing, for both of you. Chin up soldier!!

    Can't wait to see you all this weekend, and to meet Elliott for the first time!! My nephew/god son!! BLISS!!! I don't know how many outdoor activities there are going to be though as it's still rain rain rain here in 'sunny' Brisbane.

  5. I can relate so much Nicole. We are about to head down that path soon. I tried Izzy in occasional care last year.. It was the wrong timing and the wrong place but I will be enrolling her in a new centre hopefully by mid year.

    At the end of the day, you know whats best for Fern (and the rest of the family) in your heart and all you can do is try these things and be kind to yourself through the process. All of the feelings you are having about it are totally normal...and Child Care will definately not harm little Fern (they dont get bashed up until Kindy!) - I am sure she will LOVE it! x

  6. Hey Nicole,

    Happy New Year! I'm just catching up on all the posts I've been missing :)

    I remember being really nervous about sending Noah for the very first time. I told him that he was to stay and play with the other kids and that I would take Sam home for a nap and then come back and get him. When we arrived to pick him up he took one look at me and said "No. No. Sammy's sleepy. Sammy needs a nap" and proceeded to throw himself on the floor and refuse to come home. It was like that for the first 6 months. Now he comes home without drama, but he still loves going, which is great.

    It is great time out, even with another baby, it gives you a chance to catch your breath.

  7. hello!! It's right up my alley!! You should book her into the best preschool on the coast. Little Miracles that is! ( I do work there so I could be a little bias).
    Good luck. it can be tough but I'm positive any tantrums when leaving soon are forgotten once mum is out of the picture and all the new toys and children distract her!!! I really do believe they perform for us!! Plus don't be afraid to ring 20 times a day!! We understand and want to put your mind at ease!!
    Love Emma xx


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