I packed and repacked Oscar’s bag this morning; two changes of clothes, his sippy cup, a small pot of sudocrem, a sun cap and his favourite teddy, ‘Scarlet Bear’.
I was only leaving him for an hour. I’ve left him for runs lasting longer than an hour, and there was that time when I traveled down to Wales for the weekend to take part in a marathon last month.
But all of those times he stayed with my husband. Oscar’s Daddy, who has the same values as me and who has the same investment in the small little person we both could no longer imagine our lives without.
This time was different. Today was the first time I left Oscar at nursery, with strangers I would currently barely recognise in the street.
It wasn’t like he was going in for a full day or anything and he’s actually been in to the nursery twice before. Once, months ago when we went to have a look round during the initial hunt for a childcare place on my return to work. And once on Monday, where I stayed by his side for the duration, interacting with both Oscar and the surrounding toys whilst filling out the paperwork required for his start.
Oscar has stayed with both sets of Grandparents briefly before. Each set has had him for one evening over the past few months, with varying levels of success. Oscar ate whilst we left him, he slept, he cried. Both times he was doing just fine when Dan and I returned home from our evening out, and (to my knowledge) the Grandparents had followed our routine and instructions, their sole focus for the time he was there on the smallest and newest member of their family. He wasn’t one of three small people of toddling age who they had to divide their attention between.
I know that I am not the only person ever to put their child in a nursery setting, and I definitely won’t be the only person left feeling like this. I know that it is only seven working weeks until I leave my job, and that I am incredibly lucky that from the end of July I will be able to spend my days bringing Oscar up and sharing the world with him. But at the same time, seven weeks feels like the longest time.
So much can change in seven weeks. This week alone for the first time Oscar has chewed his toes, rolled over, waved, said “Dadda” and gotten his very first tooth. I would like for his first solo steps and first crawl to be when I am around to witness and it pains me that I possibly won’t be.
So, next week as Oscar heads in for his final two taster mornings I will plaster on my brave face. I’ll dress Oscar in his dark green, teeny, tiny uniform and give him a kiss as I leave him at the door. I will be wishing with all my heart for him to enjoy his morning at nursery, but at the same time secretly hope that he is also missing me and that he is also counting down the days until the Summer arrives.
58 days and counting…