Changing nursery is proving an education

Changing nurserySO OUR SON CHANGED NURSERY TODAY. He spent the morning saying his goodbyes at the private day nursery where he’s spent the last two and a half years. Come the afternoon, he was getting used to the much bigger nursery attached to the primary school round the corner from our home.

It was a big fish-little fish kind of day. He got mobbed this morning, with girls and boys running to greet him at the door and crying out his name like he was some sort of rock star. Maybe they could see the chocolate cakes the Duchess and I were carrying but he seemed to be a popular lad. He was certainly one of the tallest, despite being only three and a bit.

I escorted him to his new nursery and, while he gamely ran around the much larger premises sampling its many mess-inducing treasures, he looked small and lost. The much larger – and taller – kid population was divided into comfortable pairs, trios and groups. They pretty much all ignored the new blonde kid. From rock star to nobody in the space of a few hours.

He didn’t want the Duchess and I to leave, whereas this morning he didn’t even notice us slip away. Apparently, there were a few tears as he grappled with the temporary confusion, alienation and loneliness of being the New Kid. When I collected him – myself a little confused about the right door, the process, the rules – he seemed okay but he wasn’t very talkative about how he’d spent the afternoon. When we got home, I couldn’t stop hugging him and I must have given him a week’s worth of treats. If he’s smart, he’ll play Lost Boy for a few weeks longer than will probably be the case.

The Duchess knows he’ll be fine once he starts properly next week but she’s currently feeling guilty that we’ve changed one of his major constants at such a young age. It doesn’t matter that he’d outgrown the private nursery – the managers there even agreed when we told them we were changing his nursery – or that the new place will challenge and develop him. Right now, he’s a little sad, anxious even, and we’ve purposefully caused it to happen.

I know he’d have to face it at some point – certainly in a few years when he starts primary school – and he’ll continue to see some of his friends but I’m not sure it does get any easier. I hated moving to the Big School aged 11 and I was surrounded by all of my friends. About 10 years ago, I moved offices within the same company and I still felt dazed and confused for weeks.

I guess we’ve all got to toughen up. In the meantime, we’re concentrating on practical matters: I’ve just complied with his request for a Batman lunch box (ignoring the fact he wouldn’t notice the Caped Crusader if he kapowed him in the face) and the Duchess is off this weekend to buy wellies and ‘skids’ for a nursery experience that promises to be messy long after the family emotions have all settled down.

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