Today our youngest son, Tom, had his final day at the nursery where he has been going every day since he was 9 months old. After a week’s holiday for half term next week he’ll be starting at a brand new nursery to get him ready for starting school in September.
It is not a move Karen and I have undertaken lightly. It is not a move we make with glad hearts or any sense of victory. But it is a necessary move.
Some of you will remember Tom was going off the rails a bit earlier a year. I don’t mean to go through all that again here. Suffice to say we came within a gnat’s hair of changing his nursery back then but the owner of the nursery (who’d recently retired from the day to day running of the place, handing the reins to a newly appointed manageress) stepped back up the plate and promised us the commitment we both wanted to hear to deal with Tom’s “overly-confident” behaviour. Things improved. But then began to slip again a few weeks ago. The new manageress has her own ethos and way of doing things which, as far as Tom is concerned, just exacerbates the problem.
I must point out here that Tom is perfectly controllable at home and elsewhere. It’s just the combination of this particular nursery environment and he lead to explosions. Though Karen and I feel it is the manageress’s approach more than the nursery that cause the problem: we’ve come to the conclusion that the manageress loves problems that can lead her to acquiring extra funding... And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.
The care workers are all very sad. So I suspect are Tom’s friends. And so will Tom be when the reality of the move sinks in. ‘Cos here’s the thing. Everybody loves Tom. His naughtiness accounts for only about 5% of his behaviour – if that.
But we can’t leave him somewhere where they seem unable to curb his ebullience. He needs to be socialized ready for school in September. So it was a case of move him now or do nothing at all and see the situation slide yet again until the manageress is calling in “experts” and “specialists” – all of which has been well and truly poo-poohed by our family doctor who told us quite stridently that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Tom other than he’s ready for school right now and is probably bored witless. The manageress actually looked disappointed with this diagnosis. It was at that point really that Karen and I decided that we didn’t want her anywhere near our child.
So Tom will have a trial at the new nursery next week. Thankfully he is excited by it. It is a smaller nursery which Karen and I think will help and they have a superb sensory chill-out room where the kids can go when they need space. All of which we think will really help Tom. And, as callous as it sounds, we also think a little period of being unsettled might help him too; a period of being the new boy. We’re hoping it will stimulate a little empathy within the maelstrom of his emotional development.
It’s going to be a difficult time. And then in September further upheaval as he starts school. Sadly he didn’t get into the school his older brother goes to (Ben himself will leave in July and start at secondary school) so that too will all be new.
This is Tom’s journey. Already it is not the journey that Karen and I had planned out for him but at the end of the day he’s a kid not an Air-fix kit. His journey is organic and constantly improvised and we his parents spend our days running hard to keep up in order to kick as many of the rocks away from beneath his feet as we can before he stumbles on them.
He’s about to realize it’s a much bigger world out there than he’d ever imagined.
But I think his imagination is big enough to cope with it. Let’s hope so.