Officially

Should I put the good news first? Yes! Sylvia stood up today for the first time. She looked totally delighted with herself and she was standing next to Jason for a good few seconds.

Now the moaning:

Sylvia and Rose are going to London’s shabbiest nursery so we can afford to eat over the next year. When Rose starts school maybe Sylvia can come back to our local nursery and we will be able to do the drop-offs on foot once again.

I tried asking for a discount, I even cried (not deliberately, mother, I’m not an actor), but no way. They have families with young children queueing up at the doors of all the crappy nurseries round here and they don’t have any reason to lower their prices. Same goes for childminders, their prices are about the same as nurseries, and you have to take your holidays at the same time as them.

I know we chose to have two children and mustn’t complain etc but I do find it a bit strange that school is free from around age 4 but before that you’re expected to pay for a private education or leave your job to do the childcare yourself (unpaid of course). Before strange Tina, the pre-school worker, left our current nursery she had a little ‘chat’ with Sylvia (you know how people say things to babies that you are supposed to answer, like how old are you, what’s your name etc) about how Sylvia was going to start at nursery soon and then ‘mummy will have lots of free time’. Obviously Tina was thick as custard but it begs the question what do childcare workers think of parents? Do some of them, like Tina, really imagine that when parents drop the children off they go straight to the spa for a day reading magazines and having their feet nibbled by fish? It’s a bit like Rose who thinks that all her nursery teachers actually live at nursery.

Perhaps the childcare workers who are themselves parents have the best insight into all the mixed feelings and guilt that are part of being a working parent. The majority of staff at Rose’s nursery up til now have been in their teens and early twenties, and although very good with the children and very caring don’t really have a clue. You can tell that they are humming a pop song in their head while chatting to you about your kid.

So there you are, starting Sylvia on a settle at her second nursery in a week tomorrow. We have to give a month’s notice for Rose, which I’m absolutely dreading as I think she will be really upset about leaving. She can keep in touch with some of the children though and might even enjoy the new place more as there is more scope to run about and be physically active which suits her. Rationalising! Actually feeling guilty! Feeling very guilty!

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