By Renee Christel Rispin x

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

When 'Good' isn't good enough...#Nursery Gate x

Everything I do is just really my intuition, and every time I go against my intuition, it's a mistake. Even though I may sit down and analyze and intellectualize something on paper, if I go against my gut feeling, it's wrong.
Tamara Mellon

My gut feeling is something that has really come into its own since becoming a parent.  In the early days I dismissed certain inklings, only to go back and say "oh I wished I'd gone with my gut feeling" and I subsequently felt terrible about it.  

But in this instance, it involved Henry's nursery.  From the moment we saw it back in the summer of last year, I disliked it.  I disliked the windowless rooms, devoid of any natural light and the overpowering disinfectant smell that had no area of escape.  So why did I sign Henry up?  Well it was supposed to be a 'Good' nursery, it had great reviews from neighbours and it was in walking distance from home. So I put my feelings down to me just not wanting Henry to go to nursery and I signed him up for Winter.
My son the creative, just like Mummy x
From Little Monkeys first day at nursery I couldn't shake the feelings that something was right.  The lovely smiling staff that greeted us during our tour, were replaced with tired and moody looking carers.  No one seemed happy.  Babies and children looked miserable and equally the very young staff.  But again, I put it down to feelings that these people, were just not me.  What did they know about my son? & what made him happy or sad?

But it wasn't long after he started that the first mistake was made.  On picking up Henry one day (he was 7 months old) I was informed that he's had a great day and had enjoyed a piece of birthday cake during a party that afternoon.  I'm not talking fruit loaf here, this was fully iced, butter creamed birthday cake.  At 7 months old and in the very early stages of pureed weaning, they had given my son enough sugar to last him into his 1st birthday.

Now I know some parents give their babies cake and thats their choice, I'm not judging.  But I had clearly wrote in Henry's notes that he wasn't to have food high in sugar, only to drink water and no processed foods.  After numerous emails back and forth "no Henry didn't have cake" to "our apologies, he did" they promised it would happen again.  Unfortunately the food fight continued when Henry was given chocolate brioche for breakfast, in the end I put it down to stupidity.

Food aside, Henry was developing in a beautifully happy and boisterous little person.  Full of laughter, chat, clapping his hands and giggling away throughout the day.  But the baby I picked up from nursery was sad, sobbing inconsolably in the car until we got home and withdrawn.  Something wasn't right.  He was also filthy with food all over his cloths and his little cheeks were always red raw and sore.

The final straw was his 2nd to last day at this nursery.  On collecting Henry, there was a little boy hiding outside of the main room.  It struck me as odd that he was on his own and not being looked after.  But it was more odd that he had his head bowed and was looking incredibly sad.  Then suddenly one of the younger staff came out of the room (without seeing me) and said "I told you to get here".  & then pulled the poor little guy into the other room, just as she caught my eye and looked mortified.  It was awful, was Henry receiving the same level of 'care'?

The following day I called around all my local nurseries and thankfully there was an opening in a place next to my work.  It came highly recommended from friends and colleagues, I booked in to see it the same day.

It was incredible.  Natural light.  Fresh air.  Bright rooms.  Smiling staff (of different ages).  I loved it from the instant.  Parents were greeted by name and escorted in and out of building with a friendly smile and quick chat. It was literally like night and day comparing the two places.  I signed Henry up and he started the following day.

Henry is now in his 3rd week and he's like a new baby.  My funny and energetic son is back.  Don't get me wrong he still cries when he first arrives, but the boy I pick up, is the same boy I know and love at home.  I get full updates on his day, his food, his naps, his nappies and his development.  He brings home books, poems, songs and Wowchers (these fantastic notes that Daddy & I can fill in to share his new experiences).  He is also sleeping through the night at home.  It could be a coincidence, but I'm taking it as a success.

Looking back I wish my husband and I had viewed more nurseries early on.  The problem was we left it until he was around 5 months old and all the Excellent ones were filled up.  Lets just say, Liverpool watch out, I will be viewing every School in the South area :o) x 
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