The day I was most dreading lumbered into full view and cast a vile shadow over our world: the day dad drops off his boy and leaves him with strangers. A nursery is an illogical but wholly necessary place. Illogical in that we work to make enough money to pay someone else to look after our son, necessary because nursery fees do not wipe out all our earnings, and the money we take home is vital to living.
As it turned out, Theo is only in nursery for a day and a half, with me looking after him one day and Willy the rest of the week – we believe this is the best balance between home and the wide world.
Theo had a couple of sessions at the nursery before starting proper, and he didn’t like it much when he was left there without mum and dad. Therefore on his first real day there, me and Willy agreed that we would both drop him off, to shoulder the guilt. Theo cried and although momentarily distracted by toast, cried a river when we left the room. The next few drop offs were just me and he cried each time; learning that the stairs to the nursery were the clue to where we were and the cue to start getting upset. Although my words were there to calm him down, the fact that they choked me before coming out said to him I was upset too. Whether he fed off my unease I don’t know, but it is said that children pick up on these feelings. As much as I tried to be calm, my heart always pounded in my chest.