I hope you're having a very relaxed evening, feet up, tv, a book maybe? I'm sat on the edge of my little sofa, listening to my two little terrors over their monitors. One is singing "Spongebob Squarepants" at the top of her lungs, the other is crying/whinging, trying to put his over-tiredness to bed, literally. Our little man has had one big day and he obviously does not want it to end.
Today was very emotional for me as a mum, for two reasons. One I am emotional anyway but two, it was Ben's last day at his wonderful nursery... and at the end of the day, as he held my hand and walked towards the door, he turned and waved. It was like a scene from a film and as I looked up with tears in my eyes, 3 remarkable ladies waved back at him with tears in their eyes.
In early 2012 I was fortunate to land an amazing job, which enabled me to still do what I love and visit the environments I love, with the added benefit of being "9-5". The job came along in the February when Ben was only 5 months old. I felt he was very young to be going into nursery as we waited until Elle was 2 before placing her with a childminder, but after considering all the pros and cons, we decided he would go. So I took the job and worked 3 days a week. After a few weeks, I noticed little things did not feel right with the nursery. Ben was always hungry when I picked him up, he was always dirty (to extremes) and always had a very full wet and or dirty nappy. I started to get concerned and we raised our concerns with the manager. Everything was great until the following week when I collected him and he was sat outside in the cold with no socks on. He shivered and cried for at least an hour when I got him home. I was mortified. We made the decision that night that he was not going back. Of course then we had the dilemma of either finding him a new placement or me leaving my job.
We are blessed with wonderful parents who helped out for a few weeks whilst we saw various childminders. In the end, we went to visit another local nursery, Andy Pandy's. I instantly liked it. As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted by the most wonderful woman. Such a kind, smiling face, I literally wanted to just hug her there and then. The nursery was made out of an end terrace house and you could tell there had been a great many happy children walking around over the years, the place just oozed happiness.
This wonderful lady, Roz, explained to me that because they were a small nursery, there might not be a place for Ben straight away. They currently had no children under the age of 14 months and there would be no staff member to be his key worker. She did however mention that she had just interviewed a young girl who had just qualified and she was going to consider taking her on, just for Ben. A week later we got a call and we were thrilled. The new girl, Naz, would be starting and Andy Pandy's would happily take Ben into its care.
Naturally, we were very cautious to begin with. Leaving your child who you have carried in your womb, the little being that you loved from the second you "just knew" you were pregnant, smothered with love, cuddled from the day it was born and watched fall asleep every night, is so terribly difficult. But we soon had our nursery demons put far behind us as Ben thrived in his new atmosphere and with Naz especially.
Today, was Ben's last day at Andy Pandy's. (I'm welling up just thinking about it). I sent Ben in with a "Thank You" card and a huge chocolate cake this morning, kissed him on the head and wished him the best day of his little life so far. Roz told me she was planning a little teddy bears picnic for him and all of his friends. During the day I kept wondering how he was getting on, if he knew it was to be his last day. Then the moment I was dreading... the pick up and the good-bye's.
I rang the doorbell, from inside, "Clare, it's Benji's mum". Roz answered, I handed her an orchid for them to pop in the kitchen to remember little Benji Gould and she gave me the hug that I had envisaged over 12 months before. Ben came running to me and after him all of his little friends. He kissed and hugged them all. Naz stood quiet for a few minutes, I think, trying to compose herself. She then gave me Ben's development folder with all of his developmental milestone dates. The most beautiful thing was, in this folder, Naz had been taking photos of Ben over that last 12 months, doing the most wonderful little things. She'd made a scrap book. Then at the back were the pictures of today. Pictures of Ben's last day. Pictures of him with his crown on, sitting with his friends, laughing, smiling and loving every second of his last day. I was speechless (I was also crying)...
The abundance of time and love those ladies gave to our little boy, can not be described in words. I feel it only in my heart and it just amazes me. I feel so blessed to have known them and will make sure that Ben sees his wonderful scrap book when he grows up.
I am so thankful for so many things in my life, I can not begin to list them and every little life moment makes me more and more thankful. There truly are amazing people in this world and I know that my life will be fuller for knowing them.
And I am truly overwhelmed that Ben, at such a young age, has had such an impact on those ladies. I'm very proud and happy to call him my little boy.
Thank you Andy Pandy's. Thank you Roz, Liz, Clare and especially Naz.
I promise we'll pop in now and again.
I love you