This is a sponsored post, but it's also a little story...
When it came to children and putting them into some sort of organized care, I definitely got it all arse backwards. The first little traveller initially wasn't keen. I'd found a spot for her at a really cute little preschool two mornings a week when I was pregnant with my second little traveller. As we'd make our way from the car park to the colourfully decorated windows of the nursery she'd begin climbing up my leg. Making the most of my stretchy maternity wardrobe she'd shimmy up my body like a monkey up a tree.
And there she would cling. Feet wrapped around my waist, arms around my neck.
"No Mummy, Stay carry up. Stay carry up."
I believe stay carry up translated to leave me here and you won't sleep properly for a week.
I was suffering from the sort of morning sickness that weight loss centres dream of, and feeling all sorts of guilt about how this pregnancy was affecting the first traveller. She quickly caught on to my insecurities and played to them brilliantly. "I stay home and look after you." She'd become the master of stroking my back while I kneeled at the toilet bowl. Ahhhh, good times.
Things eventually got better. After a month or two we got into a routine. I'd pull up in the carpark, throw up in the same garbage bin just near the lifts, drop her at nursery, run a few errands and then go back to collect her. Naturally, the minute we got comfortable we found out we were moving.
Fast forward through a few more countries, a few more babies, and few more childcare drop offs, and we were in Qatar. I got the heads up from a friend about a fantastic nursery for Henry Hotdog but I was slightly anxious about our morning goodbyes. While the older three were at school the fourth little traveller had become my relocation assistant. We'd go shopping for furniture, make new friends at newcomers coffee mornings, and go on discovery drives around the city. He was easy. He was my buddy. Henry Hotdog was a child who was happy to sit in a chair surrounded by grown ups. He loved the attention, the treats, the pastries, and the hot chocolates. And to be honest with you, with school only just around the corner, I was hanging on to my last days of little people at home. And so was Henry.
On the drive to Starfish Lane, he would begin to question me like an obsessed boyfriend. Who was I meeting? Where was I going? I'd try and make my day sound as boring as possible.
"I think I'll go to the supermarket and shop for vegetables". I'd see his little frown in the rearview mirror. He didn't believe me.
Starfish Lane had the most beautifully bright and happy play area. Kimberly, the owner, somehow managed to bring a little bit of Manly, Sydney (her hometown) to Qatar. With lime greens and pinks against a white background it was like stepping into another world. I loved it, but Henry wasn't buying it.
"Isn't it pretty here?" I'd say as we entered the gates trying to change the conversation.
"I want to stay with you" he'd say as we'd make our way to his locker.
"But I'm just buying vegetables today, I'm not doing anything interesting. It'll be much more fun here."
"Yes you are. You're having coffee. I want to go with you."
"No I'm not, I'm just buying vegetables. And then I'm going to cook them and eat them. I'm going to eat lots of vegetables" I kept my voice at a monotone.
"I want to have coffee with the ladies" he'd say a little bit louder, while I died of embarrassment. Is that all he thought I did? Is that all the people at Starfish Lane thought I did? I'd attempt to kiss him goodbye.
"DON'T LEAVE ME HERE, I WANT TO HAVE COFFEE WITH THE LADIES".
Bang, we were now in crises mode. There were going to be tears, definitely his, possibly mine.
If I consoled him he could drag out our goodbye for a good hour. If I bolted he evidently recovered faster. You'd often see me doing that run/walk thing as I left the doors of Starfish Lane. I became the master of drop and run, which is just not the right way to do it.
Eventually we worked out a better way. G would drop Henry Hotdog at nursery as he drove past on his way to the office. Not once did the fourth little traveller complain. Not once. I became very clear on when I would come and collect him, "after you've had your lunch and a play" is much easier for a little person to understand than 2.00pm.
I read an article today that was written by Kimberly about separation anxiety, and it occurred to me that I had assisted greatly in Henry's nursery school ordeal. The truth was that I was quite happy to have him at home, and if he pushed hard enough I'd cave every time. I loved how he needed me, his tears were some sort of sick affirmation of our love. I couldn't see it at the time, but I can see it very clearly now.
I often get asked by people who are moving to Qatar if I would recommend a nursery, and I always recommend Starfish Lane. They now have 4 nurseries and are about to open their 5th. You can find them here. Their team is incredible and their facilities are the best I've seen.
So as far as sponsored posts go. Would I use them? Yes, I did, and I would again (not that we have plans). Would I recommend you to use them. Definitely! Here's a link to their website.
So, am I the only one? Anyone else struggle with preschool drop offs?