YoungestGirl had been to nursery before. But she had taken the summer off, and today, she started properly at her new nursery, which is based at EldestGirl’s school. Where EldestGirl is largely self-contained, YoungestGirl is – ahem – expressive with her emotions. She cried every day we took her to her old nursery (and then had a grand old time whilst she was there). She cried at her settling in sessions at her new nursery.
We prepared ourselves for her tears.
And we were pleasantly surprised. This morning, she trotted into her new classroom, looking a bit apprehensive, but no visible wobbly chin. When we picked her up this afternoon, she’d had a lovely day and hadn’t cried at all. Result! So we thought. My moment of smugness was fleeting.
Three steps out of nursery, the following conversation ensued.
YoungestGirl: I don’t want to go home. I stay and play.
Me: We have to go home now, sweetie. Nursery is closing. We can come back tomorrow.
YoungestGirl: No. I not go home. I stay here and play. I NOT GO HOME.
Me: (embarrassedly to other parents) Always a lovely boost to your self-esteem when they’d rather stay at nursery, ha ha ha.
YoungestGirl: (loudly) I never go home, never never never. You go. I SEE YOU NEVER. SEE YOU NEVER.
She crossed her arms, stuck out her lower lip and refused to take another step. TheBloke (TM) was unfortunately too far ahead with EldestGirl by this point for me to get his attention, and had taken the buggy with him, as we thought YoungestGirl would rather walk.
She would not rather walk. She stood stock still in the middle of the pavement, in everyone’s way, shouting loudly, “See you never! See you never. BYE BYE SEE YOU NEVER.” Other parents gave me looks. I knew the look well, because I have carefully practised that look myself for other parents whose children are misbehaving.
After bribing (“I have a lovely treat at home for you!”), persuading (“such a big girl like you should be able to walk nicely!”) and finally threatening (“If you don’t start walking right now, I’m going to pick you up and carry you like a baby”), I did for once follow through with my threat and pick her up and carry her across the road.
She – predictably – screamed and – less predictably – tried to bite me.
Ladies and gentlemen, on YoungestGirl’s first day at nursery, I was that parent. I was carrying a horizontal, screaming, biting toddler, whilst everyone else judged silently. I suspect at least three people thought I might be abducting her, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the safeguarding leads at the school receive worrying reports about me tomorrow morning.
Worst of all, it wasn’t even because she missed us so much, it was because she didn’t want to come home.
I think I might write that parenting manual any day now.