Column: Nursery days are over for Eilidh ... and dad David

editorial image

For eight years now we’ve been dropping our children off at nursery. Originally it was just one of them, then for a while two, then one again.

But for eight wonderful years we’ve been dumping them at 8am, sprinting for the door and then reluctantly collecting them again ten hours later. But these glory days are nearing their end.

I’m not totally sure how we will survive without the team at the nursery. At first we provided a list of rules, routines and preferences that we insisted the nursery knew about our children. Gradually (well, within about two weeks actually) these fell be the wayside and the nursery took over the running of our children. “Amateurs,” they would subtly tell us, “this is how you look after a child.”

Much better than we ever could, the nursery instilled manners, respect, teamwork, confidence and grew our little horrors into beautiful, caring and happy individuals. 
They achieved this while encouraging activities that are effectively banned in my house - painting with feet, spraying shaving foam all over tables and cooking pineapples over open flames in the garden. Actual real life fire. With 30 kids.

More than anything though the team at our nursery, Wellside, accepted and loved Eilidh for who she is.

They showed compassion when we were lost in the early days and guided us through all the additional meetings with physiotherapists, educational psychologists and various other care workers. They supported and encouraged Eilidh to be everything she could be.

I know they will genuinely miss her as much as she will miss them. Every day she bursts into the nursery with a huge smile which is testament to the kind of environment and love that she feels in their care.

The nursery took every opportunity to promote Down’s Syndrome awareness. Every child that passed through the nursery in that time, and their parents, leave a bit more educated about Down’s Syndrome, hopefully more positive and accepting.

But school time is nearly upon us and we need to let go of the past and leave the place where we know Eilidh is safe and protected from the realities of the outside world. No doubt she will take it all in her stride but for me I can’t help wishing I could keep her wrapped up in cotton wool forever.

“Get a grip dad, I’m a big girl now” I’m sure she would love to tell me.

Onwards and upwards then, our next adventure awaits.