So today we went to see the nursery we want J-cub to go to, as it's just a couple of minutes away from my workplace, so he can be there for the minimum amount of time (I have a 30 minute commute, so if he went to somewhere near home, he'd be there for an extra hour). It was very nice, all the staff were welcoming and enthusiastic and qualified, and the children were happy. However, I came away feeling strange on two accounts.
Firstly, I don't want to go back to work. I don't want to have someone else raising my child, albeit for just one full day and one two-thirds of a day. I don't want to miss his milestones, or even to miss the day-to-day mundaneness which makes parenthood so constantly amazing. It makes me sad to think that in just over 2 months time, this year off will come to an end and I'll have to return to real life. We don't have a choice, we couldn't afford for one of us not to work at all, and even if we could, I couldn't give up my job (which I love) and make Jamie work full time at his job (which he hates). That would be desperately unfair. So instead, we've compromised by both going part time. I'll work Monday-Wednesday, with J-cub in nursery Monday and Tuesday, and at home with Jamie on Wednesdays and at home with me Thursday and Friday. We'll see how it goes anyway, both of our jobs are pretty flexible which is nice. Anyway, it's all self-pity and blah, I know I have to go, so I have to get on with it.
Secondly, I didn't realise our parenting style was so odd. We didn't have any particularly strong views about parenting before or even during my pregnancy. Since J-cub arrived though, we've been completely baby-led, taking his cues for feeding, sleeping, eating, routines, everything. This is known as Attachment Parenting, although we haven't been able to follow it in all areas, due to my inability to breastfeed (due to complications from the start, I mixed fed for 6 months, and haven't stopped beating myself up about it yet) and Jamie's inability to function on anything less than strong painkillers and antidepressants (which are big no-no's for co-sleeping).
Today though, you would have thought we were from another planet. The nursery had no knowledge of baby-led weaning, which isn't really surprising since even a lot of health professionals seem to be clueless. They were at least receptive to it, and happy for J-cub to have toddler meals, and not to spoon feed him or force him to eat. They seemed surprised he wore sleeping bags to sleep in, which I thought were much more common. My mention of baby-signing was met with blank stares - no comprehension of what I was talking about at all ("Did she say baby signing?"). Luckily, one of the staff in the baby room overheard and piped up that he'd learnt signing as part of an SEN course he'd done, and he seemed very keen to put it in action. Maybe we'll be lucky and he'll be J-cub's keyworker. We don't have a routine during the day and he just sleeps when he needs it - I guess we'll fight those battles when we come to them as they asked if he goes into the cot awake and I said no, and they looked worried.
Maybe I'm being unfair on them, maybe they didn't care. I just came away with the impression that they thought we were weird hippies. I think it's just that I don't see what we're doing as that unusual. Then again, I read blogs and forums by parents who are following the ideals of Attachment Parenting; I don't read blogs and forums by parents who are following Gina Ford routines. I suppose we'll just have to see how it goes. We left J-cub in the baby room while we went into the office, and he was absolutely fine.
At least it's done, and that's another weight off my mind. Nothing to stop me going back to work now though :(
And you can't have a photo of the nursery, because then you might track down J-cub and steal him (he is very cute, I wouldn't blame you). Instead, have a few pictures of our trip to the beach afterwards:
Me wearing J-cub in the Mei Tai
A crab in a lobster pot
J-cub walking over to check out the contents of a lobster pot
Day 10 - Mission complete.