Thursday 27th June 1996: Ben's first day at "Ding Dong Bell School" (as he calls it). (This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you...) Here I am visualising him heartbroken, thinking I've deserted him... I primed him well and asked him where he was going today, then where I was going (shops!) (the easiest thing to say!). Then the fact I was coming to get him after lunch. Thus far, no-one's phoned to beg me to come and pick up an uncontrollable toddler who's trashing the place and bashing other kids...
Friday 28th June: He didn't want to be there this morning (his second Intro Session)... Wouldn't take his coat off. Wanted to "Go back to house".
Yet he enjoyed yesterday. Told me all about it. He's got a little peg for his coat. He ate all his dinner and pudding. He did drawing, watched Playdays, did something with a frog (?), had cereal ("pops") on something at lunch time, played with bricks and on the bikes and did gluing. I wish I was a fly on the wall able to see him enjoying himself (or not...)
Just think, 34 years ago it was me starting at that very same nursery... it seemed bigger then and it had outside toilets. We had to take our own biscuits and didn't get lunch (I don't think). I ran away one day. If the gates weren't locked, I bet he'd do the same. Not because he was unhappy, but because he suddenly decided he wanted to do something else and be independent. Just like me.
Wednesday 10th July: He still cries when I leave him at "school". None of the other tots cry. Apparently, he's fine 10 minutes later.
He tells me everything he's been doing - primarily what he had for pudding. "Pink... strawbreez..." (turned out to be trifle).
I get some time to myself (although Ben thinks I go "to shops" every time I drop him off at "Ding Dong Bell School". I always seem to end up getting him "a little something" (my words); this week it was a plastic "Bambi's daddy" (his words) and "baby penguin" (to go with "daddy penguin"). I had to put spots on their tummies so they had spotty tummies like the "Pegeez" at Harewood Bird Garden.
He's been helping me cook with his new Thomas apron. he's like the "Galloping Gourmet" in the speed he likes to do things and I find it quite exhausting, plus having to stop him dropping the whole lot on the floor. 'We' made a lemon meringue pie yesterday and he was very proud of his cooking. It had banana in it. I said, "Put the banana slices in the pastry shell, don't eat them" so he took out the one he'd put into his mouth and chewed a bit, and put it in with the other slices in the pie! (Not one to serve to guests!)
In just two weeks of "school", Ben's behaviour towards other children has vastly improved. He appears to be learning the art of playing with friends, as opposed to fighting for sole useage of everything.