Thursday, 14 January 2010

Chalk and cheese

Son number two started a new nursery this week, which is attached the the primary school his brother attends and which he will go to in September. The good things about this are that he really needed a change of scene after being at his old nursery since he was two and the school nursery is amazing. The bad things about this are that the school nursery only provides two and a half hours care between 1-3:30pm, as opposed to the five hours care between 9am - 2pm that his old nursery gave.

This has caused untold problems on the domestic front as not only do we now have four school runs to interfere with the babies' daytime nap and feeding routine, we also have a four-year-old as well as 11 month-old twins to entertain and feed every morning. Tomorrow is my first day to experience this joy as Fridays are my mummy day, and I must say I am facing the prospect with some trepidation, as with snow still thick on the ground three me and my tiny tots are pretty much housebound. Still I have plenty of housework to keep me entertained, so I just hope they find watching me struggle with the washing just as diverting.

But the really noteworthy aspect of my little boys' new start is his reaction to the change in circumstances and childcare. He rocked into the nursery on his first day as if he'd been going since birth. As I dropped him off he turned away with a nonchalant 'Bye mum', and looked a bit surprised when I told him I couldn't go as I had to stay and settle him in. 'OK' he said and ran off to play in the sand without a backwards glance.

I sat in the parents room devouring my book and appreciating the peace and quiet as he played away happily. He was a bit miffed when we told him he had to leave early as new starters have shorter days. Thanks to the snow and the schools decision to close at the drop of a flake of it, we didn't return until the next week when I had to leave him for the whole session on his own. His teachers looked dubious, but as I predicted he had a ball.

The next day I took him in and on the way we bumped into one of his new best pals, they ran off together down the slope to nursery as if they'd been mates for years (no mean feat when you are only four). Already he has cast aside his old friends and has a brand new gang around him in an instant. I fear for future girlfriends if he can move on so fast without a backwards glance.

Still it is lovely to see him settle so fast after spending my oldest sons' entire nursery career prising his clutching hands off my coat and turning away with the sound of his sobs of 'Mummy don't leave me, I want to stay with you', ringing after me. Even today when I dropped him off at his classroom I had to rip my coat out of his hands and run off in order to get him to sit down with the rest of his class on the carpet.

Son number one has had untold dramas with his friends, who perhaps predictably are all little girls. There was his best girlfriend who upped and moved out of London, leaving my poor baby emotionally scarred, then there was his nursery bride who ended up going to another school. When they met again at a soft play area a few months into reception it was as if Romeo and Juliet had suddenly been brought back to life in the happily ever after version of the play.

When he started school their were spats over who was best friends with who, and who could join the coveted clique, some days he was in, some days he was out with all the attendant ecstasy and agony. Thankfully for the moment things seem pretty settled, but I am sure it's only a matter of time until we hit another rocky patch.

Son number two on the other hand went seamlessly from one group of boisterous boys to the next, hardly seeming to notice the new names and faces. Perhaps its the benefit of being a proper boy whose concerns run only so far as football and the best way to cause the maximum amount of destruction in the shortest period of time. He is not a deep human being, as long as his basic needs for television and chocolate biscuits are fulfilled he's pretty happy. Not for him the existential angst that plagues his poor big brother, who was already having sleepless nights over the concept of death at the age of three.

It's funny how different our children turn out and a strong argument in favour of the nature, as opposed to nurture, when it comes to what determines their personalities. But does that mean that I can just give up and lie idly on the sofa as nothing I do as a mummy will affect the outcome anyway?

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