Can someone tell me where the last 3-and-a-bit years have gone please? Georgie started pre-school this month and she suddenly seems so grown up, insisting on wearing her little rucksack for the short walk from the car to hang it up her peg, and running ahead to see her friends.
We are settling into a comfortable routine and the kids both seem happy with the recent changes. First thing in the morning James gives the girls their breakfast while I round up their clothes, sort things out, and get myself dressed. I chase the children around with their clothes until they’re dressed, and do Georgie’s hair.
James drives past the playgroup in the mornings anyway so we decided it made sense for him to drop us off – if we walked every morning we would have to leave before James did. He drops the three of us off at the car park and we head in to wait with Georgie for the start of playgroup. Lydia and Georgie love this part of the day; once Georgie has hung up her bag and coat they both love to socialise with the other children and parents.
The doors open and Georgie heads in, usually accompanying one of her friends rather than bother about me and Lydia! She has learnt really quickly that the first thing to do each day is find her name and put it in the box to sign herself in, while I go to the desk to get her ticked off on the register. If Lydia hasn’t been strapped into the pushchair by this point I have to retrieve her from wherever she’s got to… I’m sure one of these days she is hoping I will just leave her there to have fun with her big sister!
The easy routine continues for the rest of the day; on Tuesdays and Thursdays I take Lydia along to stay and play or dance, and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we head home to play and read a lot of books. Homily often accompanies us on the mile long walk back to pick Georgie up, which means on a good week our chronically lazy Norwich Terrier is getting 6 miles of exercise.
Afternoons are quiet and relaxed, Lydia naps while Georgie plays with her “nap time toys” – Lego, playmobil, puzzles and so on. Sometimes she’ll be so tired she’ll ask to “rest in your bed, Mummy” and we head upstairs to lie down and read quietly, or she watches cartoons while I squeeze in a bit of work.
It’s amazing how quickly all this seems normal. Housework fits into the routine in places and I’m finding it easier to get things done with a more peaceful household during the day. There have been a few tough days where my old migraine problem has reared its ugly head and made things that much harder, but they are still miles better than they were pre-babies.
Georgie is really loving her pre-school playgroup. We struck lucky and found a group that consistently performs amazingly on their Ofsted inspections, and has been run by the same incredibly lovely lady for almost two decades. The staff are friendly, and Georgie is really thriving.
Every day she tells me what her favourite part of the morning was. Usually it is “playing with my best friend S” or “playing with the toys”. She comes home with tales about the dinosaurs they play with outside, and sings me the songs they sing at the end of their three hour session. It tires her out, especially with the mile walk home, and she is happy to have a quiet afternoon after her exciting morning.
Her very first day, she cried. It wasn’t when I dropped her off though, but when I came to pick her up. I had to explain to strangers all the way home that she was sobbing because she enjoyed playgroup so much and didn’t want to leave. Thankfully she got over being sad about leaving after a few days, secure in the knowledge that she’d be back again soon.
We are taking full advantage of our 15 hours allocation and she goes every morning. I think that she would be really disappointed if we’d decided to only do three days a week, because she is enjoying it so much. It is wonderful to see her finally settling into a routine, growing some roots, and making local friends – something that has been a struggle with us moving about far more than we ever intended, or wanted to. Now we have bought this place I am delighted to see that Georgie is so happy – months later and she is still telling us every week that she likes our new house! Now, she tells us that she likes school, too.
Now then, if someone could just tell me where my little baby has gone? I’m not sure I can quite fully comprehend this new toilet trained, pre-school attending, ponytail wearing, self assured little girl.