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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Ava grows up

It's official. I don't have any little people in the house who could realistically be classed as babies. Ava, our youngest, started nursery on Monday morning, and with that small step, off she went on a journey that gradually takes them further and further away from you and closer and closer to independence. Looking at her, all innocent and unaware of what she was about to encounter, in her little, blue, nursery-branded sweatshirt, was enough to make me yell hysterically, 'Don't go!' grab her up into my arms and try to hold onto that umbilical link, just for a few days more. But no, just as my Dad always counselled me, it's our job as parents to teach our children how to manage without us. But Dad, why is that sometimes so very hard?
Monday morning I was due in the office early. We had a big day ahead of us including an important author presentation. Quite apart from trying to rein in my hero worship of the guy I needed to be sure I didn't fluff my part of the presentation and let down my colleagues. But the butterflies in my stomach were all about this little picture I had in my head of Ava in her blue sweatshirt wandering around the big, new nursery looking for her Mum and Dad and wondering why we'd left her with all these strange people. Thank God it was Paul who was going to have to handle the drop-off. I was simultaneously relieved, guilty about feeling relieved, and somewhat sad that the job wasn't mine this time. That's not just a paradox - that's, like, a three-dimensional paradox. Or something. No wonder my stomach was in knots.
Paul called me at 10.10am. He had arrived at the nursery with her at 10am and he was already leaving! She had launched herself in to the thick of it the minute they had arrived, trying out the activities at every table in the course of a few minutes and settling at the painting easel with a look of disbelief that someone could have laid out all this fun stuff and noone was stopping her from playing with it all. She had more or less ignored him when he had told her he was leaving. His voice sounded a bit wobbly.
'Oh, phew,' I said, 'I think.'
As I went into the presentation my butterflies had disappeared. Ava was going to be okay. The small matter of a major author's happiness would be peanuts.

P.S. Do not allow this post to full you with sentimentality and sympathy for poor little Ava. Both her brother and sister are this week sporting bruises over their eyes after 'combative encounters' with their 'cute baby sister'. If I wasn't already certain she was growing up fast that should be physical evidence enough!

1 comment:

Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

It's difficult to know whether to be happy or sad when they run off and play immediately. I was in shock when Rosemary was quite happy to be left alone at her first taster session.

(By the way, just wanted to say thank you, as you're largely responsible for my becoming a parent blogger. I've been reading your blog for a couple of years, now.)