Handing Your Child Over to Near Strangers at Nursery is Difficult Obviously

There is a roundabout near where we live that has become a point of reckoning for the Major. Turn right at the roundabout and the road leads to his grandparents’ home: land of love, nurture and malted milk biscuits. Go in the opposite direction and there lies his nursery.

The Major is now intuitive to the significance of this intersection and his tension can be felt wafting through from the backseat as we approach. And when the car noses ominously to the left the screaming begins, underscored by the clacking beat of the indicator signal.

The first time I dropped the Major at nursery he protested in the most ferocious terms, unleashing a meltdown of terrifying intensity. At least I was terrified. The nursery staff presumably are battle-hardened to these kinds of explosions and his classmates only looked up briefly from their Rice Krispies before balefully chowing back down.

Each grim little finger had to be prised off individually by the nursery staff until the lapels of my coat were as shredded as my nerves. As I drove off I was filled with an onerous sense of having abandoned my own child, but consoled myself that the process would naturally become less taxing for all. But after two and half years it hasn’t.

Every time I leave him and escape from his room I can hear his yelps bouncing around the nursery corridors like a haunted mental asylum. His nurses have hit upon a tactic of carrying him to the nearest window to watch me walk to my car. I haven’t yet fathomed the reasoning behind this except to confirm to the Major that I am indeed deserting him and to confirm to me that the Major is still crying.

We introduced a reward scheme which incentivised the Major not to cry in return for Kinder Eggs. But this promise didn’t work. In fact the sight of Major sort of physically suppressing his tears down under his rib cage in a pitiful quest for chocolate even more upsetting. The Kinder Eggs went off a few months ago so obviously I had to eat them all, the small pile of unopened prize capsules a depressing visual reminder of the failed ruse.

Perversely the easier days are when the Major wakes up truculently and refuses to work with us on any level, requiring actual contorting into his clothes. On these mornings it’s a relief to hand him over, like passing on a peculiarly uncooperative relay baton.

In fairness to Major the nursery doesn’t offer an enticing proposition. It’s full of sad-eyed dolls and ancient fusty teddies. The walls are plain and often when the nurses are late switching on the energy-saving lightbulbs it more resembles a medieval dungeon. It’s regularly understaffed meaning that I’ve often presented the Major to a solitary harassed carer in the midst of a Rice Krispie distribution nightmare.

State of the art
State of the art doll technology

The nursery is owned by a holding company based in the US. A Google query reveals a very healthy share price, a nod to the fact that the Major’s caregivers are being run for profit and perhaps investment in the nursery isn’t as forthcoming as we’d like. It’s a concern that has been corroborated by a few of the less discrete nurses. There are no market forces at work here, no means of exercising consumer choice. We are beholden to our postcode; my wife looked at an alternative nursery nearby that boasted something called a dedicated sleeping room for babies, which turned out to be a cupboard.

We have removed the Major from his nursery. We are extremely fortunate to be able to fund a nanny for two days a week and a sainted granny who can pick up most of the slack in the mean time. We just have to find a nanny now, the mostly likely source currently is one dangling from an umbrella on the East Wind. I’m aware that this is an obnoxiously middle-class problem to have, but a problem nevertheless. And at least we’re turning right at the moment.

Any good?

29 thoughts on “Handing Your Child Over to Near Strangers at Nursery is Difficult Obviously”

  1. Oh what a nightmare. We moved & had to take our boy away from his childminder & put him in the local nursery & he hated every second, it was torture. Thank Eff he likes school! #KCACOLS

  2. As if you don’t open the prize capsules when you have a kinder egg. What kind of monster are you? My child doesn’t even look back when she goes off with the childminder. I think she prefers it there. I don’t know how I’d deal with this kind of situation but I think you have done the right thing pulling him out. #KCACOLS

    1. I’ve had a lifetime of continual disappointment opening the prizes inside Kinder Eggs. Don’t judge me.

  3. nightmare. a cupboard. nice. we have been so fortunate with our sons nursery. the carers there really are fantastic. luckily for us, B has loved nursery from day one and got on so well there #KCACOLS

    1. Well done B! You are so fortunate to be in that situation. We’re now muddling through with a Granny/nanny combo.

  4. Luckily ours have both adored nursery – to the point they don’t look back when I drop them off and run away when I arrive to collect. In a weird way it would be nice if they had a meltdown – I might feel more appreciated!! #KCACOLS

    1. Perhaps that’s the way I should look at it too. The continual meltdowns are just an endorsement of our superior parenting skills!

  5. The Tubblet couldn’t get away from us fast enough when we dropped her off. We were the ones wanting the extra hug before saying goodbye!

    It’s so hard to know what to,do for the best. I hope you find a good nanny and that the combo of them and nanny confinues to do the job. Hopefully he’ll like school too.

    I,would have eaten the Kinder eggs too ;).

  6. I have had nannies and sent my children to nursery over the years,I have to say I think both were good for my children, it just depends on the nanny and the nursery. Good luck finding what is right for you #KCACOLS

  7. That sounds like a horrible time for all. Your description of the nursery makes it sound more like The Hospice by Robert Aickmann.

    All that talk of creepy dolls doesn’t convince me that if you were to go back the nursery it would even be there “oh the old nursery? No, that burned down years ago”.

    A lucky escape.


  8. Oh the poor thing, and poor you having to leave him, it must have been horrible. You sure did make the nursery sound…interesting… I hope you find your Mary Poppins soon and the little man will be much happier. Amen to turning right, who doesn’t love a malted milk. Thank you so much for linking at #KCACOLS. Hope you can come back again next Sunday xx

    1. We have found a Mary Poppins thanks! She didn’t even come in on the West Road, just from over the road.

  9. Luckily Mini R loves nursery and happily toddles off to play. However we did go through a period where he didn’t and the guilt you experience is awful so I totally feel for you. Glad to see you have found a nanny, hope he settles with her #KCACOLS

  10. This must’ve been really difficult – I was upset because my daughter cried when I picked her up on the first day – but I’d definitely prefer this to having to leave her sobbing. To be fair we’re lucky to have a great nursery nearby. I think you’ve done the right thing – hoping you find a good nanny soon! Love how you wrote this #KCACOLS

  11. What a nightmare, I totally feel your pain. We’re getting ready for starting nursery soon and it is a nerve-wracking feeling. The ‘don’t leave me’ tantrums fill me with dread! Hope you find a nanny solution to solve the situation 🙂 #KCACOLS

    1. Judging by the comments on here looks like most children are perfectly happy to be dropped off so I’m very hopeful for you.

  12. I remember the first time I left my eldest at nursery and he cried and pulled at my top and the nursery teacher had to whip him away. I was so upset. But after a few days he was fine and loved it. When the other 2 of my kids started nursery I din’t get upset when they cried as I knew like my eldest, they would too love in, and they did. #KCACOLS

  13. What a nightmare. At least he’ll never have to eat rice crispies in an old abandoned dungeon with the dolls looking down at him again. Keep muddling through – it’s what we all do best really! #KCACOLS


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