Anxious times as a ‘nursery parent’
There are a number of perks that come with having a wife that works in your son’s school, many of which I fail to appreciate.
I realised this when my wife fell ill this week, and I was suddenly thrown head-first into picking up and dropping Jack off at nursery.
During my brief stint being the drop-off parent, I have learned a number of things. I’m now much more familiar with where Jack’s peg is. I’ve also inadvertently become acquainted with a number of his friends and their parents.
By the way, having “it’s just my dad” as an introduction to strangers is a pretty bizarre and humbling experience, but not what I wanted to cover today. I digress.
I may have mentioned how taciturn and mute Jack can be after nursery. Well, not having my wife at the school – getting the “inside scoop” on his daily activities – makes me realise how easily disconnected I can become from what my child does.
This became painfully apparent on our way home from nursery, when Jack couldn’t remember what he’d been fed for lunch or for his afterschool club snack.
What was significant about this was that I’d made Jack’s lunchbox and so, initially at least, I was a bit insulted that it had been so unmemorable.
However, it was what followed that worried me more. Jack proceeded to absent-mindedly state that he had “forgotten to eat” his lunchbox today. As far as I was concerned, therefore, he’d had nothing to eat all day.
After several minutes of anxious questioning and worry that my son had been left to starve, Jack finally revealed that he had been given a school dinner instead.
This raised two questions. Firstly, how had Jack managed to forget about his lunchbox? Secondly, why hadn’t any of the staff mentioned he had been given a school dinner instead? Were they too busy? Was it because it was deemed information that could wait until my wife was back in work?
In the end though, it hammered home how little I actually learn from Jack about his nursery. Most of my information comes from my wife.
Apart from making me feel quite lucky about my ‘privileged’ position, I’ve also told myself that I’ll ask a lot more questions next time I go to pick him up, and stop relying on Jack’s inconsistent and often inaccurate relaying of events. As this week has proved, knowing so little makes me anxious.