Routine development

I’m writing this on the train, on my way to London. Can’t quite believe it’s Wednesday already. One of the effects of working compacted hours is that time goes faster than it did before, if that’s possible. I spend Tuesday catching up with work, planning social media and links for the week and remembering what I’m supposed to be doing, then the rest of the week is a blur of work tasks. I’ve been told several times in the last few weeks how tired I must be, what a hard choice it is but the truth is, I really like it. Even after a couple of months, it’s already hard to envisage what it’s like to work five days a week. Sunday nights I go to bed so thankful that I’ve got another day away from work and with E.

So to update you, S starts a new full time job in two weeks time. It’s for a small family run business he’s been volunteering at and is in a field that he’s been trying to get into for a while so good news all round. By the time we’ve taken the increased childcare and transport into account we might break even but much more important is S’s happiness and satisfaction at work. And of course nursery is very pleased. S cynically said they would be pleased to get more money off us but it was me that called them to inform them of increased hours and she sounded genuinely pleased to have E with them. You want people to sound enthusiastic about looking after your children, don’t you? It’s not just a business transaction.

Anyway, I dropped E off there this morning and the main carer said how glad she was to have E more often and then she said one of those things that preys on your mind. I know she meant it in a nice way. She said “it’ll be better for her, being here more often.” Now I know what she was referring to was E’s recent upset at being left, she’s been reacting to us having a week’s holiday and it disrupted her routine. She’s been better the last couple of times but it took a few weeks. And the thing is, I know she’ll benefit from being there, she’ll spend more time with other children, make friends, learn to socialise. I’m very happy with her care. But I also think that she’s been lucky to have had this time with her dad, much more time together than many other children get. And I know that she’s benefited as much from spending time with us, being read to, being taken to parks, feeding ducks, meeting deer and horses and dogs and spotting birds, building blocks and going to the library as much as she will benefit from going to nursery more.

She’s done a lot more development the last couple of weeks. They say you don’t notice as much when you see them every day but I’m not sure that’s true. She’s getting more confident about tottering about on her own, especially in the last two days, she’s getting another tooth, she’s been talking more (still can’t understand her but I know there’s a definite meaning). She notices so much. Outside, she will spot stones to pick up, ladybirds or bees on plants, birds up in the sky. We’re also debating if she’s going to be a left hander. I don’t know how it works itself out but she reaches for a lot of things with her left hand, and does more with the left than the right. She does use the right too so it’s hard to tell but I’ve got it in my head that she’s a lefty. We’ll see.

So it’s another period of change for us. I keep thinking, after each alteration, that we’ll have a settled period that we can adjust to and then something else comes along. No one tells you that these early years feel like a hunkering down, getting through the weeks kind of thing. Is it always like this? Is it just like this because we’ve been juggling job changes and worries about money? It would be great to go a few months in the same routine – I think perhaps we all need that for a bit.

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