Let's talk nurseries...
So it's come to that time.. the dreaded return to work. I have happily been in denial that it's even happening at all but recently I have come crashing back to reality with a bang.
It all started when I finally pulled my finger out and decided to go and look at nurseries. I had blindly assured myself where Callum would go without actually seeing it, and then when I visited it I just wasn't convinced it was the right choice for him. Was it nice, yes? Are the staff good, of course? Are the facilities suitable... Now that right there is a tricky question when it comes to Callum!
As you know if you follow me on social media our cheeky little boy has a form of dwarfism called Achondroplasia. So his arms and legs are not in proportion to his body and his development is slightly lagging behind.
Callum doesn't walk and he doesn't sit independently. He also has what's called a kyphosis which is a curvature of the lower spine, so he needs to have the appropriate support. He does however shuffle backwards in a worm type motion and this is how he explores his surroundings, but he can only do this on carpet. I can only assume that hard floors are too slippy for him to push on.
And so that became my first observation when looking at nurseries. Just how much of the floor is carpeted, as I really want Callum to be somewhere that he can independently and safely explore. And this is also where we got stuck. In the first nursery I visited I didn't leave feeling he would have the independence I desired and so it was back to the drawing board and I began googling where else to look.
Soon after I saw two other nurseries which where pretty similar to be fair and only 50p difference in price, but one (the more expensive of course) seemed to place more emphasis on encouraging learning and development and when we were there the staff were all fully engaged with the children which was wonderful to see. I went back and forth in my head trying to decide what to do yet not wanting to commit to such a big decision, but with time ticking I had to be brave and choose.
My expensive taste won, as per, and my decision was made. I filled out the forms and embarked on our first settling in session which I anxiously anticipated hoping the decision I had made was good. But I immediately felt at ease when we met Callum's key worker and after meer seconds of saying hello he was already handing out the smiles .. he's such a flirt!
We settled down on the floor in the baby room to discuss Callum's needs and let him play, and whilst I explained about his condition and what he can and cannot do there was an elephant in the room that only I knew about.. the high chairs! I had spotted them when we came to view the nursery and knew they wouldn't be suitable so I raised this whilst I was there and asked if I could try one with him to see what could done. I tried popping a cushion behind him to add support but still he flopped to one side, and sadly I knew we would need a different chair for him.
As the session ended I left feeling happy as a whole. The nursery was lovely and his key worker was really nice, but yet I was anxious and stressed out about what to do next with the dreaded chair situation.
All night I searched for an alternative. A floor seat that would provide the best support for his back whilst allowing him to eat with his peers and nothing seems to exist! I was tearing my hair out!
In the morning I had a few other issues to sort and in my frustration I decided to ring my health visitor for advice and for a referral to an occupational therapist. I couldn't see the obvious through the cloud of stress surrounding me and she suggested speaking to the nursery manager to air my concerns and come back to her for further help with funding or anything else. Why didn't I think of that huh!! (Sorry Tina)
Whilst I didn't speak to the manager I did speak to the lady in charge that day who was very helpful and understanding and really put my mind at ease. She said that she will get the nursery manager to call me next week and will contact their SENCO to organise a suitable chair for Callum to use. I immediately relaxed again.
I had felt fine that Callum can only lie on the floor to play but I hadn't even considered that something as basic as a high chair might not be suitable - which is crazy as when we bought one for our home I was going out of my mind to ensure it was right.
When it comes to nursery it's so important to me that Callum isn't singled out from an early age. I know that babies don't judge and don't understand but I want him to grow and develop with his peers, and not simply alongside them. I want him to eat with them not away from them or above them. Right there with them at floor level as a member of the group and that is what I am striving to achieve.
I hope my dreams for Callum will be achieved and this is my first mountain to climb.
There is alot going on this week for us so my mind is pretty frantic. Not only is it my last week off but we have two more settling in sessions at nursery, and Callum's first MRI which we are not looking forward to. So to be frank my head is well and truly up my own *** right now haha!
As it currently stands though I am happy with my choice of nursery so far and I feel we will be well supported there. I can only hope that I am right and I will keep you updated as 'chair gate' continues.