2001 – starting playgroup and a break for mum
At 2½, my son started playgroup. The transition was remarkably easy. Unlike many of the other children there, my son did not cling to me or cry his eyes out as I left. I felt quite pleased that he had the emotional resilience to withstand such a change but also a bit sad that he didn’t seem to need me. Not so much as a glance backwards as he went in for his first session. Of course, I reassured myself, I had prepared him well. He knew the building, he knew the staff and he had got used to a similar structure at the twos group. Playgroup on the whole was a good experience for him and me; I never felt any pressure for him to do things he was not ready to do and I did not receive any negative feedback or concerns about his development from the staff. Indeed he was now starting to get better at joining some words (albeit slowly) though I was becoming aware that in comparison to the other children he struggled to manipulate the toddler trikes and cars. At the time, I just assumed he ‘would get it’ when he was ready.
Nevertheless my son going to playgroup gave me a much needed break as I was now pregnant with my third child and for the last six months also working for a firm of solicitors. This meant that as soon as my husband came home from work at 7 pm, I would rush out to work and not return home until 11 at night. This I did three nights a week plus Saturdays. I actually quite enjoyed the work which entailed doing the legal and clerical aspects of conveyancing and we also enjoyed the second income. However, it was tiring going to work after working all day in the home and caring for my children and it became tougher when I became pregnant a few months into the job.
At the same time my son was becoming more of a handful going out and about. Taking my daughter to and from school was now an intense activity as my son refused to go in his pushchair, refused to hold hands with me and would fight against having the toddler reins put on him – he just wanted to run and if he didn’t get his way he would scream and/or wriggle and squiggle out of my hands. I was often a comical sight outside the school as I was always “that woman running after her boy”. It was a shame really for I could never enjoy just standing in the playground talking to other mums – I was always running after him or trying to control him and to many it looked like and it felt like that i was failing miserably. Of course, I reassured myself that this was the terrible twos that everybody talked about but it did feel to me that this was more than that.