Oh the irony.
Reflecting back 4 years, to when my little bundle was about 6 months old, I began the process of looking for childcare for when I returned to work.
Choosing a childminder was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. How do you even begin to find the right person to look after your child? The right person, who you have never met? The right person to cuddle them if they cry; take them to fun places; make them feel safe and to help them develop?
The right person to capture those milestone moments, before I do?
The saying goes, that when you are looking for a new house, you know instantly or within a few short seconds, if it’s the right house for you.
Well, this is exactly how I felt when I entered the home of our would be childminder.
So child centred, it was set up beautifully. As I sat down at the tiny table and crouched onto the tiny child sized seat, my heart simply knew that this was were I was going to leave my little boy.
The way she first picked him up to say, Hello. I just knew.
Harley loved going to Debi’s. As he got older he would talk so very fondly of Debi, her family and her dog. And he still does now.
Debi made me feel safe. As a new mum, I would often look to her for advice at pick up time.
We were so pleased with how well Harley had settled in and progressed in Debi’s care, that we were over the moon when we managed to get Lola in as well.
Now the irony is this….
Saying goodbye to my beautiful children, as I dropped them off to go to work was the hardest thing.
However, many of you will know that I have started a new career that allows me to work from home. We didn’t need childcare anymore. We didn’t need Debi anymore. And saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.
I honestly worried that my children would be missing out not being with her. Even though they were now with their Mummy everyday! I was often told how ridiculous that was but it’s taken me a while to believe that I could offer them just as much opportunity.
It’s amazing being with them all the time. I get to enjoy every little part of them.
I know they miss her.
Only last week when we were dropping off Harley at Pre-School, Lola saw Debi and ran up to her, arms outstretched for a cuddle. It made my heart melt.
A good childminder is absolutely paramount to the early stages of a child’s life. And I will be eternally grateful for the love that Debi has shown both of my children. Her home was their second home.
Inevitably, saying goodbye was a tough day.
I thought long and hard about a gift that would encapsulate my indebted thanks.
So we made The Childminder’s Survival Kit:
A box full of items, each cunningly labelled to show our appreciation:
A Candle – for when the kids get on your wick
Home Door Stop – for all of the love and happiness you have given us
Tissues – to wipe away the tears
Wicker Heart – Just because you’re lovely
Hand Wash – because hands down, you’re the best childminder
Cup – for when yours is overflowing
Batteries – because without you, things don’t work
Spatula – because you’re flipping great
Coffee – to keep you awake during the long days
Paracetamol – when all else fails, take 2 and find a quiet corner
Googly Eyes – because you need eyes in the back of your head
Flower Bulbs – because you helped us to grow
Plasters – because you make everything alright
Scissors – because you’re a cut above the rest
Marbles – for when you lose yours
Giant Chalks – to add a bit of colour to your day
Playdough – because you helped to shape me
So Debi, if you’re reading this… thank you, doesn’t seem enough. You looked after my children amazingly. When I found it so hard to leave them, I knew they were in the best of hands. You have set up your home to be a welcoming, stimulating environment. When my little 1 year old clapped his hands as we pulled up to your drive every morning, I knew we would be eternally thankful.
4 years later, we say goodbye. I know we will stay in touch. I hope so.
If any new parents are coming up to the time when they have to leave their child in nursery or with a childminder, you will ‘just know’ if it’s the right one. And as much as your heart is aching that you have had to hand them over, there’s no doubt that they will be having a whale of a time. It makes Hometime, all the more special.