Today is a bitter sweet day for me. It’s my last baby’s first day in the forest. It’s a good reminder of how difficult settling in can be. Not for the children but for the parents.
I am so fortunate in that I am settling my daughter into a nursery that I created, that is a beautiful experience where children are free and happy, with incredible staff that for the most part I chose, know well and value. And still, this is a challenging day. I’ve longed for life to get easier with 3 children, whilst simultaneously wishing life never to change and for us to always enjoy the gorgeous experience and madness that life with 3 young children brings. Seeing my smiling and excited daughter, holding hands on one side with her adoring big brother and the other side with her new best friend, Sarah, one of our educators, walking off into the forest was a beautiful sight, but one too difficult for me to see in real life. I sent my far less teary husband to do the drop off and I’ve just poured over the photos.
We try very hard at Little Forest Folk to make the settling in process as easy for children and parents as we can. I’ve never been more grateful for this and proud of how well settling in is managed that over the past week. Indie, as all children do, had a couple of settling in sessions, which went really well, with her happily playing with the other children for her 3-hour sessions under the close, supportive and watchful eye of her settling-in educator, Sarah. She was more than ready to start her full days today.
I on the other hand am all a flutter. My poor staff have dealt admirably with my complete and utter neurotic nature. My emails (which as I write them I fully know are neurotic and ridiculous) detailing all of Indie’s likes, dislikes, her gorgeous attributes and her more challenging feisty habits have been responded to gracefully and with appreciation. My calls and text messages explaining that she hasn’t had a dirty nappy yet this morning and so will need her nappy checked soon have been responded to patiently and with understanding.
I have insider knowledge that as today is Indie’s first day in the forest that the team will spend the day not only sending me photos of her to allay my fears and show her having fun, but will also write up an observation on her first day in the forest, so I can read at home a bit more detail about how she has enjoyed her first day before going to collect her later. I will most likely click refresh on my Tapestry account 20 times today before the first day observation comes through, but I’m sure I’m not the only parent doing this ;)
My fantastic team know that today isn’t just a first day in the forest for Indie. It’s the first day for me as a mother to accept that Indie is now making her way towards being an independent little girl, still needing her Mum of course, but not needing me quite as much and all the time. And for someone who has been a Mum to needy little ones for the past 7 years, that’s as big a change for me as it is for my baby.
Leanna Barrett - Little Forest Folk Founder