When Leticia was 21 months old, we decided to send her to daycare. We had been home a couple of months and living in a new village where a new creche and after school was opening up. I was 6 months pregnant and Berto was working. It seemed like the perfect plan for a very outgoing toddler and a pregnant momma who needed a little rest before baby number two came along.
From the moment she started noticing people, Leticia was super sociable. When we lived in China, there would be crowds of people gathered around to swoon over her as a baby and she lapped up all the attention. In elevators, she would babble and smile at complete strangers. She even took a delivery man’s hand and waved goodbye to us at our apartment in Kuwait when she was just over a year old.
The thing was, until September 2017, she had very little contact with other kids. I had brought her to a few toddler mornings at a daycare centre in Kuwait but most of the time, no kids turned up and Leticia would be left playing alone (which didn’t bother her either). Sending her to creche was something we felt we needed to do so that she could get that social interaction in. After all she was about to gain a baby sister so social interaction was kind of a necessity.
I called the number for the creche and was told about an opening week which we eagerly went to. The evening we went, Leticia fell in love with the place. She was amazed with all the toys and had already made a couple of little friends.
Being the protective mammy that I am, I tried to find problems with the place. I asked all the questions my baby brain could think of and was brought on a tour by Laura, the owner, who couldn’t have been more accommodating or welcoming. Honestly, the place was perfect and the staff we met that evening were lovely.
We signed Leticia up.
Her first day of “school” rolled around quickly after that. Really, it was the following week, if I remember correctly. In true Irish style, her grandparents, her aunt, great aunt and second cousin came down to wave her off to school. I was an emotional wreck. Having been on the teaching side of the “first day of school”, I knew that if she were to cry, I needed to just leave and she’d be fine after a couple of minutes. That is not the way it was going to pan out in my head though. I had already decided that if I saw a single tear, I’d be walking back out that door with my little girl in my arms preaching that she (I) wasn’t yet ready.
There were tears and I did walk out the door almost as soon as I had walked in … Daughter-less. She literally walked straight to her room the minute we opened the front door and didn’t even kiss or wave me goodbye. My tears were the only tears falling that morning as I realised my baby was growing up.
This creche soon became invaluable to us. Mainly me. Being new to the village, we didn’t know anyone apart from family. We were always welcomed with smiles and chats on drop offs and pick ups with Leticia. It was so refreshing. They were so good to Leticia and she was having the time of her life. She was coming home everyday with new vocabulary and trying her best to sing the new songs she was learning. We had really made the best decision.
It was after I had Reagan that I began to love this place even more. Leticia had a little Christmas concert when Reagan was just two weeks old and of course, I wasn’t going to miss my baby’s first concert. The moment I was seen, the staff all came over to congratulate us and to see Reagan. It was just so sweet. They were genuinely excited to meet Leticia’s little sister.
Then that maternal/post Natal/motherhood/ shitty loneliness hit me. Being at home most of the day with very little adult interaction was not doing me any favours at all. The highlight of my everyday was dropping Leticia to creche and picking her back up; because I missed her little chats at home but also because I was getting my daily dose of adult chats from the staff there. I often spent a good thirty minutes or more there just chatting to Leticia’s teachers. Never once did they make me feel unwanted or like I was being a burden. I needed those chats and friendly faces so much and they obliged.
I’m not sure the staff know how much they helped from the very first day Leticia entered the grounds of Bright Beginnings Oylegate. I am so protective of my girls. The list of people I trust to look after them is minuscule. I wholeheartedly trusted them. They helped my PND brain to realise that I was not the only one capable of looking after my daughter and that people were not trying to take her away from me. I legit thought everyone wanted to kidnap her at one point; down to her own dad. That is how messed up my thoughts were thanks to PND.
The genuine care for Leticia was second to none. Any time she ever ran a fever, I was called. Any incidents, we were informed of (there really weren’t many). And if we had any concerns or guidelines for Leticia’s, they were listened to and followed without question or hesitation.
We couldn’t have asked for a better child care for Leticias. We truly couldn’t have.
The Cherry on top was the scrap book I was presented with on her last day there. It came to Kuwait with us and I will cherish it forever.
I wasn’t able to pick Leticia up on her last day at Bright Beginnings. I sent Berto. Goodbyes are tough. Saying goodbye to the amazing staff who not only cared for our daughter like she was their own, but who also befriended me and made feel human on days that I didn’t want to leave my room, never mind the house, that was heart breaking. I cried driving out of the carpark most of Leticia’s last week there. Finding a place like that again will be next to impossible, unless they go global … Just an idea.
So to all of you at Bright Beginnings, Laura, Christina, Sharon, Diane, Julie, Ciaran, Lauren, Camilla and anyone else I’m forgetting, thank you so so much. You have helped my little family in more ways than you could ever imagine. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. I will forever sing your praises.
PS. Think about going global. First stop, Kuwait.