The last time I looked Beanie Boy was my cute little three year old with a heart as big as his smile but in the last couple of months since he potty trained himself he has grown up another three years I swear it! He is now “too big for baby forks” (and by that I mean forks with characters on, not actual baby forks), he puts on and zips up his coat by himself, puts his shoes on and gets my coat and shoes ready to leave the house. He even spreads his own butter and jam on his toast or sandwiches (his choice not mine). This morning he got himself dressed and only needed help with a couple of his buttons and whilst I was making myself a cup of tea, I turned around to see him sitting in my seat spoon-feeding Jelly Bean his chopped up banana. I joked to him that next he would be cooking the tea and driving himself and Little Bean to school so he wouldn’t need me anymore. At that point my gorgeous little three year old reappeared as he embraced me a great big hug and said “yes I will, I will always need you Mummy”.
Tomorrow marks the start of Beanie Boy’s next stage at preschool as he will be staying there for the whole day, three days a week thanks to the five free sessions he receives from the government. I shall pay for one further one to make his time up to three full days. Up until now he has only been attending for two half days a week and in the run up to Christmas he stayed for his lunch too. He is so excited at the prospect of it as he tells me “it’s because I’m a big boy now”. I have mixed feelings about this time, on the one hand I know that he needs it as there is only so much stimulation I can provide for him at home and he needs the interaction with other children and adults. But on the other hand I shall miss him very much, he is such good company and a pleasure to spend time with. We love doing arts and crafts together, he never stops talking and we have great fun when we go out and about together and I have tried to provide a little bit of learning but as he is a late September baby I don’t want to do too much with him as he will be bored by the time he gets to school if I do his ABC’s with him now (he won’t start school until September 2016). He has already been showing interest as a result of Little Bean starting school. He knows his left from his right and can recognise most colours, although he does get confused with red and green. He can count from one to ten and sometimes to fifteen.
Being a stay at home Mum, I never really gave much thought to sending any of my children to preschool, I just assumed they would stay at home until they started school but there comes a time when you know that it’s the right thing for them to do. It really helps to build their confidence and independence, it prepares them for school and the changes they will face there. Personally I am so grateful that Beanie Boy has now reached the age for his free sessions from the Government as there is no way that I could have afforded for him to do those extra hours and that would have been a shame for him as he would be the one missing out. I overheard a conversation recently between two Mum’s at soft play where one Mum was complaining about how she as a ‘working Mum’ was “paying for the lazy stay-at-home Mums” to send their children to preschool. Apparently as stay-at-home Mums it is our job to educate our child or pay for someone else to do it. I could have knocked her block off there and then for being so narrow-minded. Doesn’t she see that the free sessions are to benefit the child and not the parent? Why lump every stay-at-home parent into the same box? Every child deserves to be treated equally regardless of their background and parenting. Being a stay-at-home parent is different from family to family, some do it because they have to, some because they want to and for every parent that does stimulate their child in the best way possible, there is also a parent who does nothing but sit their child in front of the TV for the day. But then again, the same could be said for the working parents. What do you think, should the children of stay-at-home parents be entitled to free childcare too or should that only be reserved for the working parents?