Monday, February 04, 2008

End of an Era.

Last week for us was about beginnings : swim classes, tap classes, Grade-2. But in the midst of this we had to say good-bye to something which has been a big part of our lives for the last 5 years. Our crèche. Cherub is a big boy now. He's 4. He's going to 4-year-old kinder and he starts tomorrow.

Crèche was a wonderful experience for us. Ours is a parent-run co-operative, so the ethos was always about wonderful care and a great environment for children, never about profit.

I was a working part of the crèche community within 6 months of us starting there, because I had experience with accounting software and the Co-ordinator at the time was part-time and needed a hand. When she left, the new Co-ordinator was an excellent manager but barely knew how to turn a computer on, so I stayed on. I came in every fortnight (as a volunteer) and helped with banking and statements. I don't think I missed a fortnight, I even came in the week after I gave birth to Cherub which when I look back to his birth is a pretty fair effort. But that's the way with second babies, you're up and doing much faster.

Eventually they talked me into joining the committee to take on the newsletter and the fortnightly parent bulletins. I was in the office anyway, covering that stuff when required. I couldn't attend meetings due to my tap teaching but it didn't matter. My bulletins became a bit of a hit because by then I was a seasoned blogger and it was second nature to make them funny and chatty. Ridiculously and to my immense and not-so-secret pride, I got the loudest applause and even a cheer when the outgoing committee members were thanked at our last Christmas party. It's like that song from Singing in The Rain - make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh...

My kids loved crèche . They were well cared for by really fantastic staff, and in a room full of well-thought out activities and toys and hands-on experiences. We were blessed with staff who stayed for a long time, due partly to the centre being a really nice place but also largely to the Co-ordinator. She and I became good friends and plan to keep in touch.

You know how some children fall apart when their parents leave them at daycare? I've always been very grateful that mine never did. I think I'm lucky to have children who separate well. But it turns out that I don't separate well. I was in tears as we said good-bye last Wednesday. On and off all day actually, because I was in there doing my last lot of statements, sending out my last bulletin (and don't think I didn't use it for my last little grandstand and personal good-bye because I did). I saw the babies at sleep time and remembered Cherub in that room - the easiest child to get to sleep in his day because he just pulled the sheet over his face and lay there quietly till he passed out - and I cried. After school I watched Climber play happily and beautifully in the sandpit with Cherub and all the little kids, who adore him and persecute him the second he walks through the door, Climber, Climber!, and I blinked back tears. I suppose no-one had to forcibly push me out the door as I wept but I did sniffle all the way home.

I joked in my last bulletin that I was considering having another baby just so we could stay but that I remembered just in time about sleepless nights and nappies. It's almost true.

I know kinder will be beautiful, but I am not good at shutting the door behind me...

We left the staff with chocolates and tim-tams; a small thankyou and not at all commensurate with the wonderful memories they gave to us.


  1. Oh, Stomper!

    I'm blinking a lot and thinking I should be sending thank-you notes to all the nice people who take care of R...

    And he starts tomorrow! How exciting! Will he be in the same school Climber is in?

  2. awwww....

    I hope Cherub has fun in kinder :)

  3. What a lovely post. Sad but still the memories are obviously so great.

  4. awww... :)
    ( although I don't know how you did all that work all that time .. when they tried to rope me into Playgroup Victoria .. I left .. )

    MC started kinder today. I said seeya!, he said seeya! and we both had lovely days without each other.
    Considering we've never been apart, and he's never been left with others alone, I was pretty impressed... but neither of us are the clingy type, I guess..

    Bet Cherub has a blast in the new environs tomorrow !


  5. I love the yearly creche photos. Your boys have the same crooked smile. Beautiful.

    I'm certain that they'll miss you too.

  6. I have a feeling the créche is going to miss you just as much as you're going to miss it.

    Those boys of yours are heart-stealers.

  7. KelpieBlossom went to a parent run cooperative child care centre when we were living near Melbourne Uni. It was a wonderful place. Nothing much to look at but they did things there that I've never seen anywhere else - like everyone had their own toothbrush, everyone ate meals together (the whole creche, it was small) and they had a genuine book-reading pit and book-reading castle.

    Good luck for Kinder Cherub!

  8. Having just experienced the first day at 4yo kinder feeling today (empty, happy, sad, OK ecstatic too!), I can sympathise. My boy loved it, as I'm sure your's will. I am in awe of your community spirit though, being the slack-arse cow I am. (Already trying to find excuses not to go to the working bees). You did a sterling job!

  9. Sounds like the creche will miss you as much as you will miss them!

    Hope Cherub has a great kinder experience tomorrow.

  10. Never mind.

    The good news is that it was a good experience.

    (insert Shula's horror stories about creche here).

  11. You know, for one awful moment I thought you'd cut his hair off.

  12. Such a lovely post. My kids went to a parent run/community based centre too and it was wonderful - the teachers were amazing.

    Where DO you get your energy?

    Good luck tomorrow.

  13. oh stop making me sniffle. I'm gonna have to stay up later and read 100 more blogs now, so I can sleep and not remember all the lovely creche and kindy teachers in my past. and it's all your fault Stomper.

  14. Hi Stomper! It seems my initial re-entry into blogging after the break was poorly co-ordinated. Seems I miss my routine - so sorry for my lack of a visit until now.

    Your creche certainly sounds lovely - a labour of love for all concerned. Those sorts of places are like gold. And you are gem for all your efforts there.

    Hope all goes well tomorrow - for both of you!

    [Note: just had a freaky thing happen during typing this comment in that the power just went out but luckily came back on quite quickly - we are having a very windy electrial storm at the moment so I best get off the computer!!!!]

  15. This is such a lovely post. I reckon that if you had used this as your final bulletin, there wouldn't have been a dry eye in the place.

    I love looking at pics of your kids, they are so gorgeous, and it just makes me feel happy to see their beautiful little faces.

  16. Lovely post. You made me teary!

    Hope he does well transitioning to a big boy!


  17. Oh that photo of my little pink girl chasing after her special boy at creche made me quite teary!! And they're only in Grade 2!! How will I be when they're really, really grown up?! I can barely remember little Cherub looking like that in days gone by.
    3 cheers for co-op! And I won't even mention the whole third child issue.

  18. Damn. I know what you mean. Our Daycare is the University run centre, it is fantastic. Imogen has been looked after by the same carers who looked after Tracey's son Pip.

    Community involved daycare is so, so important, don't even get me started on the cockroach like growth of the corporate ABC Centres, there will be profanity.(ok there's profanity in everything I do, but this profanity will be even worse cos' it's really cranky)

    With all the volunteer help you gave I can guarantee they're shedding a tear at you going too!

  19. I had a really nice long comment and stupid frickin blogger ate it! TWICE!!!!

    Anyway the gist is commnity daycare great, corporate daycare cokroachlike ABC growth bad.

    oh and you a volunteering legend.

    the original post was much better but I lost the vibe, and you know how important the vibe is

    I tell you if it eats this comment, then that's it! I won't do it again, I won't I tell you!

  20. Good childcare is just so wonderful. And hard to find. Sounds like both you and the creche were lucky to have each other! But go Cherub!! On to big kid things! Sniffle.

  21. We have a similar package [for each of them] in the attic for me to go and sniffle over, when I'm older and greyer than I am already.
    BEst wishes

  22. Oh, those pictures are just too much. The one with the bucket for a hat is priceless.

    I hope he enjoys kinder as much as he enjoyed creche.


Don't let the cat get your tongue.