Part 6 of 6
(Please note – this blog was written prior to the second lockdown being announced)
It’s taken me a while to write this final blog because we’ve been dealing with some health concerns with Izzy, but I’m pleased to say that, eventually, we seem to be on the right path. Which is wonderful because very soon my tiny babe will be turning one. One! I can’t quite believe how fast that year has disappeared in some ways, and how slowly it’s dragged in others – not least because of the pandemic.
One of the most unwanted impacts of Covid-19 on our little family has been the social anxiety that has manifested in Isabelle. I don’t think James or I anticipated quite how much not seeing anyone for so long would affect our daughter, but when the first set of restrictions lifted it became clear there was work to be done. No matter where we went Izzy would scream at strangers. Mainly men, frequently bearded. If someone even wanted to use the swing beside her at the park, she would cry and try to scramble away. For a baby who had once been happy to be cuddled by anyone, it was heart-breaking to see.
Fast-forward a few months and finally Isabelle is a lot happier. The main reason? Nursery. On the insistence of our health visitor, who went above and beyond to help us when things got really bad with Izzy being ill, she recommended we send Izzy to nursery twice a week if possible. She’s approaching the end of her first month now and the difference is remarkable. She’s chatting more, eating better, and generally being braver. Whilst the first few drop offs were a little teary, Izzy now gets super excited to go to her key worker. I’d be slightly miffed, if it weren’t for how equally thrilled she is when we collect her.
The nursery we chose is a relatively new place, so whilst it hasn’t yet had a visit from Ofsted, it’s brand spanking sparkly fabulous. Set in the middle of a farm, we frequently receive pictures of the babies visiting the pigs, playing in the garden or simply having a lovely sing-song together on the dedicated nursery app. I’ll be honest, the thought of yet another app on my phone filled me with dread, but these little updates through the day help me feel connected to my daughter even when we’re apart, and I love receiving the photos, even if they are a little embarrassing sometimes. Last week all the children were busy exploring. Some were photographed doing messy play, some were playing with instruments, one was painting. Mine? She was licking her reflection in the mirror. Ha!
And although I miss Isabelle when she’s in nursery – let’s be honest, she’s been my little shadow for almost a year now – I’m grateful for the good it’s doing her and subsequently, me. Those precious few hours have been carefully spent. The house has been thoroughly cleaned, my novel has had a new draft started, my husband and I have enjoyed a long run WITHOUT the running buggy and, of course, we’ve been able to buy Izzy a birthday gift without her being there.
It’s not going to be quite the first birthday we had planned. There’ll be no party or family there due to the restrictions (our families live 200 miles away in different tier restrictions) and so instead, to commemorate (because it felt wrong to do nothing) we’re having a cake smash photo session. Truth be told it’s more so we have a picture of the three of us from this first year that hasn’t been taken by one of us holding our phone at arm’s length, but who doesn’t like an excuse for a bit of cake? Now I just have to pray that Izzy doesn’t scream at the photographer, ignore the cake and try to eat the balloons! It’s been an amazing first year of parenthood and I can’t wait to see what amazing challenges and excitements Izzy brings to our lives next.