My daughter is leaving Giraffe Lucan crèche to start secondary school, after attending the centre for 11 years and the truth is, I’m just not ready to say goodbye yet.
In the beginning, I learnt two things from maternity leave. I really really wanted to hold onto my job. And I really didn’t have much of a clue about babies. While I learnt about babies over time, I never really changed my mind about my job. I don’t have a support network in Dublin – all our family members settled in other counties. Neither my husband nor I work in jobs with regular nine to five hours and the flexibility we got from Giraffe was what made it possible for us to hold it all together and keep both jobs going. School runs would have been a logistical impossibility for us but Giraffe managed both drop offs and pickups as and when we needed it. As my daughter progressed through school and the homework load got heavier, she was given a quiet place to do her homework under supervision after school. Which was greatly appreciated by Mommy and Daddy after a long working day.
Giraffe gave us more than logistical support. There was the reassurance of knowing that I had the backup of a team of professionals who truly knew my daughter. There was consistency in the team who looked after her – each of the carers had a personal relationship with her and she had a great relationship with each of them. Many times she’s come home with souvenirs when one of the girls returned from holidays. Her carer was the one who identified that my daughter was suffering from hearing loss when she was in senior infants. A speedy diagnosis of glue ear meant that the issue could be resolved with grommets and as a result she did not experience any developmental delay. The team were fantastic at carefully administering antibiotics, Calpol and cuddles in the tonsillitis years and firm but gentle understanding when the hormones kicked in.
Annabel Karmel failed me in the picky eating years but the recipe for chicken curry given to me by the crèche chef was the gateway to finally getting my daughter to try spicy food. I still make that chicken curry. I’m quite sure that there would have been many battles over food in our house were it not for the fact that a varied menu is provided by the crèche and the children seem to eat with little fuss when they are all together. Those positive eating habits translated into much easier mealtimes at home.
My daughter has really enjoyed the activities she gets to do with her friends in crèche and I love the fact that her interest has been diverted away from consoles and electronic devices and towards origami and artwork. While we do have an X-Box at home, her craft box and books are used far more. She has made great friends in Giraffe and is lucky enough to have one starting in the same secondary school with her – I know that this is easing any fears she may have had about starting big school.
When we started the crèche years, like every other parent I looked forward to the day that there would be no more crèche fees. Now that the day is on us, I would give anything to have those fees to pay a little bit longer. The support that they pay for is truly beyond price. Thank you!
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