There was a young maths geek called Archie
Who added things on his Hitachi
One added to two, two added to three,
Three added to five... Fibonacci!
I'm taking 6 months away from my day job to look after my son, Archie, who is now 9 months old. I thought it might be interesting to share my experiences.
It was a landmark week this week, in a variety of ways. I added a whole integer to my age again and Archie made the three quarter year milestone. Together we also reached the halfway point of my paternity leave, which seems to have gone incredibly quickly. We also made the first steps in handing care for our baby boy over to the professionals as he had his first day at his new nursery.
Sorting out Archie's care after we've both gone back to work has been a subject foremost in our thoughts. We've both got careers that we want to continue to pursue fully, so we knew we would need to use professional childcare services of one sort or another - whether a nanny, a child minder or a nursery school. In the end we decided on the latter as we felt the combination of multiple carers and plenty of socialization with other kids would benefit him the most.
Once we started looking into it, which we started to do when he was around three months old, we quickly realised that nursery places were at a premium - some nurseries had waiting lists of up to 18 months. And it was kind of disconcerting to find that, while we thought we were well organized, some parents had signed up their babies straight after the 12 week scan! As a data scientist, I decided to try to use the statistics of the admissions process to our advantage - while kids are born throughout the year, the intake of nursery is heavily biased towards the month of September as the older kids move into the school system. We decided to put in for our preferred nursery in September, well ahead of time, take what we could and then try to get more days from there.
Fortunately, the strategy paid off and we were offered a single day, starting in September. We accepted that, got onto the internal waiting list and have been able to add additional days as they became available. While this will cost us financially, it has got him into the nursery we wanted. It does put us in the unusual position of having a nursery place available before we really need it but we've decided to treat that as an opportunity to slowly ramp up his attendance and help him settle in (and build up his immune system).
So, on Friday, we packed up Archie's bag and dropped him off for his first day. It was peculiar to have to walk away without him and disquieting to have to start trusting other people with his care. The good news was that he settled in fine, his carers are excellent and we didn't have any major tears (from him or us). Now we just have to worry that he doesn't find nursery more fun than home!