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Stay and Play

I went in on a ‘stay and play’ at my boy’s nursery today. It was the first time I’d gone past the front door in over two years.

My little fella took me by the hand, walked me across the playground and showed me the cloakroom where he neatly hung his coat and hat up. I raised an eyebrow at this. Then he pointed out how he had to ‘clock in’ by finding the piece of card with his name on it and putting it into a bowl just inside the classroom door. I was intrigued. He then went to the play kitchen and prepared me some ‘food’. I’m glad to say that the plate he set in front of me included two small raw potatoes (the Irish genes are strong in this one). We then repaired to the music room where he got out some wooden building blocks and arranged them in size order like a xylophone, following which he brought me to see the baby chicks that had hatched in the incubator in the entrance hallway. I was delighted. Afterwards we went to the art and craft room where he drilled a hole and hammered a nail into a couple of pieces of wood.This reminded me of a joke which I told his teacher who was showing us round.

An Irishman let’s call him Caelan went to see his friend Tadhg and witnesses the later’s youngest son hammering nails into everything; doors, floors, cupboards, fridges and even the TV. “Jeepers” says Caelan “He must be costing you a fortune!”. “Not at all” replies Tadhg “sure I get the nails free at work”. The teacher laughed politely. I’m allowed to tell Irish jokes even if they are awful.

The boy then brought me outside where he set up and played a game of skittles with a ball and some plastic bricks. I was impressed by his inventiveness. Then nothing would do him but take me back in to show me the toilets complete with the little steps in front of them and little inner seats to encourage independent use (I made a note to order some of those steps when I got home).

Two things struck me as I walked away, my forty minutes up. The first was how my little man is growing up and away from me, this is his world and these are the things that he sees and does every day. Theses are his routines, his friends and his teachers, his world. I am impressed by the assured way he navigates it, certain of his place in it and comfortable in this, his environment. I was also a little misty-eyed at the evident pride he displayed in sharing this, his place, with me, his Daddy.

The second is how I can never manage to get him to hang his flipping coat up at home

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