Seriously. I hate them.
My kids don't spend much time in nursery situations. I'm blessed to be able to stay home with them, and I have family nearby when I need help. They have never been to daycare or a supervised playgroup or anything like that. So, their nursery experience is mostly limited to church.
I know that not everyone will agree with my opinion here, and that's fine. I freely confess to having an attachment parenting lifestyle, so just ignore my ramblings on the subject if you are not on the same page.
First, let's talk about this whole separation anxiety thing. Lincoln's anxiety has come and gone in the past three years. When going to the nursery or a church classroom, sometimes he is upset - but sometimes he is perfectly cheerful. Addie has never been okay with being left in a room with unfamiliar people. Never. She is a total basket case if I even step toward the door.
So, my strategy is this: just don't leave her. And it's not a very popular plan.
When she was tiny, it was easy. She just slept through the service or nursed in a rocking chair in the nursery and I said, eh, she'll grow out of it. She didn't. Now that she is almost eighteen months old, she certainly won't sit through a service. She's too busy to sit on my lap and she wants to chatter if we look at books and she sings at all the wrong times. So we last about fifteen minutes in church with everyone else, and then we hit the hallway. And the dread begins.
We walk down the hall and approach the nursery door. She backs away as soon as she sees it. I go in with her, to let her ease into the situation. She clings to me and cries if I even try to set her down. Then, it begins.
The kind and well-meaning nursery workers start to offer suggestions. Would she like a cup? Would she like a cracker? Does she want to go look out the window with them? And then, wouldn't I just like to leave her? She'll be just fine.
I've tried it many times in the past year. It doesn't work. She doesn't calm down when I leave. She cries hysterically. And I'm not cool with that - not one little bit.
I'm always assured that I will be retrieved if the crying becomes "too much." But the thing that bothers me about nurseries is this: why is it that someone else (most of the time a stranger) gets to determine when my child is crying hard enough to need me?
I'm sure that I'm viewed as the psycho helicopter parent who doesn't trust her kid with anyone, and I've decided I'm okay with that perception. One day, she's going to be Little Miss Independent and waltz off to a Sunday School class without a glance over her shoulder. Until that day, I'll be the mom playing with my kid on the nursery floor. It's not like I could concentrate on a sermon anyway, if I know my kid is screaming hysterically three rooms away.
Is there anyone else out there who hasn't made it through a complete church service since becoming a mom?! I can't be the only one.