Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Nursery nightmares

Well. Hello there. It's been a while. Sorry about that. I tend to sit down on the couch on Monday, blink, and suddenly it's Thursday week. Not sure how that happens. But here I am! Attempting to post an actual post! Hurrah for me and my massive efficiency.

I've started thinking about going back to work. (Shhhhh... we have to whisper or Lumpy will hear us. He thinks he has me trapped here forever, you see. But no, I will escape! Freedom will be mine! Freeeeeeedom... to, um, sit at a desk and make up words. While trying to stay awake because CLEARLY THIS CHILD IS NEVER GOING TO LEARN HOW TO SLEEP AND I WILL BE COOING TO HIM AT 3AM WHEN I'M GREY AND OLD AND DEAD, AND... what? Was I shouting there? I'm terribly sorry. Where was I...?)

Ah, yes. Work. I'm feeling rather torn about it to be honest. Half of me despises the thought of having to leave my ickle babba to the care of others and become an office drone once more. I keep wondering what I'm going to end up missing. Maybe he'll learn to walk while I'm in a tedious meeting about print runs and cover designs. Perhaps he'll say his first words while I'm picking my nose by the watercooler. No doubt he'll beat up another child for the first time while I'm browsing the Internet pretending to be terrible busy and important indeed. It's heartbreaking.

But also. Also. It feels like a step back to being a normal person again. To being me again. And to earning some dosh once more. That would be nice. Though as I failed so utterly at moving to London and getting a proper big person's job like all my friends did, I really won't be getting very much dosh at all.

I'm going back for just four days a week, which snips a nice 20% off the old wage. Plus we have to find a suitable baby prison in which to deposit the Lumpy while I'm not there to crack the whip and keep the cage clean.

And therein lies the rub, really.

Childcare is a total and utter nightmare. It's hideously, prohibitively expensive, for one thing. And it's also woefully inadequate for my little prince. What? You have a three to one ratio at this nursery? That means three members of staff for each child, right? What? No? Oh... And I also notice, these toys don't seem to be gold plated. He won't like that. And the other children are allowed to touch them? This really won't do at all.

But it's either a nursery or leaving the cats to look after him. And we all know where that would lead.

The place where I push words around (i.e. work) doesn't have an on-site nursery, but it does have places in various nurseries in town. Not enough places, of course, because that would be too easy, and make its employees lives just that bit easier and more straightforward. And how on earth are they expected to keep up with their disgusting fornicating, constantly spawning workers?

Because we are all so keen on dropping sprogs at this place, you have to put your name down on a waiting list. Now, I thought I knew how waiting lists worked. You got on them, you wait, and when you reach the top of the list, you get what you were waiting for. Right?

WRONG, suckers! That's not how our crazy nursery waiting list works. It turns out that they just randomly decide to offer people nursery places based on whim and fancy. Because they have nice hair. Or their name starts with a P. Things like that. Nothing to do with how long they've been on the list or anything like that, because, oh no, that would be just what they'd be expecting. And we have to keep them on their toes these mothers. Otherwise they'll start getting all out of hand and trying to breastfeed the CEO or eat other people's children. Probably.

Way back in January they rang me up and offered me a place. Because I didn't want one then. I actually considered taking it up and just paying for it until May, but this would have ended up costing thousands of pounds and I have about £3.64 at the moment, so it wouldn't really have worked. I have a friend who had a baby five days before me, who also works at Word Pushing Place. She was offered the same place in January after I had turned it down. Because of this, I stupidly assumed that I was above her on the list. Because I am an idiot who doesn't understand the ancient lore of ye olde mystical nursery waiting list, clearly.

Because yesterday, when seeing said friend, she told me that she'd been offered a place at one of the nurseries for May. Which baffled me a bit, as I hadn't heard anything, and had just assumed there were no spaces till September.

So I gave the nursery lady a call. I was full of righteous anger and indignation, and prepared to kick up a right stink. The conversation went a bit like this:

"Oh, hi. My name's Mrs Badger and I'm currently on the nursery waiting list."

"Oh. Hello scum."

"Um, yes. You see, I'm a bit confused, as I have a friend who's also on the waiting list, who has a baby exactly the same age as mine, and she's just been offered a place. But in January I was offered a place before her, so..."

"It doesn't work like that. You don't have a 'place' on the waiting list. The nurseries just look at everyone who wants a place and chooses the one they think suits the place best. It's kind of hard to explain (to stupid people like you)."

"Oh, right. But..."

"They probably like the other baby more. It's probably cleverer. Prettier. Less vomity. Something like that."

"Right... ok. But..."

"Sorry, but that's all I can say. I don't have any influence over it. It's all up to the nurseries. I'll let you know when they have a place for you and your skanky inadequate baby. Which will be never."

"Um. Thank you."


Yeah. When it comes to the crunch, I'm not all that good at righteous indignation, it seems. I go all humble and polite. And then cry for a bit once they've put the phone down on me.

The plot thickened later when the friend with the special, nursery-desirable baby texted to tell me that she'd turned the place down. You see, this nursery is quite a long way from work, and on the other side of town from us.

So, in theory, the place is still free.

Did I then snatch the phone up again and ring the evil nursery lady back, demanding that the place be given to me and my sub-standard, sick-covered baby immediately?

No. Of course I didn't. I sent her an email about childcare vouchers, in the oblique hope that she'd reply with a "...and while we're at it, that place? It's yours! We love you and Lumpy really! (scum)"

She didn't. She answered the question about vouchers. And that was it.

So now I'm waiting. Like the idiot that I am.

And I've filled in the forms for the big, not so nice nursery just up the road. That had space when I enquired a month ago, but probably won't now.

Oh, well. Lumpy can always come to work with me. I have drawers. And my boss likes him. He ate my keeping in touch days form when I went in for my returning to work meeting (Lumpy, that is, not my boss). That's recycling! He can get a job as a recycling unit. Sorted.


  1. How can this post not have any comments yet?!! I love your writing. Who do I complain to? Oh... I see you've just written it today... well, even so...
    You push words very well.

  2. Get on that ruddy phone and tell that woman 'My Darling, intellectual, devilishly cute child will be more than happy to take the place that I KNOW has just been turned down by my friend'....that is exactly how I would do it! The fools, if only they knew how bloody gorgeous lumps was they would fall over themselves to take them.....
    Yes notmuchofarunner it took me a while to comment as I was trying to clean up the tea I sprayed all over my desk while reading this! Bloody fantastic blog entry Mrs Badger, well worth the wait! (Granted it was at the expense of your sanity :-()!

  3. I think you need to take young Lumpy on a tour of the nurseries. He is SOooooooooooooo cute that everyone would be falling over themselves to give him a place.
    Failing that, I'll take him to the nursery at my work if you like. It's very nice.

  4. Hmm could you take Lumpy straight to this woman's office and get him to eat the waiting list?