We decided a couple of weeks ago that we were going to be bold and brave and leave our little ones with their grandparents overnight. Our main reason for this is because we have an event at the end of the year which wouldn’t be appropriate to take them to. So before jumping in at the deep end and leaving them, we wanted to give it a trial run. For their sake and for mine. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about leaving them, I was worried about how they would feel and whether they’d cause havoc for their grandparents.
The night has now been and gone and it was very tough for me to leave them. I had swept it to the back of my mind for the days leading up and all of a sudden we were at the grandparents with their travel cots. It still hadn’t quite sunk in that I wouldn’t be able to check on them in the night, that we wouldn’t be waking up to them in the morning. I happily set their cots up and explained to them what would be happening that night and everything felt fine. It felt the same as it did if we were just leaving them for a few hours.
We said our goodbyes and our eldest became really clingy. It wasn’t like him at all, he’s a complete Nannys’ boy, so much so that he usually doesn’t even notice us leave! But this day must have felt different for him, he seemed really anxious for us to leave and cried his eyes out. This was upsetting for us to see but we wanted to encourage him to stay with Nanny Firstooth, so we bribed him with an ice-cream and snuck out.
I still felt fine at this point as we sat in the car. Then I looked at the window to wave Goodbye and saw my boy sobbing his poor little eyes out. It instantly hit me like a wall, I had an ache of guilt in my stomach and burst into tears myself.
We couldn’t help ourselves but to call half an hour later to see how the little man was doing. It turns out five minutes after we left he was absolutely fine! That did make me feel a lot better as we carried on our journey to Lakeside. If you’re feeling a little rubbish after leaving your kiddies for the first time, I’d definitely recommend calling whoever is looking after them, as I bet they’ll be as happy as anything.
We called again shortly after their bedtime. We were the typical worried parents enjoying our child-free time but continuously questioning each other whether it was ‘too soon to call again’. Of course they were in safe hands, otherwise we wouldn’t have left them, but you can’t help that niggling feeling of wanting to check. It almost feels unnatural to be without them. So after their bedtime call we were told they were just being settled to bed. They were still alive and doing ok.
The next time we called was at half nine. I bet Nanny Firstooth rolled her eyes and thought ‘them again’. She told us our littlest went to bed without any bother, which isn’t like her at all. Not that I wanted her to resist bedtime and be a pickle. Our eldest on the other hand, the seemingly better sleeper, had only just gone to sleep. In-between them putting him to bed and him falling asleep he ended up breaking their blind, playing and watching TV until he gave up and asked to go to bed. I think it’s acceptable to have a late night when you stay with grandparents, they enjoy it just as much as the kids do.
We called again in the morning to check how they slept, expecting to hear an array of horror stories. We woke up at nine and calling them was the first thing we did and sat tentatively as if we were waiting for the results of a blood test. How did they do? Absolutely fine. Our smallest, the terrible sleeper, only woke once and went back to sleep instantly and our son slept through. All that worry and anxiety about how their night would pan out and I needn’t have bothered. They slept like a dream and I felt so proud of them, so relieved that they weren’t upset or unsettled nights.
I had to laugh though, our boy stayed up three hours past his bedtime and only slept in for an extra fifteen minutes in the morning. Monkey. When he was asked what he wanted for breakfast, he asked for a bacon sandwich. I don’t think he’s ever had a bacon sandwich for breakfast, or even at all, so that was a random request. Although it was a request that he received and he thoroughly enjoyed it too.
If you’re planning on leaving your little ones for the first time then rest assured everything will be fine. It’s natural to worry and feel uneasy about leaving them, it goes against everything in our mothering nature. But it’s good for them to have an adventure away and for you to have an evening to yourself. They’re only a phone call away. Sometimes you just need to get that first night out of the way to see what happens. Like my mother-in-law said, “we can only try it”. She’s right, we’d never have known how they’d be until we’d experienced it ourselves.
Another thing I’d suggest while they’re having their first sleep over, is to keep busy. We had a lovely day and evening together which I’ll write about in a separate post. It helped to be busy, a wandering mind is never a good thing.