Okay, so as I stated in an earlier post, Lily has joined Beaver Scouts. Very exciting stuff! The first week she started, we were handed a lot of paper with dates for this, that and the other, the timetable for Beavers and a letter for a sleepover (followed by a trip to the cinema!)
Now, the sheer word “sleepover” sends Lily into a very excitable little girl, she lights up and it is definitely something she’s always up for doing, and just to add to that excitement, the cinema too?! It may as well be a birthday! So when this letter was handed around, I was told; “Mummy, I am most definitely going to the sleepover and cinema!” Fair enough, I’d sure been told! As the weeks went on, I think Lily partially forgot the sleepover bit as she’d often just say, “I cant wait to go to the cinema with Beavers!” and I’d just go along with it, as I didn’t want to make her feel pressured into staying or dampen her excitement. (I’d then remind her at a later time about the sleeping part.)
Then the week of the sleepover approached. I subtlety reminded Lily about it, and she seemed in good spirits for it! She was bought a new sleeping bag thanks to grandma, (luckily in her apparently new favourite colour purple) and we tried it out at home to make sure she fit in it as it was a junior one – the reviews were totally mixed on what age it would fit, and Lily isn’t exactly short. So that was great fun! And then today, I’d popped to the library to print off the “check list” and we both got everything ready together, with Lily ticking off the list as we got it all packed!
Every week before we go to Beavers, I get, “Mummy, I have a tummy ache” and I know full well it’s just the nerves and worry of me leaving her somewhere she’s still rather unfamiliar with, so I tell her again there’s nothing to worry about – but if she really doesn’t want to go then I wouldn’t force it, but I know she’ll enjoy it when she’s there. There was no exception tonight, we had the same conversation, and I added “we have this every week, if you really don’t want or like going we’ll stop taking you.” I wasn’t saying it in a negative way, I was simply stating she had a choice to make. I let her think about it whilst she went upstairs to wash her face and brush her teeth, and then I followed up to have a chat which went a bit like this:
Me: “Lily, what is it that’s worrying you and making you not want to go?”
Lily: “I don’t know…”
Me: “Are you sure? What is it that’s making you sad?”
Lily: “I’ll miss you when I’m there!”
Me: “I’ll be right there when you’re finished. I’ll be there to pick you up! But you’re going to be asleep for the majority of the time you’re gone, you won’t be able to miss us because you’ll be dreaming of unicorns and rainbows!”
Lily: [stubbornly] “No I won’t. I won’t dream of anything!”
Me: “Well, fair enough! But after the sleeping you’ll be going to the cinema, and I can’t wait to hear all about what you’ve been to see – and then! We’re off to nanny’s once I’ve picked you up!”
We then had big cuddles and a few tears through the conversation, but I wanted to make it perfectly clear that I would be there as soon as they were finished, and that she would have a great time, even if she couldn’t see it right then. She cheered up after this and off we went to the sleepover.
Once we arrived, Lily was, understandably a little clingy, but I left her with a smile on her face and I sincerely hope I don’t receive a phone call at 2am asking for her to be picked up. But I am ready and waiting should the call come through. I know it’s going to be a brilliant experience for Lily, and it’s just going to help her build upon her character and give her confidence – not only in herself but in knowing that she is perfectly capable of enjoying herself without a family member being in the picture and becoming confident in being independent. This is what I love about clubs and groups, and in Beavers this sleepover will be many of the children’s first nights away from family, just like Lily, and I’m sure I’m not the only parent who’s had these talks and reassurances to their kids tonight.
So there we have it! To be continued in part 2 when it’s all over. – Oh, and we bought her the uniform. Doesn’t she look good?!
How did you cope with your child’s first night away?