My brain is a bit frazzled, I’m in the middle of one of the most difficult and challenging projects that I have ever undertaken.

Since I am planning to go back to work, we’re going to have to send Tomás to a child minder and crèche. He’s been with me since birth so it’s proving difficult for both of us to make this change. I don’t recall the others being as bad when starting crèche, but in all likelihood they were but maybe I’m finding this particularly difficult as he’s the last we plan to have, and this time at home with him as been different than it was for the others.

I didn’t take any time for Aoife other than a few weeks holidays when she was first born. For Aidan, I’d started a course, and then I started working for myself so since he was very small he was with a minder and then the crèche at least a few times a week and then when he was around 2 I went back to work full time. For Tomás however, I’ve been here virtually 24/7 363 days of the year (2 nights off with the wife for time served).

So this is a bigger change for both of us. Over the last week he’s been to both the child-minder and Crèche a few times and I think he is slowly getting better, but wails when I leave him and then when I come to collect him. Both the child-minder and crèche are nice and he’ll do well there. His brother and sister thrived in the crèche they went to and it made it an easy transition into preschool and then big school.

I want Tomás to benefit from the one on one attention that the child minder will give him and the social interaction, more structured learning and language development skills that he’ll get in the crèche so that’s why for the moment I want him to do both.

But he’s not loving the experience yet, he brings his bag everywhere when he’s away from me, to push down the slide first or to walk around with it on his back so that he’s ready to go as soon as I arrive. And he immediately starts to bring me to the door so that he can go. Even at times when we’ve been at home or at the P&T group he’s making baby noises and pretending he’s regressing just to get my attention and to give into what he’s looking for. Of course when he want’s to he’s perfectly able to ask for a banana, apple, the ball or for me to go outside and play with him, all in near perfect English.

For example when I collected him from the crèche today, he was crying “blub, blub, blub” a bit with the occasional “Daddy” thrown in to add extra potency. Of course when I announced that when we got home that I’d get him some lunch, a sandwich and a cheese string. He pipes up with “yea! I want a cheese string!”, and was perfectly fine again until we got out of the car and he seen me with a loaf of bread which he wanted to tuck straight into.

He is getting better, he survived 3 hrs in the crèche today after spending 3 hrs with the minder, which is better than he did on Monday in the crèche. He’s also at that stage where he’s trying to exert his own control over his life, seeing if he can get exactly what he want’s, for us to bring him where he want’s to go and to show who is boss. Maybe it’s a good time for me to spend less time with him as he tries to wrestle control of what goes on away from me and in doing so tests my patience and mental strength to put up with him.

But it’s hard to let him go, I’m not sleeping great at night as I try to figure out what is the best way, the easiest way for him to make this change. What could I do differently or better? That along with the blooming theme tunes to some of his favourite television programmes are waking me during the night, which of course makes me tired and irritable anyway before the battle of wills even starts.

The plan is that over the next few weeks repeated trips to the child-minder and crèche will get him use to the idea. Last week and this we just did a few days, next week I think it will need to be 4 days solid of going to the child minder for 2 hrs, then in the afternoon to the crèche. That way I can ensure that he has lunch and is eating, which he didn’t do today. The week after we’ll get him to stay a bit longer, and I’ll just have to steal myself to the heart felt, painful cries of “Daddy! Daddy!” when I leave him.