Going back to work after a year’s maternity leave is tough. Leaving your precious baby at nursery is even tougher. Imagine adding into that mix a baby who has been ill for a few weeks, no-one knows what it is; she’s not eating, not sleeping well and doesn’t want to play, showing no interest in anything. That’s the situation we sadly found ourselves in earlier this year.
We had no choice but to carry on, drop her off, go to work – exhausted from the broken nights andbesides ourselves with worry. But from the outset, Jollies were superb. Reassuring, kind and competent.
Each morning we left them a lifeless, sad, sickly little girl and every day they did their very best to get her engaged, get her involved, help her eat and get some much needed sleep. She adapted well purely because of the support that was put in place and the genuine concern and love that was around her.
She was being violently sick every evening and, wracked with guilt, we were convinced it was something we were doing at home because her happiest and healthiest hours were always the ones at Jollies. It was as if they had some magic power to distract our poor little girl from her sadness and pain.
Of course, we spent every minute of the day worried but not once was the worry about her being at nursery. Testament to our trust in the staff, we never felt it necessary to call during the day – we knew they would call us if they needed to check anything. That said, they always encouraged to phone as much as we wanted, nothing was ever any trouble.
As she plummeted from the 85th to the 15th on the weight charts in a matter of weeks and we found ourselves at A&E the steadfast support from Jollies continued. Not just from the staff in her room (special mention to the amazing Natalie and Kirstan) but also from the managers, Tracey and Sian, and the wider staff. Everyone was so genuinely kind.
Cut a long story short – it was Coeliac Disease. An autoimmune disease which means she can never eat gluten. We let Jollies know 5pm on a Thursday evening and by Friday morning they had bought her gluten free cereal, bread and goodies. We had yet to do this! Their commitment to changing her diet and supporting her recovery began instantly.
This story has a happy ending. Our baby changed almost overnight and piled on 3lb in 7 weeks! Her muscles strengthened and her spark came back. She loves everything about Jollies – especially all the messy play, the wonderful outdoor area and her carefully prepared delicious food. And she loves the staff, without exception. They’ve been as proud as we have to see her return to her normal cheeky self and we’ve delighted in sharing this with them.
I’m not sure how we made it through those couple of months; we were barely functioning as the worry was immeasurable. We don’t have any family to help out – Jollies was our support, offering professionalism, wisdom and kindness.
Jolly Giraffes is so much more than just a nursery, it’s family.