Jude moves on

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Jude is starts school in two weeks. So, on Thursday it was Jude's last day at Acton Early Childhood Centre. These are some pictures of his last moments there.

He, of course, took it all in his stride, and was fairly  unphased. His mother felt a little more emotional about the whole thing. He had brought yellow iced cupcakes for morning tea and they sang "Happy last day" to him, which all was rather pleasing for him. His main concern as we arrived to pick him up and found him drawing with his friends Kyler and Ben C was that he hadn't finished his drawing yet.

Jude started childcare earliest of all three – I didn't have a lot of leave at the time and our financial situation dictated an earlier return to work. He began with a couple of days a week at four months, with James looking after him a couple of days, and James' mother looking after him one day for a while. His days eventually increased, although over the whole 4 years, he was probably 5 days a week for less than a year.

When Jude started at childcare, he was still fully breast fed. Unlike Sebastian who went easily between breast and bottle, Jude stubbornly refused the bottle. Absolutely and totally. Knowing I was going back to work a bit earlier, and aware of the expressing issues, I had carefully and purposely built up a big store of frozen milk, dedicatedly expressing every morning while feeding him, which seemed to be the most effective way of doing it. And given the Sebastian experience, we had assumed that it would all be easy. We were wrong. We tried everything – starved him for a day, fed his with me there, with me away, with a scarf or something which smelt like me, with every shape of bottle and teat, with bottles that had been sterilised in solution and ones which had been heat sterilised and nothing. He would refuse the bottle every time. After the stress of the first couple of weeks he was at childcare, where I would be waiting for the call to tell me I had to go and feed him – thinking we were in the clear and he had finally succumbed because it was after 1pm, only to discover he had had an extra long sleep, I just gave in and went and fed him every day for two to three months. That was pretty much my lunch hour for those months. By the time he was 8 or 9 months, we had him drinking enough milk out of a cup to get through the day – and I got to go to the shops again at lunchtime. The funny thing is, unlike Sebastian and Zachary who used bottles, but pretty much gave up drinking milk when they stopped bottles, Jude is still a big milk drinker – the cup habit stuck!

Anyway, Jude our creative boy who never listens but knows everything will start the whole new chapter with school in February and in the meantime has a couple of weeks to chill out.

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