At 7am, she pads quietly into my room and to my side of the bed. I'm awake, but only just, and my eyes are still closed. Standing on the balls of her feet, she taps me lightly on the nose. "Mummy?"
I reach out to her even as I shuffle along to make room. "Mmmmmm," I reply. "Come in and have a snuggle, honey."
She climbs up on the bed and presses into me with a sigh. Then she says, "Mummy, what is today?"
I feel myself tensing up, and I know she feels it too. "It's Thursday, poppet," I say in a quiet voice. I know what reaction I'm going to get. I've been getting it every Thursday for 6 weeks now.
Then it starts.
"I don't WANT to go to creche! I don't want to! I will stay 'ere wif YOU!"
"Love..." I start, rubbing her back, but she cuts me off.
"I DON'T WANT TO GO TO CRECHE!"
By this time she has woken her sister, who's asleep on a mattress on the floor, and her dad. Both chime in with soothing words and ideas, but C is having none of it. Sitting upright in bed, back stiff, she yells, "I DON'T WANT TO GO! IT'S BOR-ING! I WILL STAY 'ERE!"
She sits calmly through breakfast, complete with reading several Mr Men books to her, and I think perhaps the storm has passed. Until she takes her last mouthful of Weetbix, pushes her bowl away, and proclaims brightly, "I aren't going to creche!"
Her eldest sister, normally a beloved morning dresser, isn't allowed to touch her today. It has to be me, and she resists, not physically, but in her reluctance and unwillingness.
I pull her onto my knee for a hug. "Darling," I say. "Mummy needs to work today, and you need to go to creche. Is there anything we can do to make you feel happier about it?"
"I DON'T WANT TO -" she begins, then stops. "Can I take my puddle book?"
"Yes," I say, picking up her copy of I Can Jump Puddles from the bookshelf.
"Can I say hello to M?"
"Yes," I confirm. One of her favourite carers has recently been moved to a different room, and C misses her.
She sighs. "Not creche tomorrow?"
"No, no," I reassure her. "Kindergym tomorrow with Mummy. Then we could do some painting!"
"Oh-KAY, FINE," she concedes, in the most world-weary tone imaginable.
And when we get there, she says goodbye with a quick hug and runs off to play dollies with her friends, with never a backward glance.
As for me, I just wonder why she has started with this morning stressing on creche days, having been so settled there for over a year now, and I wish so much it wasn't happening. At least she seems to enjoy herself once she's actually there, and I've never left her in tears (not sure I could, to be honest). But it's a cleft stick, because of I am to work, I need the creche days.
I wish it was easier.
This is post 22 in NaBloPoMo. 22 down, 8 to go!
46 minutes ago