Starting nursery is a major milestone for any child and their parents, so we really feel for James and Ola Jordan who are trying to settle their two-year-old daughter Ella into nursery for the first time.
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In their exclusive HELLO! Parenting column, the former Strictly Come Dancing stars reveal their tough first day with little Ella at childcare – and as they expected, there were many tears when dad James momentarily left the room.
WATCH: Ella does mum Ola's makeup!
Seeing Ella upset affected James too. "I didn't cry but I felt quite emotional," he told us. "I don't like seeing her like that, especially in front of other children as well – she was really distraught."
In their column below, the professional dancers recount Ella's first nursery experience and Ella tells us about it in her own words too, which is super adorable. Plus, hear about their daughter's 'oopsie' word which has shocked the couple.
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Ella's first time at nursery
James: Coincidentally on the day of nursery, Ola had a hair appointment booked, so I went on my own with Ella.
Ola: It was a settling in day. Daddy had to take Ella to her music group in the morning and then in the afternoon, he took her to nursery. Mummy didn't go so obviously daddy struggled without mummy and Ella had a little meltdown because daddy walked out of the room for a little bit.
James: I left the room to find some numbers on my phone. She was playing but then she looked up and I was gone, and she had this massive meltdown and came running out. The panic on her face that I was gone made me feel quite sad really, I'm not going to lie.
I know that everyone goes through it, I'm just not very good in situations like that. Then it happened a couple more times when she couldn't see me. She just really was not happy there.
The staff saw that she was quite bad. They have a little park around the back with swings and a slide, so they said next time they'll take her there but make sure we're with her, so she knows that we're taking her outside to something fun.
If Ella is going to be that distraught, I'd prefer just to wait. My sister said, 'The sooner you do it the better,' but she's still only two.
Ola: Yeah, we will struggle with it but I think we've just got to do it. She'll be the same in September; she won't be any different.
James took Ella for her first time at nursery
James: Because our work has now changed where we're doing more stuff from home, Ella is always with one of us, always.
Ola: I think it's easier when the child is younger, like one year old, because they don't really understand. Now she's understanding that she's not with mummy and daddy.
James: Before I had children, I would have said, 'Do you know what, just leave them, let them cry,' but when I saw her, it really hurt me. If I wasn't there, would she get over it?
Ola: I think she would. I think she'd get distracted. It's the same as when she stays with my sister sometimes – she doesn't want us to leave but then after a while, she gets over it and plays.
James: Emotions do get in the way when it's your baby. It's hard to explain. My friends used to say to me, 'You don't understand because you don't have children', and I used to get insulted by that, didn't I Ola?
But you do things differently as a parent – you know it's maybe the wrong thing but you follow your heart. There's no way I would have left her there yesterday, no way. That's why Ola's taking her on Friday.
Ola: Oh, I'm taking her?
James: Yeah, you're taking her. You can see what it was like. It was horrible. You came home looking all lovely after your hair appointment – I was a complete utter drained mess!
Ola: He was. I got home and said, 'Tell me all about it.' He goes, 'I can't. I've got to sit down, I feel so stressed.' It exhausted him.
James: I had Ella as well and she's full-on.
Ola: Yeah, but I do that every day when you go on a golf trip. I've got her all the time.
James: I can look after my child. What I'm saying is that going in there for two hours mentally and emotionally drains me. Watching her so distraught was quite upsetting.
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James shared this stunning photo of his little girl
Ella talks about nursery
HELLO!: Ella, did you go to nursery?
Ella: Yeah, nursery.
HELLO!: Did you? Was it fun?
Ella: Yeah, fun.
James: Did you make some friends there? The girl in the pink, she held your hand, didn't she?
Ella: Yeah friend, pink. I cry...
Ola: She's showing us how she cried right now.
HELLO!: Aw, you cried. But nursery is really fun isn't it?
James: And you're going on Friday, and Ella go on her own and mummy and daddy go to work.
We're crossing our fingers for you all!
Ella had fun doing her mum's makeup
Ola and James' park aversion
James: We went to the park with Ella at the weekend, but we're not park people at all. For some reason, all of our friends love walking around parks. I find it so boring.
Ola: If I didn't have Ella, you would not see me in a park. You'd see me around shops, but not at the park.
James: And there are so many people with dogs. As much as I love dogs, I get a bit worried about them and they all let them off the lead. I'm always picking Ella up because it just takes one second for something to happen.
Ola: It makes you worried with a lot of dogs. When we went on Sunday it was really busy, so in the end, we had enough and went to Bluewater.
James: We took Ella to Dinotropolis – and then that was full of children as well! We had to leave there after half an hour as there were too many kids for daddy to deal with. Older children were pushing Ella. I thought to myself, I'm not going to start fighting six-year-olds so it's best I leave! There's that saying: children are like farts, you only like your own!
Ola: It's true.
More makeup fun for Ella!
Falling off the gym wagon
HELLO!: So how are the gym workouts going?
Ola: What gym?!
James: Jim is a good friend of mine. He's doing well.
Ola: Ha! Last weekend my parents went to stay at my sister's house. Originally James said, 'Let's go to the gym in the evening when Ella goes to bed.' What did we do instead? We went into our movie room, next to the gym and had a bag of crisps each.
James: I think Ola's a bad influence on me. If it was down to me, I'd be a lot more into my fitness [laughs].
Ola: That is not true, stop it!
Ella's 'oopsie' word!
James: Ella said her first swear word this week.
Ola: I can't repeat what she said because it's very naughty and it's definitely not from me because I don't use that word.
James: I don't know where she got it from.
Ola: It's from you. I heard her say it twice yesterday. I told James and he said, 'Are you sure you heard her right?' I one hundred per cent heart it right.
James: We try our hardest not to swear in front of her because we know she's at the stage where she picks up everything. She copies what you say. I find it really strange because I don't remember swearing in front of her.
Ola: Yesterday evening she was running around and said the word about five times. I didn't do anything. I didn't tell her to stop because I don't want to bring attention to it. And just when we want her to start nursery!
James: Did she get it in context though, and can she spell it? [laughs] No seriously, I don't like it.
Ola: I think James says it too casually to his friends on the phone.
James: Yeah I do. Ella's heard me on the phone.
Ola: I never thought of myself as a swearer but I realise that I do, so we've got to be really careful because she's like a sponge now – she says everything.
Read Ola and James' column next Friday to find out how Ella's second time at nursery went...
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