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Exclusive: Ola and James Jordan's heartache as daughter Ella battles separation anxiety

Catch up on the dancers' latest HELLO! column

ola jordan
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
May 13, 2022
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It's been another tough week for HELLO!'s parenting columnists, professional dancers James and Ola Jordan, who share two-year-old daughter Ella.

MORE: James and Ola Jordan reveal toddler Ella's tough day: 'She was distraught'

The couple took Ella for more settling in sessions at nursery, but there were tears again from little Ella - and mum Ola - as the family continue to struggle with their toddler's separation anxiety.

WATCH: Ella goes to nursery and tells us what happened!

In their weekly column below, Ola tells us all about the difficulty of leaving Ella, revealing: "When I left Ella there I just heard this screaming. It makes me want to cry now. It was awful!"

At one point their little girl even ripped out Ola’s hair extensions as she clung on. Read about that below.

The former Strictly stars also update us on their family news, including James' mum's 70th birthday and how it’s going with Ola's parents staying. Sweet Ella also seems to be taking after her famous parents on the dancefloor too! Catch up on the Jordan family's news here…

Ella's nursery upset continues

Ola: I took Ella back to nursery on Friday – James didn't want to go because he finds it too emotional – so I went in and I left her there.

I thought I was going to stay a while but a staff member at the door said, 'Ok mum, you've got to make the handover now and go because you don't want to be there prolonging it.'

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LOOK: Cute Jubilee kids outfits for the Queen's Jubilee: From M&S to Etsy

ella nursery

Ella all ready for nursery

James: It took Ola by surprise, I think.

Ola: Ella stood there and I said, 'Ok, mummy, will see you later'. They took her and she was screaming, it was so awful.

James: So then Ola rings me from the car. I thought she'd had a car accident because I was expecting her to go into the nursery for half an hour or so, but I got a call within 5-10 minutes and she's crying. I went, 'What's happened?' She said it was OK, Ella was crying.

Ola: So then I went home and James was there in the garage tidying up. He didn't know what to do with himself.

James: I was making myself busy!

Ola: We both stood there in the garage by ourselves thinking, 'What are we going to do now? We've got three hours to kill.' We were looking at my phone all the time, and the nursery kept sending messages saying, 'She's fine now, she's not crying.'

James: They sent a picture of her on a swing and she looked so sad.

ella swing

Little Ella on the swing at nursery

Ola: Then they sent a text saying, 'Why don't you come and pick her up at 3 o'clock because all the children are starting to leave at 3pm.'

James: And we didn't want her to get too upset. We obviously knew she wasn't happy because they wouldn't have sent that text. When we went to pick her up, she was in the teacher's arms being cuddled by her. As soon as Ella saw us, she burst into tears and came running towards us.

Ola's hair extensions drama

Ola: We took Ella to nursery again yesterday but as soon as she saw the building she gripped me going, 'No mummy, no mummy, no.' They let me go in with her this time, and that did prolong the whole leaving process.

When the teacher took her away, Ella gripped my hair so hard that she pulled my extensions out. She wouldn't let go! She was yanking it and I could hear the clicks of my extensions.

Eventually, I let go and said, 'Mummy's going to come back.' I ran out and then all I saw was my hair extensions hanging down!

hair extension

The hair extension that Ella ripped from Ola's head!

I didn't cry this time because I knew what to expect but it was still quite upsetting for me. If it were James, he wouldn't have left her there the way she was screaming yesterday. They did send me a text quickly though saying she was playing and happy. But then when we picked her up she was crying again.

James: My mum said to me, 'Well maybe she's a bit young.' I think Ola wants to persist with it, which is the right thing to do, but you question it, don't you? Are we doing the right thing? I don't know.

Ella needs to learn how to mix with other children. We don't want her to go to school and be unprepared. The staff say she's upset there and she'll struggle, but to keep going. The nursery is so busy, we were lucky that we got two half days – so it's not like they need her there. If she was that bad they'd say, 'Look maybe come back in six months.'

I don't want her going there if she's traumatised by it though. It sounds weird, but the day she was going to nursery, I woke up with anxiety – not for myself, but for Ella.

I do think Ella being a lockdown baby has contributed to her clinginess. She's been with us all the time. Also, because of my dad passing away, we weren't able to leave her with anyone.

Celebrating James' mum's 70th

James: Yesterday was my mum's 70th so we dropped Ella at nursery and drove straight to lunch in Lewisham with my mum, grandad and my sister. Mum had a lovely time.

jordan family

James and Ella with grandma on her 70th birthday

Then we rushed back to get Ella from nursery, picked her up and went back to my mum's house and did presents and had cake. Ella was playing with her cousins – it was such a nice day.

Ella to start dancing!

James: Ella loves her weekly music class and she really loves dancing too, so we're going to look at taking her to a dance class soon.

Ola: She really likes learning moves.

James: Which is quite annoying because I wanted her to be a golfer! [laughs]

HELLO!: Like a ballet class?

James: Yeah that would be sweet, ballet or contemporary or something. She moves very much like a contemporary dancer.

HELLO!: Perhaps a baby ballroom class like mum and dad?!


Ola and James in their Strictly days

Ola: I think it's from age three.

James: Yeah, that would be funny – especially when we arrive with her…

HELLO!: They'll have you teaching the class…

James: I don't know if I have patience for three-year-olds… It would be cute though if Ella did that.

Ella's funny night

Ola: The other night Ella woke up my parents screaming; we didn't hear her as our monitor didn’t work for some reason. Then she cried again and I woke up and went to see her, but she wasn't in her room. I found Ella in with my parents, sitting on their bed talking to my dad!

James: At 3 o'clock in the morning

Ola: She obviously got out of bed, opened her door, opened my parents' door, and she was standing in the middle of their bedroom. I was like, 'What are you doing here?' It was funny.

My parents are thinking of going home next week. I think they just miss their home. We’ve loved having them here but understand they need to go soon.

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