The question I am asked most about my job is why? Why do you do it, why do you love it so. Its true, the questions usually come after I have been bitten or scratched, after I have arrived home totally shattered or when I get another in a long line of virus attacks. Yes, these are the downsides of my job. I work in a special school and its the best school I have ever worked in. Its a place where support staff are appreciated, listened to, included in decision making processes. This is unheard of in mainstream. This support helps when the job is a little tough. Imagine you are in a world where you don’t understand the rules, you have very little communication, and you are unwell or hungry or need the toilet. How do you make someone understand this? Frustration can lead to children lashing out. We get sneezed on, coughed on spat on and occasionally have other bodily fluids smeared on us.
All of this pales into insignificance when you see the children in your care blossom.
When they learn to sign or use picture exchange communication system (PECS), when you know what they want because you have learned to “read” them it becomes worthwhile.
The first time they try an unfamiliar food, the first time they speak or write or use a knife and fork you think ” I helped with that”.
The first time they use the toilet, sit still on a chair , learn to swim you are as proud as if they were your own offspring.
When after six months of teaching, cajoling, encouraging, they complete a piece of work independently. That’s when you know, this is the best job in the world.
And its worth every bite, every scratch, every slap.
I don’t know when the idea first came about, but it seems that practically every Bank Holiday it falls to me to host a BBQ. And so it came to pass that last Monday we held a BBQ.
However, last summer we threw out our garden furniture. It was originally white plastic, but after twenty years use it was now green and quite disgusting. We had bought raincovers for it but they have long since blown away.
Thus, on Saturday morning I suggested going to a few stores to look at garden furniture. Spouses lip curled and he said he would look on the internet. I gaily got on with lunch and pottered about the house.
Some three hours later spouse snapped the computer off and suggested we go round the stores and look. Desperately biting back the comment that we could have gone hours ago I dutifully got into the car. Amazingly enough we managed to agree on a set that was not only in budget but in stock and more than that, would fit in the car.
On Sunday, we built the furniture and I went to the supermarket to buy BBQ goods. I put the idea that we should get a temporary BBQ because I hate cleaning the grill. This did not sit well with the spouse. I shall clean the grill, he told me. Upon my return, I found he had used practically every cleaning product under the sun, bar a nuclear bomb. Last years meat detritus remained firmly adhered to the grill. I returned to the supermarket for a temporary grill.
The BBQ went well, it didn’t rain, I didn’t give anyone food poisoning and most importantly, I don’t have to clean that blessed grill
On Tuesday I was poorly again. I came home from work feeling cold and shivery. I had an early night but was awake again at 3 am with the most awful headache. I staggered downstairs and took painkillers. I might as well have taken vomit pills. I spent the next six hours throwing up. I was sweating one minute and shivering the next.
Just before I passed out, a sweaty vomit covered wreck, spouse yelled out ” get out of bed and go to work you lazy bitch”. How pleasant. I like to think he was joking, but these days I am not too sure.
These sick days are getting too frequent. Am I too old?
Venturing downstairs much much later in the day I saw three empty packets of food on the side. A cunning message from number one daughter to say the cats had been fed.
They did do their best to convince me otherwise. So convincing were they I even had to message her to check.
So last weekend when I was on my own I had another heart attack/indigestion moment. I was laying in bed when the pains kicked in and the thought occurred to me that if I died I would not be found for some time. Spouse and number two daughter in Guyana, number one son in Derby, number one daughter away for the weekend at a wedding. This was Saturday night, daughter not due back until Monday evening. By then my three cats would be hungry and looking for food. I wondered which one would eat me first. My money is on this one…
She is angry when her food is five minutes late, never mind 36 hours. She might not even wait until I was properly dead.
However, as you can see I am still here so it was obviously indigestion. I just can’t stop thinking that the autopsy report would read, ” eaten by cats”.
So the wanderers have returned full of rum and tales of derring do. My spouse and number two daughter brought with them souvenirs, mosquito bites and two cases full of washing. They were as unimpressed with my tasks that I completed in their absence as I am by their tans and pictures.
I have gone from one person in the house to six. Not only have the travellers come back but so has number one son. It seems crowded.
Number one daughter is looking for a house with boyfriend. She jokingly said I could live in a granny flat with her. I rejected the idea at first but the more I think about it, the more I like it. The concept is that I clean, shop and cook in return for bed and board. Not so much an aupair as an oldpair. Any children that happen along I would do daycare. I think the idea of mother living with you is undesirable but a housekeeper who lives in an attached but completely separate dwelling, that is food for thought.
This weekend I have been home alone and loved it. I must say these last ten days while my spouse has been away have been great. I eat what I want, watch what I want on TV, have a double bed all to myself. And its so quiet. So, this weekend number one daughter went to a wedding, number two daughter is in Guyana with her father and number one son is in Derby at university. It was strange waking up to an empty house but I was suddenly galvanised into action. I whizzed through the housework. Bit easier than usual as the house was tidy to begin with and I had a lot less washing to do.
The doorbell has not worked for some time so it was off to B&Q for a new one. On a whim I also bought bedding for the hanging baskets. Once home I installed the doorbell. I began to plant the hanging baskets but realised I did not have enough compost. So it was back out to B&Q to get some. The gardening did not stop there as I mowed the lawn. Believe it or not I have never mowed the lawn before and I managed reasonably well.
Here is my handiwork. Here are the things himself he will say when he returns with the answers I shall give him. The cut of the lawn is rubbish. True its not the neatest lawn I have ever seen but it IS cut. The doorbell is wonky. True, but it works and no-one has been electrocuted. Wrong plants in the hanging baskets. I disagree, they will be beautiful.
What will scare him the most is how well I can do without him. Doesn’t scare me.