How life got in the way, or shall we call it research?
Night one after our return from our first holiday as a family of four. Nine glorious nights. No all inclusive bar, no partying ’til the small hours but the wonderful addition of my boyfriend helping with the night feeds made this holiday just perfect. Nine nights of sleep in blocks of up to six… yes I said six hours! The joy of him getting up at 7am and letting me have that extra few hours. And to top it all off… No sick… the dreaded reflux seemed to have been solved by the addition of a shot of Gaviscon infant (I could have done with a shot of something much stronger many a time).
So… the first night back in our own beds. We arrive home at 22.30 after taking a leisurely drive home and visiting Great Nannie Lil. The other half settles down to sleep, he’s back in work the next day. I settle down, lulled into the false holiday security of sleep. Just one more bottle then off to sleep. Ten minutes later Emilie vomits. Welcome home. Not just a dainty splash of ‘spit up’ but a full on wretch of what can only be described as cottage cheese vomit. Her eyes almost sparkled as she looks me in the eye and wretches up another load. The ‘Swaddle-Me’ that we rely on to settle her is caked in goup and the spare one still in the washing back from holiday. So as Daddy sleeps away, Mummy changes Emilie and is then woken on the hour as Emilie no doubt misses her Swaddle-Me security – well you shouldn’t have spewed on it should you! At 5am I remember that I have bought a Swaddle-Me Graduate – a zip up sleeping bag with a sash to swaddle her. It’s the answer to my prayers. She finally settles. Thirty minutes later I regret this. Her painful cry wakes me yet again. As I pull her towards me, once again the cottage cheese massacre is upon me. This time caking the zip and meaning that I have to do the one thing that repulses me more than anything… get my fingers dirty! I have to touch the sick. To pull the zipper I have to put my actual fingers in vomit! The thought of just leaving her in it momentarily crosses my mind, but then the infamous mother instinct takes over. I brave the sick and release the zip… save the baby and instantly reach for the baby wipes (for me obviously) and all is well. We survived.
It was at this moment that ‘The Little Book of Sick’ was born.
‘The Little Book of Sick’ has been writing itself for years. I have drafted so many best sellers in my head in the middle of the night – but somehow the words never left my fingertips.
Over the past ten years I have established a wonderful, successful and fulfilling career as an English Teacher but as I now have time – albeit time in the middle of the night delirious from lack of sleep – I have had time to think about writing. As I have sat feeding Emilie in the small hours, my mind has wandered and my ‘Little Book of Sick’ has come back to me.
Looking back it now seems that all good intentions of writing were packed up in the PGCE enrollment pack. On my first day on the PGCE the words of a cynical ex rattled around my head, ‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.’ After completing the MA in script writing and undertaking work experience in London as runner/researcher, entering writing competitions and writing for sheer pleasure; life got in the way. Summer 2003 brought a lot of personal changes. My parents divorce, my broken engagement and subsequent ‘run-aways’ to the repping capital Majorca and the backpacking paradise of Oz left little time for writing, but plenty of sick stories which we will return to later.
After 12 months of running and having a whole lot of fun, it was time to grow up. Too many nights out, too many hangovers, no money and no prospects. What did I love doing? Reading… Writing? So why not combine this love and teach. And with ALL those holidays, I could easily carry on writing in the holidays. I could take my laptop abroad and write a bestseller whilst sipping Sex on the Beach – this was the lie that I told myself as the course unfolded in front of me.
As I have climbed the teaching ladder to Head of House and Head of Faculty along with planning and delivering Outstanding lessons and OFSTED observations, my creative mind has been lost. Lost under piles of marking, schemes of work and excuses. Excuses. Why have I not been writing? Fear? Laziness? Life? ‘Life gets in the way’, is an excuse that one of my many Slimming World representatives used to say as a kind way of saying, “you let yourself down again and put 2lb on!” But I can see how life has got in the way. Striving for the next promotion, searching for the perfect relationship and planning the next big holiday, have all got in the way. So have I wasted the last ten plus years? 2003 was the last time I wrote, when I handed in my final draft of ‘The Game’ my masterpiece from the MA in Scriptwriting. From budding writer to teacher. So does the phrase mean anything. Can I do? Or can I just teach? Does being a teacher make you a failure in your own field? Surely not?
Teaching has brought with it so many challenges, successes and ultimately job satisfaction that I could never have imagined. The joy of helping a child to succeed and fulfill their potential. To be told your lesson makes English fun, to meet parents and know that you have made a difference to their children’s lives, to have a job that counts. How can this be ‘not doing?’ I may not be a famous writer, have fulfilled my dream of journalism or being a TV presenter but I have done so much more. I have found a job and a career that I love. A passion not just for English but for children and for nurturing those children.
So to those who believe ‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach’ you are sadly mistaken and very misguided. It takes guts and creativity to impart your wisdom and knowledge onto others, to plan and deliver engaging lessons, to keep up with the ever expanding paper trail and the ever increasing demands for results. But despite all that, it’s the students that count and I know that my teaching has and will continue to inspire and develop young people’s minds. And let’s face it…. the holidays are great… So don’t even get me started on the ‘Teacher’s holiday haters!’
Well here I am, still a teacher but for now a full-time Mummy and part-time blogger. Maybe I can do it all after all!