Well, of course, I made it to Friday. This has been such a strange week; I originally expected to be on holiday and then, almost at the last minute, I found myself working full time for a week in a completely different environment.
The first day was tiring; the second day I felt almost sick with exhaustion. But on Wednesday I was beginning to get back into the swing of full time hours, and also felt more settled in the new, strange environment. I am not all that used to young children...and yet, the experience I have had of being with 4-year-olds once a week in the Reception class has paid off. Of course, in school it’s different. There is discipline; children have to comply and behave, and they cannot generally run around like lunatics. But in the nursery there is also discipline; there is the routine of the day including meal times and play, there are standards of behaviour to be kept, or reprimands when those standards are not maintained.
I would hesitate to say this to most people but, having two cats and a dog isn’t really all that dissimilar. We have routines (set meal times and play times) and we have a form of discipline. I would argue that the animals are a lot easier to manage but then, compared with a nursery ratio of 8 children to 1 adult, they would be....I am used to talking to my animals in a certain way and I have found myself talking to the children in a worryingly similar manner. Of course, I haven’t said to any of the children, “Are you having a dumpy-wumpy in the tray?” but you take my point....
It is good to be at the end of the week and to know that my time is now mine, and to be shared with my cats and dog. I think they have missed me, but they have been so good; Pip has held her bladder all day, no mean feat for an old dog; the cats have hated being shut in all day but have been very patient. I have let them sleep on the bed for the past two nights in a vain attempt to make amends. I suspect this probably alleviates my own guilt more than anything else.
One thing that has given me some hope is the rapid ability I have discovered, in remembering the childrens’ names. I have memory problems which I put down to having taken Seroxat in my past. It dealt with the depression but left me with great swathes of lost memories...I did think that the memories themselves were lost, but I have come to realise that I still have them; what I lack is the ability to trigger them. Once I have that trigger, the memories return.
By Wednesday, I had been in two different nursery rooms with over 40 children altogether, and I could name nearly all of them. And the others I could have a good guess at.
It’s been a good week. I have discovered things about people as well as myself. I have got to know an awful lot of new people, with all their different personalities. To find a little trusting hand grabbing hold of yours is a truly special thing – something precious that must not be abused. Jesus once said that our faith should be like that of a little child...not childISH, but childLIKE....I have seen that childlike thing at close hand now and it is wonderful. In one short week I have come to find a genuine affection for them – and, surprisingly, not always the most obvious children. I have watched them at play, interacting with one another, and wondered what sort of people they will grow into, and I hope to see some of them join the school – it will be interesting to see how they get on.
I have another reason to be grateful for my week’s employment. I have come home in the evening so tired I have had time for nothing other than see to my animals, throw some quick meal down my throat, chat to friends and then collapse into bed. Too tired to think. Too tired to mourn. Almost too tired to wonder what my soul mate is doing.....of course, as someone close to me knows, I have been thinking, and wondering. I have mourned. I still mourn. This week I have seen how a child reacts to pain; it usually slumps into a barrage of wails, in a crescendo correlating to the amount of pain received.
I was too tired tonight to consider the amount of pain; I just put my head on my arms, and wept.