Somewhere between learning to walk about two weeks ago and having her lunch today, my little girl has chipped one of her teeth, so that her two front teeth look like step one and step two of ‘learning how to make interesting napkins’. This is apparently less life-threatening (according to some hasty online research) than most mothers of first-time-chippers would immediately suspect. And it may also come in handy when pondering origami during the milk teeth years. It is embarrassing enough to mention here, at any rate. Recently I have been wondering what kinds of things to discuss on this blog.
It’s not as if nothing ever happens in Threescoreland. Lots happens. Some of it trivial, difficult, confusing, expensive or irrelevant. But, as you may have suspected from my last post, I really do feel unqualified to talk about many topics with any credentials. The kinds of things I have credentials in are ancient Near Eastern literature, essay writing, languages with little use in 21st century East Anglia and the funny things that happen in classes which I still teach. In each of these areas I also feel that my expertise slips the less I do, and that I was never anyone special in the first place. I see the funny side when I shouldn’t. I question myself frequently and want to learn what things it would be best for me to pursue. I am learning the art of being satisfied with being me. Learning to be truly content. I cannot change many things I would like to change.
Ok, enough self-pity. This seems to hit me at transition points in my life, which I don’t always handle too well; I like to know what is coming and be well-prepared (and I fear Lily is just the same).
What transitions are happening now?
I have decided to leave work at the end of my current contract. It is getting harder and harder to justify work I don’t need to be doing, where I am not achieving much that wouldn’t be achieved without me and which is taking three times the amount of time I am paid for. The satisfying element of the work is a tiny fraction of it. One day, after children have reached an age where it is wise for me to go back to the classroom, I will find a job in a school again. For now, there are projects to occupy me and a daughter to raise.
The house we live in is of a certain age – not quite over the hill, but close to the top of it. (I would say a 5 minute walk from the top in fact). Bits of it are going south, getting hairy and needing a bit more TLC. This involves a bit of £££ and lots of quotes and doing real maths. I have great expectations that when it is all trimmed up and looking less bleak and more like a respectable Victorian town house I can look back at the harder times and smile. But all this development and deliberating is time-consuming and energy-sapping. I am not naturally good at choosing style, although I know it when I see it. Working out how to design a new front door with glazing has been a labour of love, for example. I still change my mind regularly about the details of the front garden, but would love a cherry tree or something similar with pink blossom and an elegant shape. Oh, and railings, standards, box, tiles and edgings. You can get edgings reclaimed on the edge of town, but you can’t get railings reclaimed at the railway station.
With me leaving work, my husband has started thinking about his own position and whether we need to assess his long-term career moves soon (or at least before the options get removed from us). This involves a deal of thinking, calculating, praying and discussing. Nothing seems too clear at the moment. There are routes he would like to consider, but there are also many unknowns.
Maybe it is also time soon to buy a pet. Don’t laugh. I spent time last night thinking through the implications of a dog, because Lily just adores them and wriggles and screams with excitement at small animals. Yesterday I fear she traumatised one, which probably went home scared of children. I am not sure a dog would be wise, but maybe we could look into fish more seriously, or something fluffy and manageable for the garden. It would help with my transition from part-time teacher to stay at home mum a little more.