Animal instincts or not…

Last year I went to a Professional Development session on working with kids with additional needs.

The presenter told us that we should adopt a dog or cat persona when approaching children.

If you approach a child for the first time like a dog in a friendly, bouncing, excitable manner most kids will love it. Think of all those kids shows at the shopping centres.

But some kids need a cat like approach where you get close to the child but keep your back to them or look past them without looking at them. Ignoring them and giving them the chance to engage with you when they’re ready.

For most of my life I’ve been the dog. The one who bounces into the room ready to be friends with everyone all at once.

But now sometimes I like to be the cat.

Or maybe the goldfish out of water? Having eaten too much and forgetting where I am and how I got there.

Or the turtle in my shell? Happy to poke my head out and play when the mood takes me but also needing sometimes to hide from the world in my shell.

Or maybe the sloth? You know, just because.

Perhaps though we are all a menagerie.

My moods are like the zoo, at feeding time, during the school holidays. Chaotic and changing and evolving and revolving around the schedule of others.

(And the award for taking an obscure analogy too far goes to me.)

Although this post is more snail like in its need to go somewhere but not getting anywhere in a hurry.

This is me today. Tomorrow will be different and Tuesday will be another kettle of fish all together.

Cats, regrets, nipples etc

This post could go either way.

It could be all “look at me and how once I’ve made my mind up I just have to do it” or it could be about missing things that I’ve never had.

So… let me start with the thing about the cat.

I have suddenly been hit with the overwhelming urge to get a cat. I am NOT a cat person. I do not like cats. In fact they like me because I am so nonchalant around them.

But in my mind when I get a cat I will love it and it will love me and it will be wonderful.

So now that I have decided to get a cat I am missing the cat that I don’t have yet.

I wish it was here to keep me warm and cuddle me through my horrific cold and runny nose.

And see this got me thinking about other things that I’ve missed that I never actually had.

I miss my career as a famous actress and all the fabulous parties that I should have gone to wearing designer clothes and committing countless fashion crimes and flashing my nipples to the paparazzi. (Hang on, maybe not the last bit but we all know that’s all that I would be remembered for.)

I miss the fact that I never actually properly dated the man that I loved/adored/lusted after for most of my teenage years and therefore didn’t actually get closure… yes I’m looking at you Gavin Wanganeen.

I miss the me that I would be if I wasn’t this me (but usually just when I’m really tired).

I miss the coffees I didn’t have time to drink. The friends I didn’t visit. The sleep I didn’t have. The things I didn’t see. The things I didn’t learn.

You get the picture. YOU also know that regrets are equal parts stupid and pointless and have no place in my otherwise lovely life.

Which brings me back to the cat and my promise not to turn into a crazy cat lady posting Instagram pics and videos of its every move. Promises.

Promises are made to be broken right?

I am them.

What have I done? Who have I become? Who am I?

WHO? WHAT? WHY?

All of these are these valid questions to ask yourself when you buy a leopard print top for the first time.

I tried it on. I thought it looked okay.

(I also thought if I ever need to go to a fancy dress party then I’ve got my outfit sorted.)

Now let me be perfectly clear.

I laugh at people who wear animal print clothing. I laugh behind their backs. I laugh to their faces. I laugh.

And now I am them.

I can honestly say that I have no idea how it happened. I was at work and my colleague told me to go and get a coffee but instead I bought a leopard print top with black sleeves.

I am them.

I like stripes. I like spots. I do not like animal prints.

I feel like this could be a real turning point in my life. I feel like this is the first chapter of my mid life crisis. I feel like a stranger to myself.

I am them.

It was on sale. It will not define me. I can and will rise above the self scorning and scoffing.

I will not buy matching pants.

Because what sort of person buys leopard print pants.

A happiness list.

Right. So. I seem to be coming across a little bit lost and sad in my recent posts. Which is probably a fair indicator of where my head is at right now.

But there are still things that make me happy. A lot of things. And strangely enough I seem to be enjoying these happy moments more.

Happy moments are brighter. Clearer. Funnier. Warmer. Lovelier.

So I decided to make a list. I know I’ve done this before. But I need to do it again.

These are some of the things that lift me out of my fog at the moment:

– Songs that make me happy. One of my faves is “You make me happy” by Claire Bowditch. I like this because its obvious and direct. I appreciate that.

– Songs that seem to understand my sad like “Details in the fabric” by Jason Mraz (featuring James Morrison). There is a line that says “hold your own, know your name and go your own way”. I like that.

– I like baths and showers at the moment. I can’t seem to get warm enough without them. I may not be myself but I’ve never been cleaner.

– I like my new brand of muesli. And it was on special this week so I bought 2 boxes and felt smug for hours.

– I love my new clock.

– I love my $8 jeans.

– I love reading 2 books at once. Even though its only because one is a bit too scary for me to read at night on my own but I’m really enjoying the fluffy romance one too.

– I am happy that there are people I can be myself with and that listen to me without judging me and provide me with some much needed perspective.

– I am thrilled that a man in a cafe practically begged me to sing “Benny and the Jets” loudly in public. (Practically begged being somewhat of an exaggeration but I did it anyway.)

– I like wearing my new beanie.

– I like my spotted pj’s.

– I am a recent convert to chilli hot chocolates for reasons that need to be tasted to believed.

And yeah. That’s probably enough for now. Those are the things that are bringing me joy.

Life is a bit like a fog and there are moments when the fog rolls in and it seems thick enough for planes to be diverted.

But there are times when the fog lifts and the things above as well as the love and craziness from my family make me laugh… out loud!

A place to sit and wait for friends…

Recently a new piece of outdoor furniture arrived at my sons school.

It’s a bright purple bench seat with a plaque on it that says “Friendship Seat”.

It’s an initiative of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

It’s a place for kids to sit when they need a friend.

A way of asking for help to fit in and be included.

It’s an easy way for a child to say I’m lonely and not having any fun today.

Which of course got me thinking…

Do I need a friendship seat?

What would happen if I sat on one?

Would I be like the free hugs people and end up on Oprah?

Or would people avert their gaze and walk on by.

Are adults allowed to say “Hey! Look at me. I’m surrounded by people but I don’t have anyone to play with”?

Can I stand on the friendship seat, waving my arms and shout “Pick me” without looking desperate and needy?

No. Probably not.

But I’ve realised that sometimes I do need to tell my friends that I’m lonely and that I need someone to drink espressos with.

I need my friends to listen to my crazy stories and talk me down from my invisible ledges of insanity.

I want to be heard and thought about and messaged at odd hours of the day and feel the zing of someone else taking time to reach out to me.

And I’m so lucky because I do have all these things.

Friendships can be hard work though. And sometimes I need to just sit on the friendship seat and wait for others to join me.

Or maybe I need to be proactive and take a stroll past someone else’s friendship seat and let them know that I care about them.