Photo by Kirsty Mattsson Photography
OK, let me explain, ever since I was a teenager, or a tween even (isn’t that word odd?!)-so when I was a tween and that term hadn’t been invented yet (thankfully), I realised I had a bit of a lovely bond with kids, I seemed to connect with children and adored playing with them (not all little girls like kids but I was never happier than with my cousins or the children of family friends).
I did play with dolls pretty late so I suppose this was an extension of that!
I vividly remember at around 10, my Mum would exercise at a local gym near our house when that had a creche and I would hang out there helping the childminders look after the kids. Cuddling and caring for those cuties was so much fun and they really seemed to love me back too. The nursery workers certainly did, it meant they could chill out a bit as I took over. Sometimes I look back and think I was a 10-year-old going on 30!
Fast forward a few years, at uni and our student house was next door to ‘normal non-students’ with families, and the kids in the neighbourhood would literally wait for me to get back home, queuing in the street outside our house.
I remember some even inviting me round for tea. Ha! I was in the local paper and the little girl next door had blue tacked it to her wall. How cute it that?!
My flatmates would call me the Pied Piper, which made me laugh and some days it was a bit mental, I mean 15 kids waiting to chat to me like some local superstar. I miss my little fans!
I suppose it came down to me showing them some respect and attention and maybe because I’ve always been a big kid myself.
The thing is it can sometimes be a bit crazy, where I think I have this energy that draws little people and animals towards me. You see many a time I could be walking down the street, or sat on a train and a toddler will just stop, stare and smile, or even give me their hand which has happened weirdly countless times.
I actually remember this happening on a plane once. I was sat on my own, a child next to me, its mother on the other side and at take off, it reached out to hold my hand.
I’ve had ‘stranger kids’ (there’s a sentence I’ve never written before) reach out and grab my hair, kids at schools and nurseries who I’ve never met before, on open day visits rush around me and parties full of unknown kids wanting to play with me and even those I don’t even glance at or speak to…
I actually asked a Dr friend, who was then a medical student, what the scientific explanation might be (this was right after a toddler stopped in the street and kept looking back at me as his Mum pushed him forward), and he said, ‘You have big features so maybe kids think you’re a big baby’. Bahaha! Maybe he’s right. I might not be traditionally baby-faced but maybe to little ones big eyes means big babies!
My Mum says it’s because I’m pure hearted and kids can sense it (bless my Mama) and I suppose I am one fun Mama, even before I became a Mum.
I was always nurturing from as early as I can remember. My brother, Solos was my baby despite us only being 18 months apart, as were so many of my younger cousins.
They still recount to this day how I would pretend to be an air hostess and push a little coffee tray on wheels around giving them drinks and biscuits before wrapping them all in big blankets my Gran had knitted, before singing them to sleep. I was a nutter!
On a more important note, I’ve sort of saved two little children’s lives potentially thanks to kids feeling connected with me- one, a girl walked out of pub I was passing in the street in Cardiff when I was 18, her parents hadn’t noticed she’s gone and I dashed towards her as calmly as I could and stopped her crossing. She stopped, listened and came to me. She must have been 2. I safely returned her to her drunken family inside that barely cared a dot. So sad.
More recently, last summer, a little boys’ family were chatting away at the top of a hill in a car park in Southport, not noticing him running down the hill where cars were in motion. We were in the car about to set off ourselves at the time but I noticed him from the corner of my eye, leaped out and rushed to him, and he literally came to me with open arms (I couldn’t believe it) as together we struggled back up the hill to hand him to his worried Mum.
Things like this can happen to the best of us and it is scary, I’m just glad these children trusted me to get them back to safety. I often think we’re put on this earth for a purpose and these times really affirm that.
I think I was born maternal.
I don’t believe you have to have kids to be maternal either, I was as a child myself, a tween, teen, then as a director and teacher/ lecturer nurturing and always trying to bring the best out of my crew, actors and student,s and of course now in real time with my own children hopefully, simply trying to do my best.
It does still stop me in my tracks when kids I don’t know, approach me or gravitate towards me, though. It’s the sweetest thing, even if it can sometimes startle me.
Have you got a crazy connection to little people too?
Linking up to Zaz’s #Allaboutyou linky.