I was with a group of friends out at dinner recently when we started discussing our weird tics and habits. One good friend has the obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) of checking all the locks on her doors twice before she goes out. My other friend always checks that the stove is turned off. There is the “no-lipstick on my teeth” checking friend and the “I can’t throw anything away” friend. Then came my turn. Whilst I cannot immediately think of any strange tics or habits… I do like to dress up in a brightly colored cloak, covered in toys each day and go out and sing and dance and tell stories to children.
There is nothing quite as wonderful as walking into a roomful of children and waving at them whilst watching them wonder why is this bizarre woman dressed so strangely and wildly waving at me? Only moments later as they are laughing at how their gentle high-fives cause me to howl in pain, and how I apparently cannot get my hat on my head correctly…do we dance hand in hand into the joyful Land of Imagination, where we can go anywhere and do anything.
The month of July has taken me to libraries and Summer Camps all over Los Angeles and the OC. There have been rich libraries and poor libraries, older and younger kids, exhausted and exhilarated parents (mostly exhausted), and kind, encouraging children’s librarians.
Memorable moments for this Summer have been the Summer Camp where all forty kids decided that they needed to take their shoes off in order to go galloping as magical horses to the Land of Imagination. Getting hugs from a ten year old girl who has been coming to my shows since she was four years old. The child who kept interrupting my show to inform me that he was dressed as a bee and would be flying as one today. There was the father who was so engrossed in conversation with another grown-up that he didn’t notice his two year old until she had reached my ipod station and was changing all the music settings in the middle of a show. The family who came to get autographs on the back of my business card. I didn’t know whether to sign it Ms. Bits n’ Bobs or Nicole. But mostly, there is the look of wonder when we open the magical Storybook Land book at the end of the show and the stories which have gone missing are all magically returned.
So, when life is getting you down, the bills are piling up and the kids are screaming and yelling that they are bored in the Summer time. Pick up a jacket or a sweater, a table-cloth or a tea towel. You know those toys on the floor that you always trip on at midnight. Tie those to the tablecloth. Fling it over your shoulder. Choose the silliest name you can think of. Put on some music and go dance with your children.
If that doesn’t work, just call me.