Kitty was a girl who had been on a long journey. For a time she had not seen her daddy and that had made her very sad. When it came to the time when she would see her daddy again she felt worried, what if her daddy did not like her anymore, what if her daddy was cross with her?
When she saw her daddy again all her worries fell away because everything was alright and just the same as her memories said it would be. In fact it was so good that sometimes she wondered what all the fuss had been about. She and daddy would spend every weekend together and sometimes would have a holiday together too. Kitty enjoyed those times best of all, because she could pretend that this was forever and that she would never have to leave her daddy again.
Leaving daddy was something that bothered Kitty a lot. Leaving mummy was something that also bothered her a lot and whilst she had gotten used to it, the feelings of sadness, that came up each time she had to leave were very difficult to cope with.
To help her to make the journey from mum to dad and back again, Kitty had a dandlebear. A dandlebear is a special bear with huge eyes that tell you all you need to know and long arms so that you can tuck him in your trousers as you go or so he can hang on tight around your neck, which is especially useful if you want to go on your scooter or your roller skates. Dandlebear had arrived in Kitty’s life just at the right time and now he was her best friend, someone to hang on to and a bear who never let her feel alone.
Days passed peacefully and Kitty enjoyed going over to dad’s house and spending lots of time with him. She got used to feeling happy inside instead of sad and she loved to do things with dad that she never did at mum’s house.
You see living in two homes is a very special thing. It means that your mummy and your daddy are always there and you have your own special place in each house. Kitty had two lovely bedrooms and in her mummy’s house her bedroom was all pink and neat and in her daddy’s house it was all wild colours and exciting. It meant that Kitty could do lots of different things and enjoy those things in the comfort of her own special place. She loved to go from one to the other and sometimes she would bring from her pink room some ribbons and bows and sometimes from her wildly coloured room she would bring twinkling stars that were up on the ceiling.
As Kitty went from mum’s house to dad’s house she noticed that her feelings inside would change too. Mostly these were good feelings and good changes, but at times there would be a sort of storm that seemed to pass through her tummy and up into her head so that she would get cross and not feel very settled.
One day such a storm arrived and Kitty got very cross with daddy. ‘Hurrumph’, she said, when daddy asked what was the matter and another hurrumph came out as she flopped onto the sofa looking very glum indeed. Dadddy sat down beside her, ‘now Kitty Kat,’ he said, ‘I can see there is something wrong, what is it, tell your old dad and he might be able to help you.’ Kitty scowled at her dad and said nothing, rolling further up into the sofa and turning away. Daddy left her to it, he knew better than to force her to talk when she felt in this mood. Dandlebear looked solemnly at Kitty from his position in the corner of the Sofa. ‘Now then Kitty’ he conveyed through his huge wise eyes. ‘What is all this about?’
Kitty looked back at Dandlebear. She didn’t want to talk but she knew somehow that she would talk to Dandlebear because Dandlebear was the only one who knew what she felt like and the only one who actually knew what it was like to live in two homes with a mummy in one and a daddy in the other. Dandlebear was the only companion that Kitty had on her journeys and she knew, because of this, that he would understand. ‘I don’t know Dandlebear,’ said Kitty, ‘sometimes I feel so cross but I don’t know why.’
Daddy covered Kitty up with a blanket as she laid on the sofa silently and eventually he brought her a glass of milk and one of her favourite biscuits. As Kitty sat and ate up her biscuit and drank her milk she felt the storm pass away and the horrible tight ball of something that had arrived in her head began to unravel. She looked at Dandlebear who gazed back at her steadily. ‘I think this cross feeling comes when my mummy and daddy are both in my day at the same time’ she said and Dandlebear nodded, ‘I think you are right’ he agreed and I think this is why.
Kitty knew when Dandlebear was ready to share his wise thoughts and as always she looked forward to the story because Dandlebears can tell a very good tale. She settled back and listened as Dandlebear began.
‘Once there was a little girl,’ began Dandlebear and Kitty curled up with delight, it was going to be a story about her. ‘A little girl who was very brave indeed’ he went on. ‘This little girl had to make a big journey each and every week and she did this all alone without anyone to help her.’ ‘That’s me’ thought Kitty as Dandlebear was speaking and she listened even more closely. “This little girl had a mum and a dad who used to live together and then they separated and live in different places. This little girl had a mummy who was ever so kind and ever so warm and who loved her to pieces and a daddy who was just the same. The problem was that this little girl had become so used to mummy being in one place and daddy being in another that she had forgotten what to do when mummy and daddy were in the same place. When they were in the same place, when it was time to go to school for parents evening for example, this little girl felt she had two pieces of jigsaw that didn’t fit together anymore and no matter how much she tried inside her mind, when her mummy and daddy were together in places, things didn’t feel right and just didn’t fit. This left the little girl feeling strange and a little bit cross, she was confused because she could not work it out and didn’t know how to make it feel better.’
‘That’s me’ thought Kitty, ‘that’s definitely me, go on Dandlebear’ she said hurriedly, ‘keep going and tell me what the little girl did.’
Dandlebear looked at Kitty with his kind and loving eyes and carried on with the story.
‘Life is like a Jigsaw puzzle’ he said to Kitty, ‘some people fit together and some people don’t and sometimes, those who used to fit together don’t fit together anymore and so they go their separate ways’. ‘The thing is’, he continued, little children are made of three jigsaw pieces, one is their mum and one is their dad and on one side of children is the piece that fits them that is mum and on the other side is the piece that fits them which is dad. What this little girl is trying to do is join the two pieces which are mum and dad together without realising that she is the piece in the middle which is missing.’ Kitty considered the image and thought about herself. ‘So’ she thought to herself. ‘I am the middle piece and mum is on one side and dad is on the other, well that makes sense’ she said to Dandlebear, but what has it got to do with me feeling cross?’
Dandlebear said, in his quietest voice, ‘when your mum calls you up in the middle of your day and you are with dad you are busy thinking about dad and what you are doing with him aren’t you?’
‘Yes’ said Kitty, ‘and it feels strange when I hear mum’s voice on the phone.’
‘And then when you try to connect with your mum, you feel as if you have to disconnect from your dad don’t you?’
‘Yes’ said Kitty, ‘that’s exactly how it feels’
Dandlebear patted her gently with his great big paws and smiled ‘but you are connected to both your mum and your dad, like a jigsaw puzzle, you in the middle, your mum on one side and your dad on the other, when your mum calls you up or you see her with dad, it is strange but you will get used to it and if you just let it be and remember that you are connected to both, that storm in your stomach and inside your head won’t trouble you so much.’
Kitty sat upright on the sofa and considered this news. She could see how the jigsaw puzzle thing worked and how good it would be not to have to disconnect from one in order to connect to the other. Daddy came in just then and she thought she would try, to see how it felt, to ask him a question about mum. ‘Daddy’ she said, ‘could we put a picture of mum in my room tonight?’
‘ If you would like that of course’ said daddy.
‘And daddy’ said Kitty, thinking aloud, ‘can I have a picture of you to put in my room at mummy’s?’
‘Of course’ said her daddy.
‘So when I am here I am still connected to mum and when I am with mum I am still connected to you,’ said Kitty.
‘And that’s how it will always be’ said her daddy, ‘now, what about we go fly the kite in the park?’
Dandlebear smiled at Kitty from the corner of the sofa. She would feel better now, he was sure of it. He folded his long arms over his tummy and closed his big wise eyes and went to sleep.
* This is for a girl who made the very first Dandlebear (and her dad) and for all children, everywhere, who need a hand with putting the jigsaw puzzle back together x