We (my family and I) recently adopted a kitten. His name is Dusk and he is now about 11 weeks old- so he’s a pretty tiny kitten.
However, Spunky Brewster- as I have lovingly nicknamed him, is as Spunky and as happy as can be.
Since adopting him, I’ve been thinking about the lessons in life that having this little kitten has taught me and I wanted to share them with you all.
Pretty much from the second he wakes up in the morning or from a nap, Dusk engages in some sort of play. Now, he IS learning APPROPRIATE forms of play- for example, not using my hands as biting or scratching toys- lol. But overall, he loves to play, interact and have fun with whatever he can find around him. I’ve talked about play before at Brain FUNdamentals and how we do a lot of it, but Dusk has reminded me to play in other areas of my life too. To find what is around me and make it fun. Chores? Put on music or a podcast. Laundry? LET the kitten hide in the basket- it makes it more fun!
Taking a pause in our day is SO important for our mental health. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of people talk about it, right? Well Dusk mostly takes his pauses in the form of naps. Cutest time for pictures of course- little kitten Zzzzzz’s. ALL of us however, need more pauses in our daily hectic lives. You see, in the pause is where your brain and nervous system have a chance to settle down, and it can also be where some of your most creative ideas pop into your head. Like this blog post idea for example!
3. Don’t worry about the future:
Kittens, and I suppose this is probably true for a lot of healthy, happy pets- live in the moment. Dusk isn’t worried about his next meal appearing on the kittie place mat. He knows (and trusts) that we will take care of him and that he’ll be provided with the things he needs- food, water, a comfy and warm place to sleep. So often, we as humans worry WAY too much about the future, OR the past for that matter. I’m not above this, just to be clear. I have ALSO spent way too much time worrying about the past or future. But you know what? As I learn to trust the Universe more, I’ve become more like Dusk. Doing my best to live in the moment and not get so hung up on what happened in the past, or what is still to come. And, I do my best to help the kids I work with to also do that. It’s a hard one for sure, but we can all take a lesson from an 11 week old kitten and stay in the moment. ENJOY the moment.
4. Find your people:
Dusk found us. Well, technically I guess you could say that WE found HIM, but still, the way it all played out was pretty crazy, but that’s a story for another day! Finding your people is an important one though. When you find the place where you belong, where you can be yourself, where you know you can say what you want to say without worrying about being judged!
I strive every day to have Brain FUNdamentals BE that safe place. The safe place where kids (or parents) can say what they want or need and not feel like they are being judged. We meet kids where they are and move them forward. SO many kids come to Brain FUN already placing judgement on THEMSELVES. They certainly don’t need any more judgement and they often need helping seeing that there IS another way. Believe me, Dusk is the first one to speak up if he’s not happy with something but he found his people and he BELONGS here.
5. Sleep is important:
I mentioned earlier about how Dusk likes to take naps as his “pause”. And honestly, if he DOESN’T pause and take a nap, he gets a little cranky and crabby! His play “pounces” become more like “assaults” and he stops wanting to be held or cuddled. Sometimes he even cries his little kittie cry, with eyes half-opened as if to say “Please help me to get to sleep mom!” How often do we, as adults, get the sleep we need? How often do our KIDS get the sleep they need? If kids are having trouble sleeping, and aren’t getting the needed shut-eye, you can bet that the next day isn’t going to be so pretty. Am I right?
At Brain FUN, we teach simple, calming movements that parents can do with their children that can be very useful in getting a better night sleep. And then, the next day will undoubtedly be better for everyone!
6. Let them be:
We also have another (older) cat, and a large dog. Dusk is learning that SOMETIMES, the best thing to do is to just LET THEM BE. Dog has a chew toy? LET HER BE. Cat is in a favorite sleeping spot on the cat tree? LET HER BE. Dog tail wagging looks like a fun toy to pounce on? LET IT BE! Letting things be is sometimes the best way we can avoid unneeded angst for ourselves. Sometimes I use the analogy “Is this the hill I want to die on?” As gruesome as that might sound, it’s really just a way to think about- “How important is this thing that I’m getting stressed out about”?
Unmatched socks on my teen? LET IT BE. Dishwasher didn’t get run on time? LET IT BE. Is it always easy? No, but just like Dusk, I’m learning and getting better with it each day!
Having a new kitten can be exhausting at times, but oh-so-rewarding as well! He’s taught (and reminded) me a lot about life and the seemingly-simple lessons that myself and others often forget.
Take a lesson from Dusk. Play, pause, don’t worry about the future, find your people, get plenty of sleep, and let go of stressors that don’t need to be stressors.
AND, if you ever want to come play with a super spunky, happy kitten, either get one of your own- or… just come and play with mine. Maybe, he has more lessons that are JUST RIGHT for YOU.