A creature of myth, and perhaps legend, concocted by the mouths of under 4s who struggle with wordage with their itty bitty teeth and their embouchures trained into muscle memory honed by years of sooking on boobs, teats or sooky cups.
The squiddel is a mysterious, limbic creature hovering somewhere between land and sea but mostly found in mid-air because the illustrator got halfway through illustrating it and realised the natural habitat hadn’t been thought through. It is a shy animal and quite vulnerable if it dozes off at groundlevel: shrews like to tie its tentacles around tree roots. It exists on a diet of pickles and biro ink and the occasional cola bottle. They have a reputation for cheating at rock,paper, scissors and some hypothesise this was the origin of the squiddel/shrew fallout. Hibernation is between November and the last Thursday in March.
The squiddel has found its way into everyday culture in such scenarios as moving up a nursery grouping e.g. “I’m in squiddels now, Dad. Oliver is in budderflies.”. Keen-eyed as they are some toddlers have claimed to have seen squiddels skedaddling up tree trucks but I have only ever caught glimpses of the tail end.
Although there’s been more focus, especially in education, on mental health and wellbeing over recent years it sometimes feels like the progress made in changing our cultures has been beyond slow. Whatever age we are sometimes we don’t have the skills, time, self-knowledge, self-love, patience, kindness, relationships, environments or trust to keep well. Sometimes what we feel is bigger than us.
Especially if we’re wee.
For example, Rowdy generally needs to be shoved in a tree during a meltdown, but at some point later she’ll be more comfortable talking about what’s bothering her.* Other times she’ll regress and drive us demented with babytalk just to get attention and fulfil a need to reaffirm that she’s loved and valued. The Bobcat is an avoider and would much rather play than talk about what’s making him sad which is why he needs someone to play with him and tell them they’re ready to listen if he wants to talk. And make sure he’s hydrated. For me I need nature, adventure, exercise, cuddles, drawing, occasionally woodsmoke, books, laughter and quiet friend-time. And no caffeine. Sometimes a crowbar is necessary to prise laughter out of me. Dynamite if I’m properly down.
Next week whatever works for them might well change again. But it’s import to keep the door open for change.
*Rowdy has never been twanged into a tree but I’m sure The Bobcat would happily offer to build a catapult to do exactly that. (He’d also need to check if Eddie Izzard has the copyright on twanging folk into trees first.)