We do a lot of ‘art’ at home. Crayons, scribblings, painting and markers…it’s almost like the boys need a daily fix of a splash of colour. And sometimes it is just random playing with paint while at other times they are busy making ‘dumpers and diggers and cement mixers’. They tell me they are making cards and sometimes making important and beautiful paintings. I dutifully hang these works of art to dry and then put them away into a plastic folder. Some of them look truly stunning, while others are bright blobs of color.
In any case, i try as far as possible to further recycle these. (i say further recycle because we only use one sided paper or old newspaper to paint on). here are some of the ways we use the art work:
1. Fold the paper and make a simple card. I then use bold markers to write happy birthday or whatever
2. Cut shapes from the art work and paste it on plain paper to make a card or a note ( i used thses as thank you notes for the kids’ bitrthday party)
3. Cut small squares or rectangles to make gift tags
4. use the painted newspapers as gift wrapping paper
5. Stick large pieces of art on a plain newspaper wrapped gift to dress it up
6. placemats that the boys use at meal times
7. book marks that i laminate to give as gifts
8. i have frames some of the art to give as presents to immediate family and very close friends.
This is something i had started doing with my boys when they were just about one and over time we have made different variations.
Initially, for the twins i made a couple of simple story books about themselves, but which had photos of immediate family members. So we would read the books together and the boys would be super excited about seeing themselves in a book. (i actually put the books together and got them printed from zoomin.com – so they looked like real books). They loved to identify themselves, my their parents and grandparents in the pictures.
Later i took it a step further by making a couple of photo albums with pictures of immediate family as well as a few cousins and friends who they see on a regular basis. We would flip through these and talk about the people in the pictures. (i recommend a good sturdy album for this- it will see a lot of wear and tear).
As the boys neared 18 months, i started creating groups within the pictures. So they knew that my parents and brother and sister in law formed some sort of unit – they all lived in the same place. Our cousins were paired up with their spouses and kids, the same with our close friends. This was fun for them and it also helped them remember names and faces of people who they were likely to meet and interact with. We slowly added other cousins and friends who we were close to but who the boys did not see that often.
Now we have a few variations:
I ask the boys to identify people
I ask them where they live (or vice versa – i ask them who lives in Pune)
I ask them to match the families – so i pick one person from the pics and ask them who her son is).
The boys love doing this. They enjoy looking at pictures and i have got some of them laminated to withstand the constant use. It has helped the boys recognize and remember people ..usually before someone new visits, i show them pics and tell them some little anecdote about the person and i find that they are more comfortable with visitors when we do that.
Since the weather has kept us cooped up indoors, we decided to make the most of the random things lying around…here are some pics of the boys being silly!
Here’s some more stuff we tried today:
We have been doing a lot of crayoning and painting since we seem to be stuck indoors a lot of late. Decided we should try something different today. Here are two things we did that the boys liked:
1. Set up three chairs one behind the other and took plastic plates that we pretended were steering wheels. We pretended to be driving our own cars and the boys made very realistic car and traffic noises. We drove to a lot of places including to the market.
2. I set up the bathroom with some papers and 2 buckets with some colored water .. they shoved the newspapers in and squeezed them, mushed them, tore them, soaked them. (Now i have some paper mush that i may want to do something with, but i am not sure the rain and humidity are going to permit me to do much). Boys enjoyed it and played for a bit.
3. I put a bunch of ice cubes in the bath tub and also squirted some shaving foam into it…they had a blast trying to catch the ice cubes which got slippery and started melting pretty quickly.
It was easy to clean up after as we were already in the bathroom. Thinking of trying some painting in the bathroom too…we have done it before and it usually works well. Boys have now just gotten pretty rowdy so am trying to figure out what i can do without it turning into disaster central…even more so because we are now in a rental.
Time seems to fly with my youngest one.. i still remember waiting for every little milestone with the twins while here A is just hitting each one at an alarmingly fast pace. I still remember holding him for the first time in the hospital and here he is now, seven months old already…he is crawling very fast, already standing wherever he can…and more importantly, grabbing at everything he reaches (which, now that he is standing, is quite a lot!).
He has already torn a whole lot of newspapers before i could read them, broken a fancy tea cup that his dad put down for a minute, dropped and then drooled on the TV remote (which thankfully still works).
He is now teething..has two lower incisors making their way out of his gums and he has decided that the newly polished teak wood bench is a much better teether than anything we may have to offer.
He can now reach the knob of the shoe cabinet, the edge of the bed spread and all the low sofas..nothing on these surfaces is safe anymore.
And he wants to be a part of everything his brothers are doing..high chairs, dinky cars, tambourines and maracas.
I was much entertained this morning by the twins…as they are getting older and having more conversations with each other, i am definitely getting more entertainment.
I was reading the paper in bed late this morning and the boys were playing on the bed…at some point, sid climbed onto the footboard of my bed and sat astride it like he would on a motorbike. He clasped the end with both hands and decided he was on a motorbike…vrooom vroom he went. “Nish! Coming?” he asked his brother who obligingly climbed pillion. Vroom Vroom (pronounced bryooom bryooom by Nish)and the brothers were off on their little joyride. “Our motorbike!” Nish proclaimed…to which Sid replied “No, not motorbike…aeroplane!” “Kuthe jato?” (Where are we going?) asked Nish. “To the station…to buy soap and potatoes” was the reply.
Suddenly Nish decided to fall out of the plane and into a dirty lily pond (Sid had fallen in a few months ago and given us all a scare). Sid was quick to follow. At this point they decided they needed me to join their little game and so they yelled out for help..to be pulled out of the pond. I obliged after which they both pretended to be violently sick, making retching sounds and really funny faces.
Then we checked each other for a fever before climbing back onto the footboard which was now a big yellow school bus!
Here’s something else we have been spending time doing. It has ben so wet this past week that it has been near impossible to take the kids out to play.
The boys have a new bunk bed in their room. They have been super thrilled about it ad love playing it. We have turned this bunk bed into a whole new world of make believe.
I put a sheet down from one side (the front…the back is against the wall) and we can then pretend that we are in a little house. The kids take turns ringing the door bell and inviting each other in. They set up their tea set and make fairly elaborate imaginary meals..i am invited in for many cups of hot ginger tea that they blow on to cool down before i sip it. Along with that I am served cookies and toast and sometimes imaginary cupcakes that have fancy decorations on top.
The doctor’s set is used extensively too and post the tea i get a complete medical check up. Stethoscope, otoscope, the thermometer and the BP apparatus followed by a couple of “injiccuns” that i am told will not hurt.
Sometimes the bed becomes a large car or bus and at other times all their cars land up on the bed and are taken on wild bumpy rides over pillows and blankets.
We play at this for pretty long and it keeps them busy. And it is amazing how much children like to imagine and how they enjoy it!
Literally! The twins are going through one crazy phase right now…a phase that i am hoping is a short fleeting one. I have heard and read about kids going through curious phases about their bodies but my twins have taken this a step further. They have discovered how they can pee at will..stop and start…aim and shoot.
This has now become a game and my completely toilet trained 2 year olds who wake me up at night to go to the bathroom and now stripping and peeing all over the place.
I was reading the newspaper day before when i overheard a conversation between them. “Nish! Sid taking pants off!” To which his brother replied “Nimi too!” I decided to ignore this turn of events and focus on the news. The boys had been playing with their tea set before this and all the tea cups and dishes were on the living room floor.
Suddenly i heard Nish tell his brother, “This cup here!” i heard a strange tinkle and buried my head deeper in to the paper. A few more instructions followed and i looked up to see 4 tea cups that had now become pee cups and a puddle on the floor. Several deep breaths later i asked them to throw the pee into the pot and to get a mop.
All cleaned up with a mop and disinfectant, i walked into their room only to fins Nish on the top of the bunk bed getting ready to aim at the ground from his vantage point. I finally snapped and yelled “Stop right now or you are in big trouble buddy”. And by yelled i mean yelled…paint…food…markers…potty accidents i can deal with…but two boys deliberately peeing everywhere got my goat.
A little later i again heard Sid say “do susu here?” to which Nish yelled “Stop it BUDDY” and they both burst out laughing…
A few hours and a cold coffee later i thought about what they were doing and recognized it was best not to make a big deal of it…need to deal with it better than just yelling. it obviously does not work and the boys only seem to find it funny.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
It had finally stopped raining last evening…in fact the sun was out and it was a clear evening. I decided to take the boys out to the park near home. They had spent the afternoon fighting over the same toys and throwing tantrums and I was really tired of the noise and the chaos. Nothing like a few hours in the good old outdoors!
Right outside the park, very strategically stationed, was the balloon man…not just balloons but a whole stand full of cheap plastic goodies like cars and trucks and rackets and balls and other bright toys that most kids seem to gravitate to. Cutting a long story short, we finally entered park about 50 rupees lighter but with he additional baggage of a pair of rackets and an ambulance.
Nish was walking around the playground holding his new ambulance in his hands and taking it along on the swings and slides. Another little boy started following him around and tried grabbing it from him. Nish protested and held his ambulance tight and moved away. The little boy burst into tears and his mother tried distracting him. I took Nish to another jungle gym but the little fellow was looking quite disturbed. “Where is the boy gone?” he asked. He looked around, located the boy and gave him the ambulance.
i really wasn’t expecting him to do that and I was really moved to see this empathy and ability to share without me asking him to.
Then, a little later, Sid did something similar. He was on the swing and he saw a girl come and wait for her turn. He looked at her and said Didi turn and promptly got off.
i am so glad we got YouTube for a bit. I was able to appreciate the boys better!
Things to do on a rainy day…
The monsoons are here here with a bang and suddenly I am left wondering what to do with my twin two year olds at home. With my 6 month old its not that tough but the twins are full of energy which needs to be constructively expended.
I am trying to compile a list for myself and other parents..will try and put in several posts with stuff that I am trying out.
1. Experiencing the rain…there is something so magical about the first rains..poets have written about it, all mumbaikars talk about it, the young and d alike.
My boys too were so fascinated. The thunder and lightening were a new phenomenon too and they preceded the rain. We put on a couple of songs..I hear thunder, it’s raining it’s pouring and also These are a we a of my favourite things from sound of music.
We looked out of the window at the rain and the people and saw raincoats and umbrellas. We noticed that the sky was full of grey clouds and I told the boys about the rain in the clouds. We learned that there are different clouds…the grey ones are called nimbus clouds.
Then we put on raincoats and flip flops and took out our umbrellas. It was time for a drive and a small jaunt in the rain. We went to worli seaface and watched the waves. The twins splashed in the puddles and ran with the wind and raindrops hitting their faces. We tried to catch raindrops too.
The twins practiced opening and shutting their umbrellas, squealing with delight every time.
We noticed wet crows and pigeons and made friends with two wet stray dogs.
Then we headed back home…. Had a nice hot shower and a glass of milk with cookies and watched the rain making funny drip patterns on the window pane.
Sure they could have caught colds or a chill but they did not and honestly we all had such a wonderful time.
This is probably not something I would do too often but I wanted the twins to experience the rains like we had as kids and they had so much fun!