Monthly Archives: July 2013

No strings attached

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I try to refrain from corny titles to the posts but what can i say..it’s a habit i find hard to kick.  anyway, this is a very different type of string i am writing about…

Like i have said so many times before, kids only need their imagination to be able to have fun…sure fancy toys (like our ELC cooking set) add to the fun but they can manage perfectly well with random junk and non junk around the house and a good dose of imagination.

this morning my boys found a longish piece of plastic string that came as a part of packaging around a carton of groceries from the market. It’s a very ordinary greenish blue string of plastic with a couple of knots along its length form earlier use (yes the glorious and wonderful recycling tradition of India!)

anyway, they pulled and yanked it off the cardboard carton. First they made the most of the carton…Sid promptly climbed inside and tried to close the sides onto himself. Then Nish started pushing him slowly along the passage crying out loudly “Bhaaaji! Kaandaa! Batata!” (vegetables for sale! onions and potatoes). After some time of vegetable sales they tired of the carton like it did of them (i certainly don’t see it being used again as a carton) and shifted their attention to the string.

Sid took the string, waved it around wildly and said “Rhino!!!! run Nishu!! Rhino coming!”. With a loud shriek Nish scampered off..half running half bouncing in his excitement! The rhino metamorphosed into various animals…a panther, a tiger, a leopard and a rhino again…there may have been other roles it played but i was not running through the rooms after the boys so i cannot be sure. 

Finally exhausted they ‘parked’ the rhino by the table and moved onto flipping through a National Geographic magazine that they found. 

our own little plants

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My dad decided to introduce the boys to a little gardening…he got them little flower pots and some mud. Then they filled the pots up and planted a few seeds (methi – fenugreek). He made a makeshift watering can by making a few small holes in the lid of a plastic soda bottle and filling it with water that they could squirt out by inverting it. Dad also explained to his grandsons that they would need to carefully water the plants every day.

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Today is day 2 and the boys have been good about watering this morning. It will be fun to watch them as they see the seeds sprout roots and shoots! 

pretend reading

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I walked into the room to a very adorable sight yesterday. The twins were both sitting on the bed next to each other, each one holding a car catalogue (my dad is considering buying a new car and hence there are catalogues lying around). They were reading aloud to each other and as i listened in quietly i could not help but smile. Here is how the reading went:

Nish: Red car Red car what do you see

Sid: I see a byooo (blue) car yookin at me

Nish: Byoo car byoo car what do you see

Sid: I see a gyay car parking

Nish: Gray car gray car what do you see

Sid: I see two two cars yookin at me! 

This went on and on and they did not seem to tire of the game. It was nice to see them connect things to what they had read before and to pull up that earlier reading and weave it into what they were doing! 

I really loved watching them and had to share this. 

Masterchef 3

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And here’s another cooking post…today the boys made their own chapatis (roti/indian bread). Once we were done kneading the dough we let the boys roll out their own rotis. They rolled it out, added a little jaggery, balled it up and rolled it out again. The cook roasted it on the fire and the boys had a delicious hot chapati for lunch along with some yummy homemade plum jam. (not made by them). 

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It was fun and in addition to the rolling, the boys enjoyed putting their hand into the wheat flour, rolling the ball of dough in the flour and playing a little with the dough. It was fun to see how excited they were about their fresh chapatis.

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ImageWe had done something similar earlier when we read a book called What shall I make? (https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/what-shall-i-make-a-fun-book-to-read/). 

 

masterchef 2

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Given the boys interest in cooking and kitchen activities we decided to surprise them with a present.  While my husband and i were browsing through the ELC section at Mothercare we came across a really nice kitchen set as well as a tea set. It was at a 40% discount and seemed well worth it so we picked it up. This was on Saturday.

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Since the time we got it home there has ben non-stop excitement. The kitchen set has some lovely fake food items too..there are pieces of cauliflower and broccoli, sausages, burger patty and buns, tomato slices and salad leaves as well as chicken leg. There are pans and spoons and a cooking top that has a stovetop on one side and a grill on the other. Put in a pair of AA batteries and the cooking range provides very realistic sizzling and boiling sounds when a utensil is placed on them.

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This has already provided hours of endless fun…they have been busy cooking, making tea and serving us or each other.

Definitely a great buy…now i am off to have some sausages and fried eggs that Nish is making for me.

Masterchef 1

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Cooking seems to be such an important activity for the twins. They love being in the kitchen and watching the action. They want to taste stuff, they are curious about what is inside an egg, about what a vegetable smells like…so a few days ago we decided to let them help us with dinner.

Dinner was simple, soup and pizza. we picked up the small sized individual kiddie portion pizzas for them. They watched us make the pizza sauce and identified the ingredients that were going in. (baby amu made off with one tomato in the midst of the action)

Then we turned the oven on and the boys spread the pizza sauce on the bread. Then they put some shredded chicken and topped it off with grated mozzarella cheese. There were other toppings like olives which they tasted and decided against.

Not only were they super excited about helping make their own dinner, they actually polished it all off with no reminders or requests to eat without wasting.

an evening at the beach

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finally an evening without any rain…i would not go so far as to call it clear skies…but at least the grey clouds were not threatening to burst into showers anytime soon. So, we decided to hit the beach…off again to chowpatty!

We went well equipped…digging material – spades, shovels, bucket rake and we also took a sheet for the baby. The baby of course had very little intention of staying on the sheet…but it was used by me and my mum at least. The twins started out by digging and destroying (i thought of Calvin and Hobbes as i watched Sid gleefully destroy ‘mountains’ and ‘houses’ and ‘cakes’). 

Then Nish pulled out all his dinky cars that he had stashed away inside the beach toys bag and spent nearly the next half hour parking them in the san, around little mounds, in holes and in his crocs. 

In the meanwhile, Sid was running around the beach in a near drunken fashion, his hair flying wildly in the breeze. We played tag (the two of us) and i was pretty tired out too!

He found different types of rocks and scrutinized them. It was funny to watch his face as he lifted up a largish porous rock…he was expecting it to be much heavier! 

Then the boys turned the beach into their kitchen and made all kinds of baked goodies for us. With loud realistic mixer sounds and warnings of ‘this is very hot’, they churned out cakes, cupcakes, biscuits and breads. They picked up sand in little scoops and called it “maida” (flour). 

I drew a hopscotch pattern in the sand and tried to show them what to do, but they ignored all that and then pretended that the hopscotch board was a house. 

it was fun to watch. Then the boys chased crows on the beach running heltter skeltor behind the birds.

Then they found sticks and drew in the mud. 

It was just lovely to see how much children need and appreciate the outdoor!

fun at a party

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we were at a friend’s birthday party day before. The twins had been super excited about the party since the morning ..they had made cards, practiced singing loudly and had already started thinking about the birthday cake. 

When we got to the party they walked around looking at all the balloons and then settled down on a nice deep sofa like spectators to watch the party proceedings. Other kids came in and then the DJ started playing music. There was a games host who was getting all the kids to play games and do stuff along with the music. Everyone was listening to what he was saying, jumping and clapping and playing. My usually gregarious fellows were happy to recline and watch. I tried getting them to join in, thinking they would miss out on the fun but they were really not interested. They finally perked up when the snacks were being laid out. It was almost embarrassing to watch. As soon the the pani puri guy set up his stand, Sid made a beeline for him and kept asking him for puris. In the meanwhile., someone put down a large bowl of chips for the kids to eat after they were done with their games. My twins immediately took up strategic positions, one on either side of the bowl and began to stuff their faces. They were the only kids in the room who were eating…everyone else (except the babies) was busy playing or dancing. 

I tried once again to lure them to join me…and as if to satisfy my need for them to partake in the festivities, they came around for a few minutes and then moved back to the bowl of chips. 

I was a little annoyed thinking that they were missing out on all the fun and action of the birthday party when i saw their faces… they were so happy and enjoying themselves..maybe for them, the fun of a birthday party was the snacks?!  

Anyway, after having munched on chips and relished the pasta and cake they were all charged up and danced for a bit, chased balloons and then settled back down on the sofa with a bunch of books. 

They said they had a blast and they woke up last morning asking me when they had to make the next birthday card! 

rituals

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my four boys have some very sweet rituals…and i am a happy bystander. I love to watch them interact. My husband travels a lot and the kids have learned how to make the most of the time that he is at home with them. The little baby has also started joining in for his share of biscuits. The morning starts with the boys joining us for our morning tea with their biscuits. Then, as my husband heads to the bathroom to start getting ready for the day, the twins follow him to watch him shave and play with some shaving foam. They love running off with his shaving brush once he is done and then lathering their face with foam. 

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Next it is time for breakfast and Dad usually has cereal or muesli. He sits on the floor with the three kids around him and feeds each one of them between his own spoonfuls. Baby Amu makes his way right to the front by edging the boys aside and climbing over any limbs that may be in his way. If he does not get a spoonful fast enough he squeals loudly and makes sure he gets it.  Then, as Dad gets ready to leave the boys hand him his cell phone and wallet and wait at the door till he gets into the elevator.

At night when dad comes home, they tell him about their day before retiring to their rooms. On weekends they hang out with him for a little longer and the four boys horse around while i am happy to sit back, unwind or take some pictures.

 

A fun and simple game

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Last evening after the boys came back from their evening play, they still wanted to do something. Nish declared that he wanted to play a game! I doubt he really knows what a game is but i thought we could do something fun and new for the kids.

So, i took out our box of wax crayons and drew circles, triangles and squares in different colors (red, green, orange and blue) on different parts of the floor. 

Then i got both the boys to stand next to each other. Just to get the energy out i had them hop and dance to me singing and clapping. Every time i stopped singing i would call out an instruction to each of them. “Sid go and hop on the green circle” or “Nish find the red square and sit in it”. We did a bunch of these before the boys collapsed laughing on the floor and took charge of the crayons do their own art on the floor. 

It was good because

1. we had fun

2. it got the boys to use up some of that extra energy

3. we reviewed colors and shapes in a fun way

4. we worked on following 2 step instructions

And there were no winners or losers…just two very excited boys. 

Try it out if you are ‘game’ 🙂