Monthly Archives: August 2013

Art in the bathroom

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So, very different from the poop post…this is about another kind of art in the bathroom. I saw some nice foam animals for the bathroom at someone’s place a while ago and i recently figured it would be a good idea to get kids to do some creative craft during bath time. my boys (all three of them) love to hang out in the bathroom, either to splash in the tub or then to sit with cups and pails and transfer water from one to another. So when my cousin from philly asked if se could send something with another cousin who was coming down to India, i asked for foam sheets. i am pretty certain i can get them here too, just that i am not sure where and i have not had the chance to look around. Anyway, she sent me a stack with beautifully yummy colors…purple, lavender, pink, turquoise, sunshiny yellow and orange. A couple of evenings ago, while the boys were busy eating their dinner, i sat and cut up some basic shapes – squares, triangles, rectangles, circles, ovals and stars. I used only the purple because i wanted to see if it worked and also if the boys liked it. Using these shapes i made some cars and houses on the bathroom walls. Then i turned off the light and went back to the living room. As the boys entered the bathroom, i could hear squeals of delight and surprise. While they were exploring the foam art (it needed no explanations) i quickly cut more shapes from the blue foam sheet and gave it to them. 

All three boys played with the foam making all kinds of stuff on the walls of the bathroom. As long as the wall is wet, the foam sticks. It a no mess, easy to clean and clear and store kind of craft and they loved it. Baby Amu was super curious and kep climbing onto Sid’s back to get a better loot at what was happening! 

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Pooped

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 Meaning 1: very tired

Meaning 2: past tense of poop (vb) meaning to shit, crap, take a dump…pl note – it means already done…past tense…over

 With that little intro let me tell you about my evening. I had thought about writing a post with this title earlier this evening and some events that ensued only made me more convinced that this post was meant to be. 

 We had a bright and sunny evening after a while…we decided to make the most of it and headed to the park armed with our beach set (or the dig dig set as we now call it). The boys spent lots of time playing in the sandpit…detailed play with a dump truck..a construction site..a dump site (no not that dump..i will get to that one later). Anyway, the kids played in the sand and then moved to the jungle gyms and swings and slides. As Sid crawled out of one large green tunnel, he called out to me over the din…i was hoping i had not heard him right because what he was yelling out sounded like ‘potty!’. OK, so mommy kicked right into action. “Come down quick!!! Do you need to go?” Affirmative…oh crap!!! How and where were we going to address this?  The park has no bathroom facilities…there are no bathroom facilities nearby…we were parked at the other end of the park. Nish was most reluctant to leave and it took a very firm and sorry, loud, voice to ensure a quick departure (not quick enough sadly). Picked up Sid and started making tracks towards the parking. “Here comes a fart!” he proudly announced while i quickened my pace and hoped it was only that. It wasn’t and i will not go into further details.  But that’s when i realized how ill equipped some of our public spaces are. I just had not had to deal with this earlier but it got me thinking…we definitely need to think through facilities around parks and kids’ spaces (though of course hygiene and maintenance would be the next nightmare). Fortunately, we live close by and we could get home quickly and change him into a pair of clean shorts…but he was a little traumatized and Nish kept complaining about the smell for the entire ride home. 

The kids were not happy about having their play time cut short and it also started drizzling, so I took the boys out for some ice-cream. Came home and they saw a new book that they decided to squabble over. Sid (who had obviously not done his entire quota of potty) managed to get the book. He wanted to go to the loo but refused to get up because he did not want to let go of the book…and managed to poop in his pants again. He looked at me with Bambi eyes and said potty! I asked if he needed to go and he said “no…already gone” Put him on the pot and started cleaning up the mess. Finished that when Nish came running in wanting to go as well. But he refused to sit on the seat saying it was a little wet. He pulled off his pajamas, took out his blue plastic potty and then tried to take it to the living room for whatever reason. As he was running he called out and told me he had “dropped something”. Yeah…more clean up! 

 So, yes…i am pooped!!! And boy do i know what that means! 

snakes and ladders

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It is still raining..and we are still looking for stuff to do on a rainy day! Thought it might be fun to try a board game with the twins. Twister was a success (minus the right and left) but to be honest we have not played in in a few days now. I thought it would be a good time to try Snakes and Ladders. OK..they have no concept of numbers and cannot count…they know 1-10 by rote because they have heard other kids counting and also, we tend to count things like steps as we climb. But anyway, i decided to go ahead with it.

The next hitch was the board…most boards in the market are pretty small..a square foot at the most…too small right? i figured that those were not going to work for the two year twins and so i went out and got a nice long sheet of canvas and pulled out my acrylic paints. About 2 hours later we had our own bright and happy snakes and ladders board.

ImageWe decided to use tiny cars are counters and started our game. Nish absolutely loved it and we played about 6 rounds straight…Sid kept getting distracted and running off with the board like a cape behind him.  or he decided to flop onto it and take a pretend nap.

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But it seems to have worked well and we played again this morning and afternoon (we meaning nish, me and sid only part of the time). 

A Kiss for Little Bear

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ImageI came across a really nice book la couple of days ago in a small toys and kids’ store at Kemps Corner. This is a little shop where I used to go as a kid with my grandmom to get board games or simple TT rackets. I walked in there after many many years because i saw really nice chunky beads in the store window that i wanted for the boys. After picking up the beads…and some stickers..and googly eyes…and some pompoms and paying the man, i discovered that under a pile of board games and modeling clay was a shelf full of books. I spotted Maurice Sendak’s name on one and pulled it out…That’s how I stumbled upon ‘A Kiss for Little Bear’ by Else Holmelund Minarik. I had never read a Little Bear book before and now that we read this one, i have to go online or back to the little shop to look for the rest of the series. Right from the fairly “wild thingesque” picture on the first page to the delightfully simple, repetitive and circular story line, this book won me over. The illustrations are simple as is the plot. Little bear draws a picture for his grandma…hen delivers it and is asked in return to deliver a kiss from Grandma to Little Bear. The kiss is passed on between several animals till it finally gets to Little Bear who is all set to send it back to his grand mother. 

While this book was sold as an early reader or a book for beginning readers, it can very well be used for read alouds with younger kids. Mine (now a little shy of 2 1/2) really liked it. They knew all the vocabulary and they totally related to the drawing and sending pictures to people bit. Also, it was nice to have grandma featured in the book as my boys spend a decent amount of time with both their grandmoms and often draw stuff for them that they most adoringly keep. 

This may also be fun to do with puppets…Am thinking of making stick puppets (using ice cream sticks and paper) so the boys can try and enact the story as we  read it or for retelling. 

three days in a tent and pouring rain

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We left for our little weekend getaway on friday morning. We were going to Karjat and the kids were super excited about staying in a tent and swimming in a big pool and running around! The roads were super sad…i don’t know what the municipal corporation seems to be doing in that department, but seriously there were craters on parts of the old mumbai-pune highway. At one point, we drove through a rather large one with a big splash and Sid innocently asked “swimming pool hota kaa?” (was that a swimming pool?). 

Anyway, a fairly bumpy 2 hours later we were in karjat at the resort. The kids were enthralled by a little fish pond outside the reception. They generally seem to be fascinated by water bodies and their excitement only went up when they discovered that it was full of fish. One of the resort employees was sweet enough to give them some fish feed – so they could see all the fish come swimming up to them to eat. We saw a lot of really tiny fish and Nish said they reminded him of Swimmy (https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/reading-swimmy-by-leo-lionni/)

As we were getting to our tent, it suddenly got dark and both boys looked up at the sky and pointed out the ‘nimbus’ clouds and predicted rain for the afternoon forecast. Unlike the local MET they were bang on and in a bit we saw a slow and gentle drizzle.

The boys absolutely loved the tent. it was very basic…a large tent with an attached bath, a double bed and an additional single on the side. They darted around the room, crawling under the bed, behind it, checking out the bathroom, the dustbins, the cupboard and the kettle. Then, they took their little bag of cars and parked them nicely on the front sit out porch with our shoes. They tried to climb the poles like little monkeys. 

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Everything around them became a source of wonder and discussion. In the first ten minutes, once the room inspection was done, they found a butterfly with a broken wing in a small ditch, came up with a plan to rescue it (i dissuaded them fearing further harm to the creature), found a strange prickly spiny green fruit and figured out where a small kids’ park was located. We therefore headed for lunch via the park.

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The “park” was a bunch of fischer price slides and houses in a big lawn along with a trampoline and some swings.  Because of the rains and mud, the plastic houses had become a little muddy and there were plants and grass growing inside them. Nish looked at the house for a bit and then pointing to the stuff growing inside it, asked me if this was what one called a “farm house”?  From that point till the time we left, that area in the resort was referred to as the farm house. We let the boys play there as much as they wanted ..it was super wet and muddy but we were armed with a whole bunch of spare clothes and so i did not care how wet and muddy they got. 

Also, sliding in the wet squelchy mud added a whole new dimension of fun to playing football and it was lovely to see them chase the ball all over the wet lawns slipping and sliding every now and then. The baby had no intention of being left out of the madness and so we had him sit on the trampoline for a bit, on the swing with me and then carried him around giving him a turn to hit the ball.

We saw lots of dogs and two horses. The boys were very fascinated with the dogs and Nish tried to have a long conversation with one! 

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When it was pouring, the porch provided hours of entertainment. The boys played with their cars, we did sticking activities, we collected leaves and used crayons to do rubbings. Also, they loved the sound of the rain hitting the tent. The porch chairs were imaginary cars and the boys went on several long drives with long conversations.

 

The boys also enjoyed drinking their milk in tall glasses sitting on the porch. There was fresh cow’s milk from a nearby farm and the twins loved it. Every morning and evening, they would sit with their glasses of hot milk along with biscuits for dipping while my husband and i enjoyed some hot tea. Baby Amu crawled to everyone and got more than his fair share of cookie bits. Something as simple as drinking warm milk from a glass gave them so much pleasure and joy!

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We spent a lot of time in the pool (whenever it wasn’t pouring).

When it was raining we:

-sang songs with actions

– colored with crayons

-did some sticking activities

-jumped on the bed

-played simon says

-read books

-told stories

A lot of the time the twins kept themselves busy with some pretend play or the other. 

All in all, it was a lovely break and one that we will definitely do again! 

Car cleaning crew!

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We got back this afternoon from our weekend getaway, refreshed and happy and with a VERY dirty car. Decided we should get some cleaning done. Needless to say, the twins were infinitely more excited about this than we were and so, armed with a few rag cloths, a bucket and some soap we headed down to the parking lot. 

The boys enjoyed dipping the cloth into the soapy water and wringing it dry (sid figured out that another fairly efficient though messy way to get the water out of the cloth is to flap it wildly in the air).

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They ‘cleaned’ up all the car doors and the trunk barely allowing me to help. So my job was to point to all the dirty spots and they would scrub away while my husband got the mats and seats sorted. 

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Soon the car had drippy soapy streaks and the boys had suds in their hair at which point it was no longer about the car…they decided to clean each other up. I had to eventually cut the ‘bathing’ short when Sid announced that he was going to pull off his shorts and pee. 

The boys enjoyed their first car cleaning experience and, to their credit, they managed to get a decent bit of cleaning done before the bohemians in them took over and it all turned ‘sud’denly into our very own soap opera! 

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Got them into a warm shower after that…they tired themselves out with the car cleaning and were ready to hit the sack as soon as they were done with dinner!

all my bags are packed

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but i am not quite ready to leave! we are off for a 3 day weekend trip to karjat. While the basic stuff like clothes and swim gear has been packed, i am running a list of things through my head that i need to add to the bag.

Traveling with 3 kids two of which talk continuously and ask even more questions is not easy. we are visiting this resort for the first time, it’s the monsoons so traffic is a pain and the road has some construction going on, so i am assuming we will be in the car for a while. 

Here’s what i am taking along (think fun, non bulky and easy to put together)

1. little clip boards with one-sided paper and some crayons

2. rough paper

3. wikki stix (https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/wikki-sticks/

4. Four of their current favorite books: Gruffalo, Swimmy, Cat in the Hat, and Brown Bear for the Baby

5. a small bag with dinky cars

6. banana chips and some nuts (the real ones and not the boys).

7. Music CDs 

Really looking forward to this trip. the twins are super excited too – we are staying in a tent and the resort looks super green – so lots of walking and exploring. Will post pictures and more stories once we get there! 

Goodnight

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Every night we have a fairly fixed routine with some rituals. The boys eat, then have a shower and then we read a couple of books before turning the lights off. I lie down with the twins, between the two of them and we cuddle and i usually sing them a song, patting them to sleep.

Today, as we were in the cuddle stage the baby started crying and so i sat with him on the twins’ bed, nursing him and continuing to sing for the twins.

They snuggled up close to each other. Nish curled his fingers in Sid’s hair and Sid gently patted Nish to sleep. 

It made me tear up …

sex education and gender changes made easy

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Ok..don’t look at me funny… and urologists, plastic surgeons, endocrinologists and counsellors – don’t worry – we are not taking over your jobs! My sons have figured out simple solutions to everyday issues and this is just one of their suggestions to address a problem that was bothering them.

The twins have developed a curiosity about their privates and so a few months ago when Sid walked into my room holding his penis asking me what it’s called, i told him it was called a penis. best to call a spade a spade is my approach. The boys both went through a phase of playing with it, watching it with amazement and wonder when they realized they could use it to aim pee wherever they wanted to. (https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/pissed-off/)

Then, recently, when i was in the shower, the twins barged in, pushing the door together. “Aai!” they called as they were still contemplating a forced entry. “Tu kai kartey?” (what are you doing?” “Having a bath” I replied. “Baghayache ahe!” (We want to see). Protests were futile and they barged in while i cursed the wooden doors that swell up in the monsoons and cannot be fully closed. Triumphant that they had managed to get in they stood and looked at me seeming to get a little worried in a bit. “Aai! Where is your penis???” I am sure a lot of mothers may have had this thrown at them. So i told them that i was a girl and that boys have a penis and girls don’t…after which i shoved them back out of the bathroom. 

The boys appeared to have forgotten our conversation..or so i thought, till, about an hour later, they came to me and Nish almost comfortingly told me not to worry about the penis. “We can go and get you one from Sahakari Bhandar” (our local grocery store/supermarket). 

That, my friends, is how simple it is…and Sahakari Bhandar – you are truly something else as far as my boys are concerned!!!!

knotty boys

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It started raining just as we were planning to step out earlier this evening. The boys were well rested after a nice afternoon nap, their batteries fully recharged and raring to go. 

Decided to introduce them to Twister, albeit a simplified version. Pulled out the game which has been sitting on my shelf unplayed for several years now. Decided it was pointless to get into left and right at this time and figured i would save that detail for the next round of the game.

I spread the plastic Twister mat on the floor and asked the twins to identify the colors first. So we had red, blue, green and yellow (better known as lello). I would spin the pointer and call out where they had to put their hand or leg. It was really difficult for them because their tiny bodies just did not stretch across the length and breadth of the mat and they kept ending up on their little butts but it cracked them up but they did not want to stop playing.

I am thinking it would be fun to make a modified Twister board. Here is what i have in mind. I can pick up a large plain white or colored plastic sheet or shower curtain. On that i can either draw different colored  shapes or animals or fruits or better still buy smaller pieces of fabric /felt /plastic and cut and glue the shapes on. The board can be smaller so that the kids can actually twist/stretch across it. 

I did not get any pics because Junior was in my arms and wriggling madly to join the twins on the mat ..i tried putting him down but i feared he would get sat upon (literally, this time). 

But it’s a fun game to play…especially on a rainy day!