This afternoon we had a really fun pretend play session! The boys all made ‘cupcakes’. We made 3 colours of play dough at home – brown -flavoured with some cocoa, pink and white with vanilla essence.(https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/home-made-play-dough-so-they-can-have-the-cake-and-eat-it-too/) I also cut up some coloured plastic thread that i had lying around into small bits to use as sprinkles. In addition, we pulled out some cupcake liners that we had and the boys were all set to make their own cupcakes. They had such a blast. We even pulled out some pink plastic spoons that i had taken at an earlier visit to baskin robbins. Amu joined in to and kept trying to dig into the ‘cupcakes’ with his spoon!
The twins had their own little birthday party and sang for each other too… Nish invited Sid to his party and Sid went for the party with a cupcake for his brother! They shared the cupcake, decided it was delicious and thanked each other profusely!
We had a few moments of pandemonium when Amu snatched Sid’s cupcake and made off with it, flattening it considerably in the process.
This was great for general pretend play, motor skills – kneading the dough, shaping it, decorating it with ‘icing’ as well as ‘sprinkles’, candles etc. It pushed them to think creatively, have a conversation and share common resources. And it sure was delightful to watch them!
Today, i really missed not having my camera handy…Amu wanted to read a book and so he pushed his box of books out to the living room and called me. I was a little tied up doing something so I asked him to wait…but that does not fit into his instant gratification philosophy with which he leads his life so he shook his head saying “no no no” and started off on a tantrum. Just then Sid came along and asked him what happened. Seeing the closed book box he figured Amu wanted to read and so he pulled out his old favourite (now Amu’s fav too)…Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton. The two of them read it together 3 or 4 times and Sid kept prompting Amu to make all the animal sounds…Amu was only too happy to oblige!
It was such an adorable sight…an almost 3 yr old ‘reading out’ to his 14 month old brother!
Amu paid him in kind…a big spontaneous hug that knocked them both over and abruptly ended the reading!
Sounds like the perfect weekend doesn’t it? It was!
We spent saturday and sunday in lonavala with the whole family…the 5 of us, my parents, my brother and sister in law, a cousin and an aunt who were both visiting from the US.
It was my mom’s birthday and the boys had made multilpe cards for her. They helped me bake a cake too…a really simple and super delicious one (http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/11/13/orange-glazed-cranberry-bread/)…well, more a bread than a cake but super deelish and i strongly recommend the recipe. I did not need to modify it all that much…only substituted almonds for the pecans.
The garden was explored and re-explored. We found jackfruits in varying stages of growth…grapefruits and spider webs on the grapefruit trees. We discovered dew, the smell of lemon flowers and the compost pit.
Sid made an interesting analogy to a garbage dump truck when he was observing the gardener sweep and collect the dry leaves and flowers before dumping them into the pit.
We did crayoning and painting and the highlight of the painting was a large compound wall that we started to paint. We have decided that it will be a collaborative family mural. So every time we go there we will add to it. This time we started out with a simple tree and all of us made palm prints for leaves…so the tree has palm prints for the smallest member Amu as well as for the oldest members (my parents and aunt). Nish added some “details” at the bottom of the tree as well.
Nish learned how to bounce the ball!!! And Amu managed to climb up a ladder when i turned away for a minute. He also discovered the big garden broom and got very busy!
The weekend was even more special because my dad received a prestigious award and so it was celebrations all around! All three boys loved the time with their family and the attention that came along with it!
We really had a wonderful time!
This week has been great for us..in addition to the Prabhadevi Fair that we went to a bunch of times, we also got to go to the Worli Fest on Worli Seaface. Since we were away for the weekend, we were only able to attend it on Friday evening but even just thaty much was loads of fun. We went together with a friend of the twins (from school) and the kids were super excited about something as simple as going out with a friend. We got to Worlie Seaface and first saw a stage with some musicians performing. It was a catchy hindi song and soon all four kids (baby amu included) were grooving away to the beat. Their friend grabbed Nish’s hands and led him to his first “dance” which he totally appreciated as was seen by his spontaneous hug a few minutes into the dancing. Sid had his arms out like a plane and was running around in dizzying circles, miraculously managing to avoid the people who were walking there.
Next we came to another stage with an acapella group performing and the kids were mesmerized by the sounds that the musicians could produce without having a single instrument!! Sid tried a few sounds and then settled down to listen and shake a leg!
We also had our first meeting with some clowns. And the boys were initially a little apprehensive when they looked at the painted faces and colored hair. Their Thing 1 and Thing 2 dressing up helped them relate to the hair a little better and in a little while they were shaking hands and enjoying the juggling and stilts and funny faces.
We ended the evening with some delicious corn on the cob enjoyed by the sea with lovely music and great company!
The only thing required was a bathroom facility …we had to head back sooner than planned because the kids needed a bathroom and there simply wasn’t one nearby 😦
Yesterday we were at a birthday party…when the twins got dressed up to leave, Amu quickly scooted to the shoe cupboard and pulled out his sandals too waving ‘bye-bye!!!!” exuberantly to all who were around. Then he went and positioned himself by the door while i swallowed down my sighs and picked him up to give him back to his nanny…he want coming with us because this was a school kid’s birthday party and i barely knew the host or kid. The twins were sad too because they wanted the baby to join them but i wasn’t comfortable just adding a kid to the guest list so we had to leave him behind. It was really sad because he so wanted to come with us 😦
The twins were super excited about the party, about the car pool and about driving to the party with two of their friends. So the crying baby was soon forgotten and in a bit when we reached the party they ran off happily, bouncing from one cool thing to the next. It was a Thomas themed party and the twins had a complete blast. Since they knew all the other kids it worked really well for everyone and they played nicely with each other.
I thought they had forgotten all about Amu’s sad sad expression and crying but i was so mistaken. Because as we were leaving, they collected one extra dinky car toy for Amu, they got the balloon lady to make 4 balloon shapes for him, they asked the hostess for a small book for him and they also took a big bunch of blue balloons. (of course, i was carrying all this and the return gifts too!) When they got home Amu was sleeping so they played for a bit and went for a shower. Just then the baby got up and came squealing to see his brothers.
Sid, all soaped up, immediately started telling him about the party and loudly and proudly announced “i got balloons for you Amu! blue balloons and green and purple! And a car!” He aws all ready to dash out as he was but we got him to wait.
The cutest bit was when Sid and nish came up with their m&ms and offered one each to the baby. Sid gave me one in my hand and then instructed my to “crunch it” and give it so he does not choke. After he asked me to “crunch it” he remember i had just got my wisdom tooth removed and was on a liquid/semi solid diet…do he was most worried i would hurt myself.
I love to see this side of the boys!!!
and, on a different note…the party we wentto had thomas plates and napkins. the boys wanted to take the plates home and refused to use the napkins because they did not want to spoil them!
My almost 3 year old Sid is quite territorial and likes to stake his claim on stuff around him. Not necessarily a good thing…just an observation.
Anyway, he was sitting at the table this morning as i ate my breakfast and staring for a bit at my ring. “Aai!” (mom) he finally said after looking at it for a bit. “This ring is very pretty!” “Thank you Sid” i replied. He was obviously not done yet…”Can I have it?” (Big bambi eyes and a smile to melt my heart). No love, this is a special ring. I can’t give this to you. Your dad gave this one to me for our wedding anniversary” (weddings are big in Sid’s mind right now – we recently attended 2). “OK”, he bargained, willing to compromise a little, “then will you give it to me at my wedding?”
That’s a long way off…so i consented. I can give it to you wife Sid i said…is that cool?
Yes he replied. “That is OK”. And, striking when the proverbial iron was hot he quickly added, “And will you then also give me you macbook and the kindle and your phone too?”
I haven’t been this excited about a fair since i can’t remember when…probably also because I have not been near one since i was 6. We used to have a fair in the Gowalia Tank ground near where I gre up but they stopped it when I was really little and that was the last I saw of a fair. But I still remember how exciting it all seemed to me then…the lights, the giant wheels and the car rides…and all the cheap plastic toys on display! The little snack stalls and the bright balloons.
All these memories came flooding back when we saw the Prabhadevi Fair (jatra) being set up a couple of days ago right by where we now live. The boys have been running to the window to peer at the preparations since mid week when a bunch of trucks came along with all kinds of equipment for the set up. And on thursday night when they started testing the ferrous wheel and the bumping cars and other rides the boys were positively bouncing with excitement..amu included! When the lights came on they oohed and aahed with delight and although it was a school night I gave in and took all the boys down with the nanny too. A few of the little kiddy rides had started and the boys were super thrilled to sit on a train and then a helicopter and a bike.
We walked past stalls and stalls selling all kinds of toys..ones I had completely forgotten about. And it was sweet to see how the boys were attracted to the crazy junk just like i remember being at that age. We spent time watching a rickety tin boat float around a tub, we saw little stainless steel utensils for kids to play with and i may pick them up and add them to our fairly western cooking set that the boys already love. There were tiny graters and sieves and mortar and pestles, teeny tiny buckets and pails and tubs and even tiny pressure cookers!
Stalls with jewellery had them enthralled too as the cheap baubles glittered in the neon lights and tinkled with the cool evening breeze.
It was difficult to walk away, but we left determined to be back. The boys made notes of what they wanted to do on the next trip there…the motorbike roundabout, the stall with (almost ready to break instantly) plastic cars, a keychain shop that they found fascinating amongst other things.
The fair is around for a week and we are going to get our fair share of the excitement there. It looks like it is going to be a bright and colourful week ahead!
I have been working on a workshop plan on using free play in preschool classrooms and it got me to revisit the concept of play. One thing that i have realized just based on my observations of my 3 kids is how important play is for them…it is not just play…it is work…important work for them. It is an opportunity for them to learn at a pace that they are comfortable at, a safe space for them to work on skills that they are trying to master. It allows them to develop socially, cognitively and emotionally…and of course physically.
Today, in a time of classes and courses and learning camps of all kinds in addition to school and private tuition classes, we seem to be rapidly and completely taking away the most natural learning experience from our children…that of play!
And when i say play, i am not talking about having fancy expensive toys and learning aids..certainly not flash cards and learning CDs…but just allowing kids to interact with each other and the natural environment around them in order to learn and grow and hone their skills.
While I try to structure some activities for my three boys everyday, we also have large chunks of free play time in the day where the boys gravitate to whatever they feel like doing…cars and a road map, playing with their kitchen set, painting, pretend play, puzzles and blocks. They climb onto furniture and jump of beds and couches…they try to turn somersaults and practice pouring from one glass into another. The twins have elaborate conversations and ‘bake’ cookies and cakes for each other, pretending to measure flour and sugar and milk and eggs. They put on pretend gloves to pull out yummy baked stuff or check each other out with a stethoscope. Just last week they were both pretending to be doctors and checkin each other…with Nish planning an elaborate surgery through the belly button for Sid who complained of having very hard potty.
It is a whole world of detailed fantasy and it seems alsmot criminal and stifling to take it away from them. As my kids get older and probably busier too, I need to keep this in mind and avoid falling into the trap of signing them up for a zillion classes just so they can do everything i couldn’t!
We love Dr. Seuss…and it was almost natural then that our first choice for a fancy dress/ costume birthday party was based on a Dr. Seuss book (as an aside i must share with you how Sid and Nish were pretend playing at being doctors a couple of days ago…one claimed to be Dr. Seuss while the other chose to be Bela aunty – their pediatrician). Anyway, so we (as in me with consent from the twins) decided it would be cool to go as Thing 1 and Thing 2. The costume aws super simple to put together…took full sleeved red tshirts and red shorts. I cut 2 circles of white foam on which I wrote Thing 1 and Thing 2 in bold black marker. Then i got two blue wigs from a nearby store (my dear old Sahakari Bhandar) – i walked in there to pick up some supplies and saw the blue head gear on a 70 % discount (mumbai indians merchandise). So the wigs were super cheap and the boys can use them later for pretend play and dress up time. That is all it took. The clothes, with the foam piece sewn onto the front of the tshirt, the cool blue wig and red crocs and we were all set. The boys were so excited and amused with their costumes! And so was I. And it was so so simple to put together using stuff that was just lying around at home! I was very tempted to go as the Cat in the Hat but i eventually stuck to wearing a cotton shirt and my jeans!! For their friends who were familiar with the Cat in the Hat it was fun to see the two and their friends’ reactions to them.
Tried some “mess free art” with Amu this morning. He was looking so mopey after the twins left for school that i fel we had to do something to cheer him up a bit. So, i took a ziploc bag, aquirted 4-5 diferent colored paints in, closed the bag and sealed it shut with tape for ensuring it did not leak out. Then i put it on the window pane with tape and let Amu explore. He totally liked it till he figured he could yank it off with sufficient effort and then it was moved to the floor.
It allowed him to watch colors swirl and mix. He could trace lines on it using his fingers and other objects and he tried squooshing it with his toes too. Mess free and definitely fun. Going to put i some glitter and googly eyes next time!