Monthly Archives: May 2014

Face to face

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ok..the title of the post does not remotely capture what i want to describe here…

we were chatting at the dining table yesterday – the twins and I – when suddenly Sid announced in his typical style “i want like Nish” I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted…the T-shirt, Nish’s shorts (since Sid almost instantly covets anything Nish chooses…a constant source of post bath wars) ..so i firmly said – “NO..you need to be OK with what you have worn now. We can’t keep changing clothes all the time” But i want like Nish” he insisted. “You want what like Nish?” i tried to clarify not in the remotest expecting the reply that followed: “his face! i like Nish’s face Aai! I want to be Nish” Not at all sure where this was coming from i prodded (especially as Sid can be extremely vain about his looks and really chooses his clothes and combs his hair, etc) “What is it that you like about his face love?” “Everything…his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his hair”. 

But sweetheart, you have a gorgeous face too! You are so handsome” I said. “Yes Sid”, Nish interjected, “I love your eyes and cheeks and hair and even your thumb (which is often in his mouth)”

“Okay” said Sid as he mulled over this for a bit. “But who decided???” he asked in a bit. I was engrossed in my newspaper by now and it took me a few seconds to refocus. “Who decided what?”

“Who decided which one gets which face?” 

“Yes” Nish joined in. “Who made the face actually?”

I wish i could answer that but how do you break down genetics to such a rudimentary level? And even then, how do you explain probability? I took the easy way out…”I think God may have done it but i am not quite sure” I said. 

Anyone who has a better idea how this can be addressed the next time it crops up.

As an aside, i need to be more mindful of whether someone else is complimenting one child and not the other or whether this was a general line of enquiry. 

Eureka moments in the bathtub

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Just letting kids explore is such a wonderfully organic way for learning to take place. short of running out of the bath tub yelling eureka, we had our own little moment of discovery this morning.

Water play has become a fairly standard feature of our mornings now and today all three boys were playing in the bathroom post their morning painting session. They had all their usual paraphernalia .. mugs, cups, plastic and rubber bath toys, a couple of brushes, a shaving brush, etc and were busy playing. Suddenly Nish called out to me.  “come quickly!!” he hollered. “Look how the water is going round and round. It’s spinning!” He had been moving the water round and round with his hand and it continued to do so for a bit even after he retracted his hand from the water. He did it again and this time tossed a plastic bottle cap in and watched it swirl round the tub. He tried adding other stuff …an empty soap bottle, a rubber duck, a plastic mug. He watched with fascination as they all spun around the tub with the water. Sid was watching this from his tub. As Nish swirled the water faster and faster Sid said – “Look! there is a hole in the middle of the water”…and yes there was…the water level was raised along the sides and almost disappearing at the middle. As Sid saw the stuff going round and round he said “it’s like our washing machine!”

A good starting point for exploring some introductory physics!!! 

Another interesting observation was made by Nish in the sandpit today. He had a plastic cup with him and he pressed it down on the sand to make an impression. “I am making designs and prints!” he told me. Then out of curiosity i guess, he tried the same thing on the concrete edge of the sandpit. “Does it make a design there too?” I asked him. “Nope!” he replied. “It is very hard…it is made of stone. You can only make the design on sand”. Another great starting point for scientific enquiry! 

There is a science lab all around…and every exploration can lead to new discoveries and learning! 

Discovering Bangalore…one green space at a time

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Like i mentioned in an earlier post, one of the first things to strike us about Bangalore is the number of green spaces. While there are a zillion things that I miss about Bombay, this is one thing that i really like about our new city…the trees and open green spaces! 

Anyway, we have now visited Sankey Tank, Cubbon Park and the Bannerghata Bio Park. Sankey tank is nice…green, lovely promenade by the water..and a couple of large play spaces for kids. A little run down given the number of kids using it but fun all the same. The boys enjoyed running around and exploring all the jungle gyms! The highlight for Amu was the monkey dustbins and he kept looking for stuff to toss inside! 

Cubbon park was lovely too…we went to the Bal Bhavan there and indulged in a train ride on a toy train (Putani express). It was a fairly realistic experience…we bought tickets, waited at a ‘platform’…moved solpa this side and solpa that side and then finally boarded the train once it had pulled in. The boys were most excited and Amu waved “bye-bye” to all and sundry as we chugged along. The train ride also gave us a good sense of all the other stuff in that park…the play areas, the science park (which i think these guys are still too young for but we will come back to it later i am sure). Then we treated ourselves to some candy floss – the boys’ first taste and I think amu fell in love with it because he grabbed at it and took fistfuls to shove into his mouth saying “nice!”

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Next we moved to another part of Cubbon Park…a large green expanse with a big climbable rock in it. The boys pretended to be climbing a mountain and that was loads of fun too! Then we tossed a frisbee around and played some ball before heading back home. 

Bannerghata was nice as well…much farther than i thought it would be and it took us over and hour to reach. The boys were fortunately pretty decent and patient on the way there and back so it was fine…else it could have been a nightmarish drive. 

Once there we decided to do the “safari”. We waited for our bus and then when it arrived, got pushed and shoved behind as everyone else clambered to get on first. Nish was horrified and asked me at least thrice why people were pushing and running and i really did not have an answer for him. We ended up on the absolute last seats as everything else was taken but then the conductor took us right to the front and gave us seats just by the driver so we actually lucked out big time and had a super view!!! The safari was quite decent actually…especially after the animals we have seen (or not) at the Mumbai zoo. there are large green enclosures with gates that we went through and each enclosure has a particular animal. So we saw bears, tigers (regular and white), lions, elephants, peacocks and deer. We got really close to some sleeping lions too. The boys really enjoyed it and we got some good pictures as well. 

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After the safari, we decided to skip the zoo as it was really hot and the boys looked tired too. We treated ourselves to some nice coconut water and cold cucumber slices before heading back home.

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All in all, a nice experience, though the vendors are extremely unfriendly and everything is sold above MRP. 

Next stop Ulsoor lake!

Sand and water play table

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SO, one of the super blessings of moving to Bangalore is the space we can afford now! The apartment we are renting has lovely balconies and we have converted one of the balconies into an art, craft and general fun activity space. So, we have been doing lots of painting, play dough stuff, crayoning and messy play. The highlight for the boys is the ‘clean up time’ which includes cleaning them up before we clean the balcony. So, after the boys are done painting, i just put a few tubs of water out in the balcony and the the boys sit around in them, splashing, pouring, transferring water. Then we pour the water out and do a quick mop and head to the shower 🙂

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Anyway, yesterday we finally inaugurated a super gift that a friend gave us before we left Mumbai….a sand and water play table from ELC. We set it up in the balcony and had sand on one side of the table and water in the second tray. The boys had a sooooper blast! They dug, made all kinds of things with the sand toys, watched the water run down the different attachments, poured the water into little containers. The sand and water soon made their way into each others spaces and at one point Amu had managed to climb into the tub/tray of the table. He was covered with sand from head to toe and could have well been sitting on a beach in Goa. All the boys were in their swimming trunks anyway! 

I am thinking of so many other activities with this table. Can use it to play with goop, colored water, soapy bubble water. They can do pretend fishing, scoop things out, practice using tongs, etc. Cleanup was a little tougher because the sands gets clumpy and tough to clean out completely, but that is certainly not going to stop us from doing this again and again and again!!!ImageImage

Coping with change

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The boys have generally seemed pretty excited with the move to a new apartment and new city. They are enjoying discovering new places and seeing different things. However, there are small things that they say or do that reveals how unsettled they are. Sometimes it is just a passing statement…at other times it is a meltdown over something really small and random. 

The crankiness of the first week has now passed and the boys seem more comfortable with their new surroundings. Yet, just two days ago, as I was changing Nish into his night clothes after his bath he suddenly asked me “where is the brown cupboard?” “Which one?” I asked. “The one with the mirror. with my clothes” he replied. That was the closet in our old apartment i clarified to him. That stayed in that apartment. “here you have a new closet. It’s bigger too!” i told him.  Suddenly Nish burst into tears…”i don’t want this one. I want my dark brown closet. I don’t like this bigger one”

I doubt the disquiet was really about the closet though and i spent a little time cuddling with him and talking about how the most important things have all come with us to Bangalore…the people! He mulled over this and then Sid suddenly said, “but ‘didi (one of our nannies) did not come”. true true.

Then, last evening on a Skype call with my mom, one of the boys said something quite interesting again. Mom asked if they liked Bangalore and the new place. Sid promptly said “this is not really our house” And Nish added “but we have put all our things up so it looks the same”. 

I made a note to myself to talk to them a little more to help them express what they were feeling but there is certainly a lot going on in their minds! 

settling in

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bit by bit…a step at a time..we are finally settling in to our new home in a new city! the place we are staying at is lovely…very green…lots of trees and flowers and birds and butterflies. space to run around, bike, play hide and seek.  The first evening when we went down to the play area after we moved in, i expected the boys to make a beeline for the slides and jungle gyms. i was pleasantly surprised instead to see them run towards all the fallen frangipani flowers. Nish picked one up and yelled with excitement – “look aai! champa flower. but it’s a different colour!” Amu went berserk as well, saying “fowwer! fowwer” as he pciked up as many as he could gather in his two little palms. He then flung them up in the air and squealed with delight as they rained down on and around him! 

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Then the boys started collecting leaves of different shades and sizes (all frangipani). 

 

And after playing for a bit on the slides, they made little mountains and decorated them with flowers. Then they chased each other all over the lawn enjoying the open space! They discovered a strange fruit (i need to identify it), they broke it open to see what it looked like inside.

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They found a bird’s nest and also discovered a tree with a bunch of carpenter ants. 

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Finally, tired out with their running, the twins plonked onto a cool stone spot and shared a few laughs. Image

magical places

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I was humming the song “I hope you dance” …look for it on youtube, it’s lovely…and the lyrics capture quite beautifully what went through my mind as i watched the kids at play in our new home all day today. The packers have dropped everything off and we are now in the fairly tedious process of setting things up. We are staying in a service apartment while our place is getting set up and yesterday and today the kids came along with us to “help”. While my husband and I really liked the apartment, the kind of excitement the boys showed was just wondrous! They ran up and down the stairs, darting in and out of rooms, checking the cartons for their toys, testing the bathroom flushes. They marvelled at absolutely everything. It is one thing to hear an adult say “lovely” and quite refreshingly different when a 3 year looks at a place and says “it’s beautiful!” or when a 17 month old trots up and says “wow!!!”

The kids watched the packers and the carpenters at work and by afternoon they set up their own little “workshop” where they hammered away at random broken toys pretending to fix them, they had a mechanic shop where their scooters got serviced and they took the role playing very very seriously, with all three boys (including my 17month old) blabbering away and participating. Sid put on his socks and shoes, slung a bag over his shoulder, took a little comb out of his back pocket and left to go to “office” while Amu and Nish waved good bye. He then came back yo “the mechanics” to get his “motorbike fixed”. 

The house was a land of endless imaginary possibilities so many of which were being played out so beautifully. I saw a house, a home, a place that i could do up with curtains and furniture and paintings…they saw wonder in the barest of rooms, the cardboard cartons and trash, in the joy of running up and down a staircase…so much so that they wanted to continue playing at home rather than go down to the park or sand play area! I truly hope, my little boys, that you never lose your sense of wonder! 

Changes changes big and small

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This past month has been one of changes. My biggest boy changed jobs and we have moved cities. About 15 days ago, we moved out of our apartment and to my mom’s while we sorted through the tons of stuff accumulated over the years at home. A never ending and fairly difficult task which culminated in the arrival of the packers and movers after which point they took over our place and space and got down to work. Our lives got put away into neatly labelled boxes and we pulled out and put in last minute things. 

For the boys this has been a tumultuous period. First moving out of their home without most of their books and toys. However, since we were at grandma’s place they got a lot of attention and generally had a good time. It was nice bonding for all of them too and baby Amu seemed to have developed a really lovely bond with his grandfather. 

Through the two weeks that we were at mom’s i was out constantly getting stuff sorted and done and running a zillion errands. This couple with 2 overnight trips to Bangalore to finalize the house left the twin – especially Sid, very unsettled and insecure. So we have had tantrums, general crankiness and acting out. Amu has added ‘shaddup” to his vocab courtesy Sid and he generously hands it out to all and sundry (in addition to biting as he is getting 3 teeth all at once). 

Our nanny who has been with us since before the boys turned 1 has not come with us to Bangalore and we have a new girl who the boys are taking a little time getting used to. My old car is sold…and the boys were pretty upset about that too (however, the materialistic fellows were quickly buoyed by the realization that this meant we were getting a new car!) 

I have tried hard to make this move as easy as possible for the boys. we involved them in the apartment search by showing them pictures and sharing our thoughts with them. We got them excited about the new apartment complex and all the cool stuff that comes with it. They are thrilled that we have two floors and stairs that they can run up and down. But they miss school and their friends …they miss their old home and their grandparents and are just generally unsettled by all the changes and lack of predictability. 

I hope they settle down soon because it is hard to see them to clingy and cranky. They are pretty excited too so i guess once we actually move into our new home they will settle down. 

They love the green spaces around them as well…the trees, the flowers and the lovely parks. Will blog more about our outings there with pics!