Monthly Archives: January 2015

Happy brothers

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My boys are playing so well together nowadays…and in spite of their fighting and complaining, they really do look out for each other. Nish has been under the weather these past few nights…after being asthma free for almost a year, suddenly it resurfaced and with the onset of a a bad cold, and the poor fellow has been coughing, gasping, throwing up at night…day before was particularly bad and he threw up right after dinner. As he was bent over coughing, Sid who had been reprimanded to our time out corner for being rather obnoxious to Nish a few moments ago, came running up to pat his brother and ask if he could help or get him anything. He was so super concerned about his twin that it nearly made me cry 🙂

Yesterday, I kept Nish home. Amu was at home too, down with a nasty cold and cough. So Sid went off to school all by himself. I was surprised he even did, because Nish told me he would not go if his brother were not going to be there. But Sid went. When I picked him up that afternoon and asked him how his day was, instead of his standard reply (FUN! I played and played and played…) he simply said “OK…I was a little Sad because Nish wan not there”

“But did not play and play and play?” I asked him.

“I did…but it not fun to play without him. I was still sad”

When we got home, Sid got a spectacular welcome from Nish who was waiting for his brother to get home. They gave each other giant hugs and then sat down in the family room as Sid filled Nish in on all that had happened in school that day…right down to what they did at circle time and the song that they were singing together.

Nish asked about everyone and Sid dutifully replied to all his questions. Then he produced a crumpled paper from his pocket…a drawing he had made for Nish.

I left the two of them, sitting next to each other, their heads touching, as they continued with their very involved conversation!

Tea Party

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For a while now, the boys have been into trains and trucks and cars. Their imaginary world revolves around detailed construction site related conversations, bikes and the world of Thomas and friends at Sodor.

Our tea set and cooking set have been lying neglected in the cupboard since quite a few months. Yesterday, when I opened the toy cupboard to take out some puzzles for Amu, Nish looked at a box that I very carefully moved to one side in order to get to the puzzles under it. “What is in that?” he asked. “Your glass teas set that Sangana aunty gave you and the other one that Baba got form Ikea last year” i replied. “It’s the glass one?” Sid piped in…fascinated as he is by all things that he usually is not allowed to handle without supervision – glass being one of them. “real kachecha?” (glass in marathi). “yes kachecha” i replied. But with Amu around I am not sure you can play with it right now.”

“He won’t break it Aai” Sid assured me. “Please can we play?”

I was surprised yet happy to see this sudden renewed interest in the tea set. I pulled the two boxed out, lay a rug on the floor and set them up. The boys arranged the cups and saucers on a tray I gave them and then got the glass teapot and sugar bowl. It started out with lovely “tea-time” conversation between the three boys (all pretending to be Baba – dad)

A few minuted into it, Nish came and asked for some pretend tea in the teapot…”You can put water” he told me. “And some sugar in the sugar pot please”. Now equipped with a few small plastic spoons from their other kitchen set they set up a veritable tea party. Sid came to the kitchen and  took a plate of strawberries and grapes that I had kept out as a snack for them.

The three of them poured each other many many cups of tea (and coffee) and discussed their day in great earnest.  They ate the fruits off the little glass saucers and pretended to dip cookies into their tea as well.

It was truly wonderful to watch my three boys so busy…they did not even want to go down and play with their bikes. Finally, they settled for taking their sand toys down and continuing with the world of make believe by making cakes and sand pies 🙂

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What color am I?

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We were sitting and painting / coloring the other day. Sid was doing a self portrait. After drawing his face, hands and legs with a black crayon he decided to color it in. He thought hard as he chose his crayons. “I think i want blue eyes today” he announced and colored his eyes a stunning blue. Then came the dilemma…”what color am i?” he asked aloud as he rummaged through the box of crayons. “Not peach” he decided, discarding different shades of peach. “Try brown” Nish proffered. “What brown am i?” Sid picked up a bunch of browns and help it against his hand. “Not this one…this is like coffee…this is like mud…this is very dark…this is also not right” Finally he looked like he had nearly given up. Then suddenly he said..”But i think coffee colored brown skin looks lovely!” Decision made, he quickly colored himself a ‘coffee brown’ and proudly handed his work to me 🙂

I am planning to have them do a few more portraits and think through colour a little more. Maybe read Shel Silverstein’s poem on Colors to them and see how that goes 🙂

A holiday to remember

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With three little boys, we land up thinking long and hard about where we take a holiday. It needs to be accessible, there needs to be enough space for the kids to run around, we would like it to be nice yet not overly fancy where I am worried about what is getting destroyed next as my boys tumble about the place.  It needs to have some basic facilities like a microwave, etc in the room and also nice food at the restaurant. And it most certainly needs to be kid friendly. It’s tough enough traveling with the mad brood of high energy fellows without getting annoyed looks from waiters and hotel staff.

Anyway, since we recently became members of Club Mahindra Holidays we decided to take our first Club Mahindra Holiday last November. And since my parents had their wedding anniversary then, we planned a trip together along with them and my brother and his wife. All of us drove together from Bangalore to Madikeri, Coorg. The drive was long but nice…about 51/2 hours with a decent halt for lunch,etc.

When we got to the resort we were tired…but just getting in was refreshing and rejuvenating.. The staff was warm and welcoming, the kids absolutely fell in love with the place. They walked around the reception, mesmerized by the little pool of water in the center. They enjoyed the attention and welcome drinks that they were served and all three of them had broad grins plastered on their faces.

The welcome was just the beginning of the warmth and attention shown to us by the Club Mahindra staff. Polite, warm and always ready to help, they truly made us feel ‘at home’. The resort itself was stunning. There were things for everyone to do. Play areas for the kids, lots of lovely trails to walk on, 2 pools, activity centre, movies you could rent, books to read, a space for toddlers to play indoors. There were adventure sports as well and very nice staff members to help with them…so we did a lot of stuff…bungee jumping, quad biking, zip lining, adventure trails…i was surprised that even Sid and Nish felt enthused enough to try out the adventure trail…it was at quite a height and did not seem like something a 3 1/2 year old could do.

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The resort had lots of gorgeous plant and bird life and so, for bird watchers it was really wonderful. We managed to get some stunning pictures of birds and my mom and brother spent loads of time on walks and following birds!

The restaurant was also really nice and kids under 5 eat for free so that made sense too! And the chef and his team were greta in terms of checking with us on what we liked and wanted. In fact for my parents anniversary they even set up a lovely pooliside dinner with us with coorgi cuisine!

There was lots to do around the resort as well and we went nearby to see the abbey falls and an elephant sanctuary among other things.

The spa was incredible too!

But more than anything else, the kids had a really fun time. they ran around, enjoyed the fresh air and plants and birds. they made friends with the staff and generally had a blast. Since there was so much for them to do, so much space to run around, climb and explore I did not have to worry about what they were going to do holed up in a room or having to entertain them.

All in all it was a super holiday and the kids already want to go back. Going to try another Club Mahindra resort soon. I think it was just perfect for a holiday with the whole family and kids!   IMG_6920 IMG_6881 IMG_6683 IMG_6600

Playing with trains and tracks

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It looks like a box of toys…it is actually a whole world of curious exploration and experimentation. I see a track laid out that is being adjusted and fixed for no apparent reason…three brothers arguing and rearranging the tracks and trains and props…If i look closer there is so much more going on. it’s not just a game. I see conversation and collaboration. The three of them are deciding the best way to lay out the tracks. They agree on some things and argue about some other things. It is a process of experimentation. The track can be long and open ended. It can be curved and looped, it can be an oval or a perfect circle. How many pieces make the circular track? Why are some pieces left over? How can we make a track using all the pieces?

Can two trains run on it simultaneously? Nish figures out how to make the trains chane tracks and then takes on that role very seriously, sending Thomas on one route and James on another. Sid experiments with the speed of trains…does it run faster going straight on on a circular track. Does the carriage attached at the back affect the speed. He notices that the engine with the carriage attached tended to derail at a sharp turn. He removed the carriage and noted with satisfaction that James was now chugging along without accidents. He then asked Nish to ensure that James and his carriage stayed on the straighter route with no sharp turns. Amu realized that if he stuck his toe out the train slowed as it touched it and made a loud whirring sound. He kept trying it every time the engines came near him. He also took upon himself to place bridges and tunnels along the way, replacing them every time they were knocked over. As they got into a sort of rhythm with their respective rules an elaborate conversation and imaginary play also started. The boys discussed passengers, freight the trains were carrying…transferring their understanding of trains from books and real life experiences to the conversation and play.

They practiced words that they otherwise did not get a chance to use…derailed (which Amu kept calling delayed much to the amusement of his brothers), caboose, siding and coupling. The words were consistently used correctly including by the youngest fellow who was not to be left behind.

So like i said…it looks like a box of toys…but is it??? It looked so much more like a collaborative experiment in physics!

(Thank you dear ‘maasis’ for the wonderful gift!!! And yes – i finally got batteries!)

Bubbles!!!

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Which kid (or adult) does not like bubbles??? And if those bubbles are super big even better!!! I recently came across a recipe for gigantic bubbles online (http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-giant-bubbles/) and since we had a house full of kids (mine and 2 close friends kids who were visiting for the holidays) I thought it would be a good time to try this out.  We had most of the ingredients the recipe required (only needed to pick up glycerine) so it was easy to put together. I followed the recipe pretty closely….only thing was that I did not have any wool or yarn so i used a stiffer twine type string instead. We got some pretty super bubbles and it was the highlight of our picnic to Cubbon Park! While the bubbles were certainly nowhere near the size that i saw in the pictures, they were definitely much much bigger than the ones we usually get and the boys had a wonderful time experimenting with different methods to get big bubbles. IMG_7529 They blew hard, blew gently and slowly, ran forwards and backwards..constantly trying to get bigger and better bubbles. it was loads of fun and I am planning to try varying the proportions of liquid soap and glycerine to get bigger bubbles next time. Definitely something to try…I had a blast with it and the kids had a fab time too! IMG_7501 IMG_7517 What you need:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dish detergent
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp glycerine

Dissolve the corn flour in the water.  Then gently stir in the remaining ingredients.    Allow your mixture to sit for at least an hour, stirring occasionally if you see the cornstarch settling to the bottom.  (for exact details and images check out the link mentioned in the blog   post)