Once again my boys were busy playing ‘doctor doctor’. This time Nish was the doc, Sid the patient and Amu the nurse cum person who brought the patient in.
Doctor, armed with stethoscope, otoscope and syringe: What happened? What is the matter?
Amu: This is the patient ok? I am bringing him to the ‘hopsital’
Sid (lying down upon an old wooden chest that serves as our center table in the living room) – i will sleep here and you examine me pl. I am dead
Nish: I need a nurse. Amu you are the nurse now. Give me my bag
Sid: Doctor, coould you please hold my bowl of peanuts and give them back to me later?
Amu: it is a girl patient doctor…she has a purse. Please give your purse also to the doctor. He will not take it…he will give it back
Patient (female) Sid obliges.
Doctor: OK what happened?
Sid: I am dead doctor. A car ran over me on the road and I had a lot of blood!
Nish: Wow – so you could actually see the underside of the car?
Sid: Yes i saw the underside!
Nish: OK now i will give you an injection and a kissie … tyhen you feel feel much better
Sid: Thank you
Nish: What car was it? The underside looks cool?
And then the doctor, nurse and fully recovered dead patient discussed BMW models and motorbikes…
The summer is really and truly here. The afternoons are hot and the kids really don’t want to go down or outside. I don’t have any help at home and the kids are on vacation so I need to find ways to keep them busy without being super engaged as i need to get more mundane stuff like cooking and clearing up done.
After spending some time in Mumbai we finally got back to bangalore yesterday. The boys were happy to be home and pulled out all the toys they had missed. But today they wanted to do ‘something else’.
I had too much stuff to do, so i found an easy way out…and it really worked well. I put a mattress on the floor. on both sides i lined up the cushions and seats from our cane sofa set and also added dining chair foam cushions.
The boys could make what they wanted of it. Sid decided this was perfect for somersaults and he tried all sorts of things with that..running starts, trying to create and incline using 2 pillows and trying to somersault down that. Amu was most fascinated and a very willing learner…a quick study too. So both master and pupil practiced their gymnastics while Nish decided that the set up was great for his cars. So he had elaborate parking lots, cars going down slopes, etc. He experimented with what inclines would work for the car without it toppling, how fast a truck could go without its confetti cargo flying off, etc.
Intermittently, the gym mat/car course turned into some sort of obstacle course, with the boys hopping form cushion to cushion, crawling on the mat and more. Once their imaginations took over it was like being on auto pilot.
I got dinner cooked and sorted, put a bunch of things away, unpacked… all this with out a single instance of being called in to help or intervene.
We all cleaned up together before we went down for a swim. Cleanup was super simple – just involved putting the cushions all back in place and shoving the mattress back where it belonged.
Definitely something i would do again in a few days!
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 🙂
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!)
Earlier tonight, after the boys were done with dinner and their shower, they were playing in their room, and I decided to watch some TV. So i turned one of the few non-violent, non abusive shows …also one of my favs – masterchef australia! When they heard the TV all three boys came out from their room to the family room and Nish asked if he could watch my ‘cooking thing show’ with me. For my boys who generally get no TV at all even a cooking show seems like a luxury and so Nish cozied up to watch. In the meanwhile, Sid and Amu came up with their ELC cooking set and set it up on the floor. Then began an elaborate cooking session while i tried hard to continue watching Masterchef.
I was served a lot of interesting dishes in rapid succession…broccoli with a delicious sauce and cold coffee to go with it (Sid got into the groove and gave me some chilled water just to make it more real). Amu gave me “yummy yummy chichen” and “cold juice”. Then I had lovely boiled eggs with a specially made ketchup and fresh veggies on the side. Sid even loaded up 2-3 plates and a glass of water on a tray and very slowly and cautiously got it to me without spilling the water.
“Are you having a good meal?” he asked. “Aai, good meal?” Amu repeated after his brother.
Yes indeed little boys I am!
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!