Tuesday, April 14, 2015

N is for Nature love

Taking forward my resolution of letting 'Fun Mum' take over this summer and the kids having sufficiently recovered from their respective illnesses, I decided to renew their friendship with nature. 

As a child I was fortunate to have been brought up in a house with a large garden. We had a list of rose varieties at our finger tips. We knew our verbena from phlox. We knew when the seasonals would arrive in all their colourful glory and when they'd be gone leaving behind the zinnias and the cosmos.

We watched our parents preparing flower beds and then budding and grafting. We were brave enough to occasionally go and stir up the absolutely foul smelling compost pot in the far corner of the garden. 
We were fine with chameleons and lizards roaming around and didn't have a fit if a spider crawled too close. It is rather sad then, that I have a daughter who upsets the entire dinner table if a moth flies by - a moth for goodness sake - it hardly even likes to be noticed!

Ah well, this is one friendship that just might never happen but I would definitely like my children to see what I see when I'm out among the greens. And so it was, that we set out, drawing kits in hand to get to know Nature. It was already mid morning, way too sunny for much running around but pleasantly cool to sit in the shade. I am glad the kids are at the age when sitting down is a real possibility. They planned to draw but got off to a slow start as they sat around with a 'What should we draw?'. Soon however they picked out their spots and settled down.

I sat enjoying the quiet (a rare thing with both of them around) with the odd call of the bird or the sound of a wind chime in the breeze. That was one moment I locked away as my 'happy memory' to be cherished many times over. It is at moments such as these that I'm glad I am a SAHM and have the flexibility to plan my leisure. 

As I watched them I realised they enjoyed walking out with me. It is I who do not make time often enough. We don't even need to go anywhere fancy - just around our apartment complex is enough. Occasionally we go to a park and that's a big treat. H manages to find silly stuff like sticks or weirdly shaped twigs or befriends stray cats while N enjoys picking stones (some of which aren't stones at all but broken bits of glass or coloured tiles), flowers and pretty fruit. Once H even dug up a butterfly pupa. Here are some pictures from one such trip last year.

After we'd done with the drawing, we collected interesting looking twigs and fashioned a family tree putting up different coloured leaves for different generations.

And we pressed some leaves to be made into cards later on.

N also picked flowers that we floated in a bowl.

Being close to nature works wonderfully for the kids. Here's why..

- They stay away from mind-numbing TV and endless gaming.

- They learn to listen to silence and enjoy it too.

Since there are no clear 'instructions' on what they are supposed to do, being out in the open comes with all the benefits of free play. They use their imagination and work out what they can do. Believe me they have plenty of ideas.

- They learn to observe and ask questions.

- It helps them grow up into responsible nature loving adults.

So do make time to step out with the kids. Talk about the trees, deconstruct a flower, study a leaf, follow a ladybug, watch the night sky. Don't have kids? Well go out on your own. Skip the gym and go walk or jog. Take deep breaths, feel the breeze, enjoy the sunshine. It's fun... and just a few days to go before summer comes by in all her glory.

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter N. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mommy wars

The holidays have begun. Yay! Freedom from the early morning rush, the tussle over breakfast, the struggle with homework, the hurry-hurry-hurry. We intend to sleep in, go for long walks, cook and craft and read and watch films together.

This academic year has been exceptionally hard on all of us and I've done more than my share of yelling. Now's the time to make up for all of that. Everything else will wait now - work, freelancing, even blogging to some extent - everything. I intend to be the funnest mama ever this summer - no rules, no yelling.

However, day one of the holidays and I am already wondering if that is even possible. I have a bunch of mums living inside me counselling and debating and struggling to assert themselves. They all have different takes on how I should handle the kids. I wrote earlier about the struggle between Sane Mum and Mushy Mum here. This time round it's the Fun Mum (the one who believes kids should just have fun) and the Evil Mum (the strict disciplinarian) fighting it out. If you would ever stumble upon them you might hear a conversation such as this one...

Fun Mum: Yay holidays! Disappear now, will you?
Evil Mum: Noooo you don't mean that.
FM: Of course I mean it. I love my babies, I intend to show them just how much. We're going to have fun together.
EM (stubbornly): Well, they're my babies too and I love them, perhaps more than you. You'll spoil them silly. I'm the one who looks out for them. I'm not leaving.
FM: They deserve to be spoiled once in a while. It's the holidays for goodness sake. You've done your thing. Your time's up. See you in June.
EM: I thought you'd planned to help them catch up with their studies during summer.
FM: I do remember very well, thank you. And we SHALL do that but in a FUN way. No slogging, no yelling. Leave now, please.
EM (A trifle slyly): You sure you won't need me? Two months is a long time.
FM: Sure, certain, positive.
EM (Pretending to leave): Well then perhaps I'll take a holiday. God knows I need it. By the way I do hope you have a plan on how you'll handle the endless TV watching, the iPad madness, the bickering and the fighting, the refusal to switch off the light at night. I'm sure you have a FUN plan. Goodluck. Ciao.
FM (Flustered): Err umm.. wait on, will you.
EM: Let me see.. Mussourie sounds good this summer or should I head South?
FM: Hey wait, maybe you can hang on at the fringes and show up just once in a while?
EM: What? You requesting me to stay? Sure, certain, positive?
FM (Petulantly): ALL RIGHT I'm sorry. Guess we can't really do without you. But stay out of sight. I'll call you when I need you.
EM: Works for me. (Linking hands with FM) We make the perfect couple, you and I.
FM (Agreeing reluctantly): I guess so. They do need us both.

Edited to add: As it turned out the kids fell ill right on day 1. Both EM and FM have retired to some sorry corner to wait out their turn while Mushy Mum and Fussy Mum have taken over completely.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Five reasons malls are bad for kids

Here's a confession - I like shopping. I well remember the Becky Bloomwoodish feeling when I stepped into a mall after a year of abstinence during my pregnancy (I was on bed rest most of of the time). I'm not a great spender though, thanks to years and years of conditioning - of being taught to think before you spend. But I like browsing, I enjoy window shopping, I love hanging out at coffee shops. However I make sure it's only on weekends. I cannot stand the crowd.

When the kids were tiny I would put them in their stroller and head out to the mall. I'd park them in the food court and dawdle over my coffee while spooning mashed bananas into their tiny mouths. I liked watching people and they did too staring around eagerly with their button eyes. 

A visit to the mall was quite a treat till..

...they discovered their feet

That was the end of all the peace and quite. Since the day they crawled out of the stroller they never stopped. They kept growing and so did their need to explore. They looked everywhere including loos, trial rooms, lingerie sections and under mannequin skirts. 

Then they discovered 'want'

.. and after that nothing was enough for them. It was 'I want' 'I want' 'I want' all the way.

9 years later

I dislike malls with a vengeance. They make the twins go a little berserk. I wrote about their mall adventures earlier hereA friend said it was because I didn't take them often enough, which may be true. However there are other reasons: 

Here's why I'd rather not take the kids to the mall

Malls are exhausting: 

The unending aisles, the walk-walk-walk, the no-place-to-sit (The coffee shop is a bit of a dream with two restless kids tugging at the leash).  Almost always the twins end up cranky and so do I. The air-conditioning and the crowd might have something to do with it.

They offer too many choices: 

And that's not a good thing, not for kids. They end up confused and unhappy as they flit from store to store and toy to toy. Either I am waiting endlessly for N who can never decide what she wants or I'm dragging H away because he wants everything.

The kids never have enough: 

No matter how much we shop or how many games they play, there is always that one more thing they want or one last game they need to play.

They encourage mindless consumption:

Even as a rational adult (I hope!) I end up spending more than I intended. I can fully understand how much tougher it would be for the kids. We started off with the one-toy-each-visit rule. However, even that is such a waste. Why should we shop for a toy (even one) if that is not the purpose of our visit to the mall? What's worse, it will probably be lying forgotten within a few hours of reaching home adding to the ever-growing clutter.

They offer nothing new and the kids learn nothing: 

.. other than mindless consumption. After a point malls are just the same. They do not stimulate the kids' minds specially since they outgrew looking under trial room doors!

Mercifully the kids dislike shopping so I just find it easier to leave them home. Somedays I we do make a trip together - when they need to be fitted out for something or when we plan a gaming zone-food court trip. But that remains an occasional treat.

Do you like frequenting malls?

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter M. With grateful thanks to Mrs Nesbitt who had this wonderful idea of bringing together bloggers from across the world through ABC Wednesday and to Roger who keeps it going week after week.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

This thing called love

It makes one laugh, it makes one cry
It matures in a moment, yet brings out the child
It's the simplest thing yet ever so complicated
It freezes time yet makes the world go round

A strength a weakness, a puzzle to solve

What is it

this thing called Love?

It drives some crazy yet is someone's sanity

Some hold on for it, some let go for it
Some kill for it some die for it
All pervasive yet oh so elusive

Simply strange yet strangely simple 
that's what it is, this thing called Love.

Beyond analysis, beyond thought

Beyond all what the mind has wrought

It is friendship and passion, affection and romance

brotherhood and motherhood, a fleeting glance

A moment of insanity or plain humanity
it's all of that and much much more

That's what it is

This thing called Love.

Linking to ABC Wednesday the brainchild of the wonderful Mrs Nesbitt for the letter L.

Of course L has to be for 'Love'


Related Posts with Thumbnails