Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Half and making good guesses!

We were reading a Dora magazine that we have just started subscribing to. It features Dora the Explorer, one of Bebu's favorite characters. This is a children's publication entirely filled in with all sorts of activities, puzzles, little stories and colouring pages.

Today afternoon we were sitting together going through the magazine. There was a page that had a picture puzzle of sorts.There were a total of 6 cupcakes on the page and the question read, "How many cupcakes will Dora and Boots have each?"

At first Bebu said "6". I didn't say anything.And then I explained to her that they had meant that Dora and Boots would be sharing the cupcakes.

She said "You mean Half? Oh! that would be three".. after staring at the page for a bit.

I knew that she had heard the word "half " many times. We have baked together - so I am pretty sure I have said "half a cup" atleast a dozen times. "half a bucket", "half a cookie", "half my brain".. the list was endless. I knew that the word "half" was entirely a new thing to her but I hadn't quite ever explained it to her

So while my heart was leaping in joy on learning that she knew how to figure out the half of something, I managed to maintain my composure and quietly asked her, "How did you know it would be half?"

And very matter of factly she replied "I just made a very good guess".

Friday, 21 February 2014

Child's play?

Idioms are very interesting indeed. At some point words and phrases take on meanings. I looked up the meaning of the usage "child's play" and found that it meant "a trivial matter".

Gingy loves stacking blocks. She is drawn to them. She can sit with them for a long time. Sometimes by herself. Sometimes with one of us. She loves it when we join in, since her towers get taller. If we are with her and they crash down, she claps. If she is alone and they crash down, she cries. As she stacks block upon block, her little heart probably says, "How about if I just add one more"?

Watching her play with blocks for the past few weeks, a few words have come to my mind. I have learnt that building towers involves:

Being lost to the world.
Getting better.

Now that's a lot of words!

Whoever coined that phrase hadn't probably met Gingy with her blocks yet:)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A gift in my backyard!

It just happens that we live 5 minutes away from the campus of the University of Pune (UOP). I learnt from wikipedia that it stretches over 411 acres. That sounds really nice considering the urban sprawl that is quickly encapsulating Pune city- not unlike many other places in the world.

We used to go very often a couple of years ago. I used to take Bebu by myself during the quiet morning hours when she was younger. I am not sure when and why we stopped visiting, but this weekend we decided to go exploring the campus again.

Some choices in life do get rewarded well, and boy, did we get rewarded indeed!

The UOP campus  has a serene quietness to it. Open lawns, bugs, fallen leaves, the seemingly "forever" under construction clock tower, a fountain that I have never seen work in the recent past, a small but functional playground tucked away to a corner and a wide variety of towering trees just seem to give the place an air of the "old" times. A bit mysterious, marginally derelict, but yet so charming.

There was just the celebration of Spring everywhere. The lawns had been prepared for new grass which had already started to catch on. The colors were laid out on a platter for everyone to savor. There were students poring over their notes, a few families playing together, couples catching a quiet moment to themselves. Bebu wanted to know what "University" meant and Hubs told her it was a "Temple of Learning".

Bebu ran through the shrubbery covered gate to one side to enter what she called "The Enchanted Garden". Sections of the gardens were planted with flowering plants of varying shades and hues.There were beautiful flowers everywhere. Pink, purple, violet, yellow. The children and Hubs were very excited to stumble upon this visual treat.  Both my children were in pink! It almost seemed almost too coincidental that some kind gardeners had picked our favorite colors to be showcased so marvelously.

Bebu has been getting in to fairy stuff lately and thought the small pink flowers reminded her of "fairy dust". An enchanted garden with fairy dust! Oh! the possibilities with just a little imagination..

One of my favorite parts of the UOP campus is a little path that leads from the main lawns to the side road that heads upto "Y point" where the student cafe is. The path is banked by towering Banyan trees, the branches of which grow down to the soil and catch roots again to become new trees. There is something majestic about these banyan trees. They seem so benevolent. Like wise souls looking over the passers-by. Silent spectators to all the times bygone.

Gingy loved the stone laden path with it's low rise steps. With the evening sunlight streaming through the trees, I couldn't resist taking but a few pictures:)

This green cover also is home to numerous birds. We heard and saw flocks of parrots flying back home. Mynahs, crows, pigeons and even hornbills call this campus home. On our way out through the main building, we ran across the base of an old lamp post and a partially renovated wooden stairwell. Bebu just instinctively reached out to touch the wood. The craftsmanship and old wood just beckoned to be admired!

We walked over to the main ground which was buzzing with the activity of kite flyers, joggers, and local football enthusiasts. Stray dogs, pet dogs, children, grown ups all enjoying the clean air, the open space and the quiet and rejuvenating calm energy of this place.

The specialty about the University which might be frustrating to those that probably have to get anything done there is that it seems to be "stuck in time". It has not changed much since I have seen it as a child. There's an element of timelessness to it which is what makes it a paradoxical mix of things. A place that aims to move knowledge forward yet appears to be in a time warp itself.

The UOP campus- a tranquil and calm place tucked away within the urban chaos that surrounds it. While I have always had a soft spot for many University campuses, this little Temple of Learning is indeed close to my heart- a much cherished gift in my own backyard!

Friday, 14 February 2014


"Stack em up!"
She says!
One on top
Of the other.

Higher and higher
As tall as herself,
And taller..
Than the other.

Almost tipping,
Almost slipping.
Breaths get held,
Eyes get closed.
Faces paused,
And hands too!

We're safe!
On goes the next one,
And then another.
Whoa! comes a yell!
Crash! comes the tower!

Peals of laughter,
Giggles galore!
Looks are exchanged,
The plan is made.

"Stack em up!"
She says!
And they are at it

Thursday, 13 February 2014

What do babies like to do?

This has been on my mind a lot lately. Especially with Gingy around.

There isn't a thing really that she hasn't been wanting to do. Anything Bebu does, Gingy wants to do. Also anything that we do. And all of that and more!:)

It's been an eye opening experience probably because I was only mom to one kid until Gingy came along. Things are a bit different now. It's been a thorough learning experience on figuring out ways on including Gingy in most things that we do. And even more challenging if it involves things that are especially tiny or not so easily accessible.

But Gingy is not one to take "no" for an answer. Determination comes in small packages:). The look on her face and her super excitement makes it impossible for us to not try to figure out ways to make things happen.

And quickly I am learning that babies like to do pretty much "everything"!

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Bebu has started drawing. We have discovered that she can draw over the past few weeks . In the sense, draw recognizable objects.. a house, a face.. I have managed to capture some of the drawings..but this one came as a pleasant surprise today.

She called me to her "bowl" and told me to lean over and find "daddy"!

Can you see him?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Gifting Art and the Art of Gifting!

This last weekend we were invited to my Uncle's birthday. And we were wondering what would be an appropriate gift to give him. This particular uncle of mine is extremely playful and has always gotten down to the children's level whenever we have met him. So while brainstorming ideas on what could be a good gift, we struck upon the idea of gifting him some art! Needless to say, Bebu was only much too eager to get started.

She happily perched herself on our dining table and painted away to her heart's content. She invited me and Hubs to join in and we spoke fondly of my uncle and his beautiful home that she enjoys visiting, while we added a few colours to her art project. Bebu decided to call the piece "Colourful". She was definitely the creative head of the team.

Bebu has also started bringing us little gifts through the day.. she will bake "cookies"  (toy) and present it beautifully on a platter. Or pack a little toy in some colour paper for Hubs to take to work.

She asked to pick up a small badge for one of the children that she frequently plays with. If we go grocery shopping together, she will often point to something that's sold for infants and say to me "Gingy will like this!". A few weeks ago, she asked me to make a necklace for one the girls that she plays with. And told me that she would like to buy Grandma a green saree.

I think it is very sweet for me to see her thinking of others and gifting them little things- not all necessarily store bought or prettily packaged. I particularly find it especially endearing that she would be playing and suddenly strike upon the idea that someone in her life could use a gift:)

It's making me appreciate the art of gifting all over again.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


Bebu has a tendency to "animate" everything around her. By giving them names. Things like a blanket, or a sticker, or a dog that she might see in our complex. I think most of her names come from cartoons that she might have seen and/or are inspired from something that she has read about. But she tends to find some aspect that is specific to the item and uses that in her naming process. She calls our traditional Kerala lamp "Mr.Lamp". A bug that came visiting was named "Yellow". A moth "Mr.Fly"...Along those lines!

I think it is her special way of making the world more personal. For once you give something a name, it becomes yours! It also makes it easier for her to talk about something when it's not in front of us anymore. Each and every toy of hers has a name that's been given to it by her. We often remember the lost ones by their names. Like Mary ( the little lamb soft toy) that we lost in Chennai. And Rosie (the kitty) whom we forgot at a store once and didn't get back. She feels sad about the losses. And innocently tells me that she remains hopeful that we might find them again. Well, who's to really argue with such hope? Perhaps we might after all:)

We have a new entrant into our lives. Peekey -the peacock. "She" came into our lives one afternoon while trying to make a craft project that we had found in a book. The craft involved making a hamburger with clay, but we ended up creating a bird. She named her immediately and now she happily sits at our book shelf watching us everyday:).

Bebo might soon outgrow naming everything she sees.Until then I love to celebrate how she gives everything around her character and life. Cheers to Peekey!