Antony & Cleopatra, Z’s body paint and A Raghu-Bat-Mobile etc…

Mom is watching BBC’s production of Antony and Cleopatra. For those of you who like me have forgotten our school’s interpretation of this play… there is a blurb pasted below. Raghu is following along and i can hear his half-hearted at times and whole-hearted at times involvement in the histrionics that are so vivid and loudly expressed at times in this play.

Meanwhile raghu also made a lego bat-mobile… invented after he noticed a picture of it on the lego website… and also noticing that he may nto have all the parts that lego woudl ahve you believe you need to make one. So there you go….

Also Zoya decided to paint her body… she is wont to do this everytime the paper in front of her is full 🙂

And Raghu drew something that looked like heiroglyphics on the chalk board… and then explained that it is the path he took while jumping off the dress-up chest 🙂 So the semi circle on top is the chest. The vertical lines are where he jumped. Then the dots are where he bounced off the ground. The horizontal line is the giant shoe tongue that he had to jump over. A self made obstacle run.

I am proud to declare that i finished the bath-puppet-glove for my neice, Maya. Yahoo!

info:: Antony and Cleopatra is a play by William Shakespeare, often considered a tragedy, although this is debated. It was originally printed in the First Folio of 1623.

The plot is based or thought to be on Thomas North‘s translation of Plutarch‘s Life of Markus Antonius and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra’s suicide. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony’s fellow triumvirs and the future first emperor of Rome. The tragedy is a Roman play characterized by swift, panoramic shifts in geographical locations and in registers, alternating between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and the more pragmatic, austere Rome. Many consider the role of Cleopatra in this play one of the most complex female roles in Shakespeare’s work.[1] She is frequently vain and histrionic, provoking an audience almost to scorn; at the same time, Shakespeare’s efforts invest both her and Antony with tragic grandeur. These contradictory features have led to famously divided critical responses.[2]

About 2 months ago we were watching the Magic School Bus episode about microbes. The microbe gang had changed Keesha’s cucumber into a pickle. Raghu immediately wanted to make a pickle. So we washed and cleaned out a medium sized Horlicks bottle and filled it with water and salt. Shook it a bit and then put in a large cucumber.

It stayed at Raghu’s Nainamma’s (Ravi’s mom) house since then until a few days ago. Today we opened up the bottle. I expected a mess… as i had done little research at the time of pickling and the video did not give enough info on how to pickle. The top of the cucumber had turned a little soft. But the rest was crisp, salty, pickly… a successful pickle!! And moreover it reminded me of shawarma pickles in Abu Dhabi. Absolutely gorgeous.

We’ve now pickled shredded cabbage and carrots. This time i did some research and added some mustard and vinegar. We’ll see what happens soon enough. So far it tastes
great as you can eat the cabbage at all stages of pickling.

So here is Raghu with the prize pickle. As you can imagine he finished it off and barely managed to leave a slice for the rest to taste.

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Google Reader

I just discovered Google Reader due to links sent by my well meaning, helpful cousin… but who has inadvertently scared me off completely… and did i say i’m scared?

Well immediately there were about 20 messages/input in my google reader inbox (if that is what its called) from my cousin (mentioned above) and a b-i-l. I mean 20?? and how and when did my inbox accept them as people who’s stuff/collections i’d like to read? No offense.. lovely to read what you are reading. And then of course as I’m scrolling thru and wondering how and when and where these articles/essays/fwds came to be… i see sandra dodd’s link on the side bar labled as something google thinks i’d like to see. Well then i had to click on her name and sure enough i had another 100 in my inbox. Now if only i can get about 15 spare man and brain hours… i will tackle my tech/online inadequacy and also actually read some of the entries. (some of Sandra’s were giving me so much food for thought… i had to physically push my had towards the close window button!)

Mostly i can barely keep up with folks online. My eyes tire easily and so does the reading/absorption part of my brain. But my mouth adn ears don’t tire… i almost wish someone would start a news channel on unschooling… and the news flashes would include blurbs from differnt blogs etc… So while i’ve happened upon blog after blog of lovely unschooling info, amazing sites like Sandra’s, Joyce’s and others plus a million groups with real-live solutions/advice/ideas/thoughts percolating non-stop….. I just am unable to take it all in.

So i’m going to go sit with Raghu and watch Winnie the Pooh for the n’th time and laugh with him (and watch side ways to see his expressions 🙂 and also tinker with lego on a tray.

As i write this… i wonder if i better make time to see the google reader help page… and get a better grip on what a reader is and on my rising anxiety about my online-inadequacies.

okay… off to sit with Raghu and laugh.

To bed or not to bed

When a child looks sleepy and its around that time when most non-nocturnal beings go to bed…. what is one to do? “You look tired, xyz” and pat comes the reply… “no, i’m not”. So these days I just have to remind myself to say clearly… that its time for my bed… as in… my body is tired and so its bed time for me… instead of saying “bed time” like i used to. And i yawn and make for bed with the offer thrown over my shoulder that i would read aloud if anyone is interested. This usually illicits a positive response of some kind… like “yes i want to be read to…. i’ll be over in 15 minutes amma… i want to finish this lego, work or this video or whatever”. Sometimes i know for a fact that the kids are sleepy but are doing something that they know that was not allowed in yester months when life was still controlled…. so then i try and honor their new found freedom and stay awake.

For the most part Zoya is the only one who just will not go to bed despite her sleepiness. She’d rather stay with us wherever we are… and create tiny messes of exotic contents. I find wipes and little beads all wrapped up like gifts in the mornings… those are her tiny messes of the night.

Its all very cute if i look at everything with peaceful, non-controlling, fresh eyes… tiredness is within me… but interestingly… like Grandpa bear says…. “never tired” and then promptly falls asleep, i’d rather fall asleep with a smile on my face and theirs than have a showdown and have grumpy dreams.

Midnight snack

Raghu has long wanted to stay up till midnight…. but every night despite his best efforts he falls asleep short of 11 . Last night was a first… not only was he eating dried cranberries (teh midnight snack component) … but it was past midnight when he fell asleep listening to me read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book The big house in the woods. So he made it!! He was thrilled to know he’d crossed the witching hour when i pointed it out to him this morning. I too had not realised it was that late till after the kids slept.

Of course the fascination with staying up that late comes from the Midnight Snack episode of Tom and Jerry…. our fav cat and mouse. Every smallish hole discovered at the base of every wall anywhere in the world is a Jerry mouse house to Raghu 🙂

Going back to last night, evening…. the kids were bouncing off the walls…. Zoya with her cold making her even more active… was actually awake till 11:30! She finally fell asleep with a book clutched in her hands that i did not get around to reading… as i was still reading Raghu’s. Its hard to match their needs and be something/available/engrossed with/to both… especially when Ravi is very rarely able to even read them to sleep.

I wish i coudl be a better writer… want to take a course in writing where some one would just correct my grammar. I have so much to say and yet fall short of definitive words, grammar skills, ability to put complicated thoughts to paper etc… anyway… this too shall come to be.

This was us on a trip to Kamshet this past w’end. The trees around us could not be persuaded to take a picture… so no pic of all 4 of us. It was an awesome experience for raghu… as he has refused to go trekking, climbing etc for a while now. Esp. dissuaded by Singapore heat and a yukkiness factor (we just moved from there to Pune). But this trip was a milestone for him. Something lured him up and upper still (as he kept telling us) towards the waterfall’s top. He urged us to climb thru the thick foliage and monsooney gluey sides of the hill. We kept going simply because he would not give up even when the trail completley disappeared. He wanted to go to the very top but had to concede once the trees adn bushes blocked our path with branches and leaves too thick to push aside. The cool monsoon breeze and the clean hillside air was the main reason we could keep going.

There is a time for all things and i feel fortunate that the time for trekking has arrived 🙂 So once the monsoon ends and winter sets in… i think we will have plenty of little trips around. So glad to see Raghu enjoying a new activity. We still carried a tin full of lego creations that he tinkered with during our stay there. And he found a friend who enjoyed yelling and fighting with him… “on guard” and then commence. Raghu had a sudden dam/flood 101 course… as did we all. We were locked into the area around the lodge as the roads were flooded due to heavy rains and heavy mountain water flowing down to the low areas of the road.

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Understanding and absorbing RU

My understanding of life-learning/radical unschooling, its essence, is growing. Getting that understanding deep within me is important. It allows me the space needed to assess things slowly and with clarity when dealing with issues.

Finding an RU tribe in the real world is very important to me. A tribe of people who respect kids needs like they would their own. A tribe that can enrich our lives and allow us a peek into real unschooling homes. Meanwhile i’ve tried to find that tribe online and failed. I’ve found amazing websites , blogs, advisory boards aka online groups meant for dispensing advice to newbies, boot-camp for not-quite-there-yet unschoolers etc… but no friends really. Making new friends now is hard enough as there is little time to spare most days. And expressing online what i mean, being clear about what i want etc.. via the written word is almost impossible these days. It takes tremendous effort and requires a facility with words that i don’t possess mostly. So then i fall flat when i try and communicate on these enormous, well established advisory groups. They have little patience for the likes of me.

And as i’ve found out painfully…. the way people write online at these unschooling groups can be harsh… as they are doling out gifts of advice …. so the gift wrapper is sometimes rushed. Besides i’m yet to understand the world of online etiquette. I will have to research those forum-groups… looks to me like those groups might be getting together to spend time with each other and not just to dispense sharp, quick replies (never leads to pleasant conversation for me).

Also… most of the RU’ers woudl not know what i was talking about if i said “Basanti tera naam kya hai?”…. Just as their arcane jokes, popular trivia based comparisons, conversational banter based on a culture i’m not deeply familiar with etc go over my head. I can’t seem to break into that type of conversation and add something meaningful. Now i know about gods drinking milk, Hummous and shawarma, arabic, hindi, kannada, pani puri and indian-chinese, Bollywood craziness, 365 festivals for 365 days, living as an expat in the gulf, and tons of other things…. now i need to find others who know about them too (this is not hard) and unschool (this is hard).

“You know Batman sleeps late and gets up late…. so he can fight more with Joker at night,” raghu commented in reference to the various discussions we have had about sleeping, listening to body signals, how many hours of sleep a baby needs vs adults etc.

He told me one afternoon that he’d rather nap in the afternoons than sleep at night. I asked him why and his answer was “i don’t get dreams in the afternoon… only at night” Which then led to a discussion about what dreams are and how and if we can control them. perhaps happier thoughts as we sleep.