Raghu, reading and ramblings

Its been a big deal for Ravi and me to see Raghu reading more and more this past week. We come upon him standing in underwear and pants around his ankles with an intent look on his face and his mouth making phonetic sounds, sometimes just plain reading and otherwise sounding out words silently… its such a delight. It might be the cover of a cd or cartridge or a comic book or like this afternoon a book on ants that he is trying to read. Its magical to watch. Just like when he learned to walk. Perhaps i feel validated a bit? I feel like saying YAHOOOO…. you see they do learn to read… because they want to. Of course we go on reading to them and do not say “well you know how to read that… so why do you want me to?” or some such short-sighted comment. I can see how reading to them whenever they want me to is the best thing to do.

I think I have been a struggling a little lately with Raghu being so focused on the PSP and hence i am the primary playmate for Zoya. I miss the game sessions and other lovely times the 3 of us enjoyed before this psp phase. I keep reminding myself that Raghu is happy pursuing his interests. So perhaps seeing him read makes me feel a bit like…”right… there are many processes at work… even as they watch the 100th re-run of Little Bear or Magic School Bus or play seemingly endless video games… they are processing so much info inside their heads” They are contacting the world around them on their own terms. I shall strew interesting things and be available to converse and be a good facilitator etc… yet the final word is theirs. And that is how their inherent interest in learning (whatever they want) is preserved.

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Edit of a past-post:

I am adding a preamble to a past-post based on some comments i got about it. The original post is placed below the preamble.:

“Got it” in the following paragraph refers to a serious discussion about RU. RU is not a choice in my mind like one would choose between Montessori or Waldorf or Mainstream or whatever. RU is a life philosophy in my mind. Its my vision that this encompasses learning, living, eating, interacting, bodily functions, everything. Its a way to connect with yourself and the world at large.

Each of us chooses what rings truest to our own selves and follows that voice. Each of us shall strive for happiness in our own ways. This RU path has brought the most happiness for us in our family of 4. It has changed the relationship between my husband and I. It has made my son exclaim “i love life! This is the life” etc. It allows me the time and space to make amends, learn new ways, exercise choices etc. And my children observe and take cues and figure out their own ways.

Again… never saying never… and always learning… hence this blog is about me accepting my changes, blocks, talking about what other new path/method has helped me in my journey to be the best possible mother, partner, self etc.

now the post:

Last evening I met my lovely, Reiki practicing, artist, designer, college friend, Leenata, aka Leenu. We had a lovely 6 hours by ourselves. Children were with Ravi, playing at home. The amazing part of the evening was that after a long time i found an old friend who “got it”!! Yahoo. I mean she got RU totally. It was grand to see how easily she understood our way of being. She does not have children, yet. Yet the principles behind RU made sense and could be easily discussed. I guess I’ve only really had new friends besides my sister who really got it. So for an old one to understand it meant we could chat easily about old times and new and see how we had grown. It was a sweet, fragrant, compassionate exchange of news.

My new helper after Roopa…. Maushi, is sick. I am holding her in a circle of healing power inside of me. I wish her well and hope that she will heal herself. So anyway Maushi is not here and has been in and out thinking she can work but scared she’ll loose the job here. Anyway… my day has been tiring to say the least… mostly the house is in a beautiful state of shambles and mingles and messes and scatterings. Only this afternoon was i able to finish hand-washing all our 3-days worth of dishes. So my nails feel crummy. I’m now going to clean the floors… leave it un-swept for a day and you can feel dust under your feet. And R, R and i start to sneeze :-O So off i go to clean while Raghu watches Tom and Jerry re-runs. Zoya has gone downstairs with Ravi’s sister and her daughter, Kaveri. They just arrived for some playtime. So I got to get some cleaning done before they come back up.

Relaxing

With Maushi not here for now almost 4 days and having friends coming over tonight for dinner… i thought i’d probably start to backtrack into old habits… upset easily at kids, controlling their every move so the house stays neat etc. Last evening it took me 2 hours to sweep and swab on hands and knees the entire house. It was a lovely physical experience but made me realise that Maushi was not a good cleaner. Anyway… so this morning i was remembering my old habits/tendencies to slip into control mode when i wanted the house clean. But i did not. I got the smallish cleaning up done before Z awoke. Raghu and i got lovely reading time and got to explore the food alphabets and others via Sandra’s thinking stick blog. Fun time. Then breakfast and then we got the stroller and left to shop.

The thought was that if we spent time outdoors (esp since it was a cloudy day and not too hot) then the house would be relatively easy to clean up.

Normally R would balk at walking to stores. We live about 15 minutes from the stores we need. But with the cloudy weather and a light breeze he seemed fine. Still inorder to give him an easier time i drove them to one end of our shopping area. Then unpacked the stroller. Kids took turns to sit in it. We zipped around the neighbourhood and walked along relatively quiet roads and bought things for tonight. We had a lovely little scoop each of gelato and chose bread together. Fantastic little outing.

And we just got back. So the morning was tiring but fun. And now we can relax in the afternoon. Once Z falls asleep… i predict she’ll last another hour. I can sweep adn swab again and get ready for the dinner.

Also… at the bookstore where we picked up a gift for the child coming tonight… Raghu read Ben10 books and Zoya played in their outside verandah. 🙂

I’m so happy that i could focus on the children and my own needs and not get overwhelmed and crabby. And now even if the house is not perfect…. i know we had a happy day… and that happy energy will make the house feel very loving and welcoming to our friends…. i think 🙂

"Peace and Hair and Money"

Why am i doing life this way? Why is unblocking within so important? Why is it a good idea to keep choices alive? All lead to more peace within for me and my children. An excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” says it well:

“I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcey told me once—that all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-n-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.”

I loved reading about Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey. Truly this way of living (our unschooling choice) is guaranteed to make you want to tear your hair out, then you grow some hair back and start to feel better, then you tear some more out but now the hair seems to be growing back fast and you are tearing out less. Its fun 🙂 And its only the adult’s hair going… the kids hair is growing luxuriantly almost non-stop.

Speaking of hair… Raghu finally succumbed to the “you look like a girl” message he was getting from society at large here in India. I was party to one aspect of the hair episode… both Ravi and I found it hard to talk to him with his hair sitting right on top of his eyes. With Raghu’s involvement… we tried gel, oil-water, hair clips, hairbands etc… but his super-silky hair refused to stay off his eyes as he grew it. So we were stuck waiting for the front chunk to grow long enough to tuck behind his ears. And i think this too bothered him. Sadly as he was debating whether to trim the front locks or get used to a sports hairband… he suddenly decided to go super short. He wanted me to lop off all of his shoulder length hair. Raghu did deal with the “you look like a girl” comments well… he would say “i’m not a girl” and then move off. But ultimately while getting his hair lopped he kept saying “make it look like a boy, amma” I’m sad… i loved his long hair. Anyway… someday Ravi plans to grow out his hair.. so perhaps Raghu will get inspired again. Oh and Zoya watched his hair being cut and decided she wanted a “boy-cut”. So all her lovely curls gone for now. Sweet for her to be emulating her big brother… but ‘sigh’.

I have noticed that only when i go to stores do Raghu and sometimes Zoya want things… otherwise they don’t. We miss out on simple free pleasures here (like public spaces that are pleasing to the eye, green-blue natural environs, playgrounds that are not rusting adn creaking and have bird-poop on them)… so sometimes malls and stores are a grand place to hang out in. Sad 😦 anyway… so back to acquisitions and money…. when we are not in stores and are enjoying activities, home-time etc… they don’t ask for toys. Mostly the desires for toys and such come about when they see them in the stores. Its rare for them to be sitting at home and saying “i need this…” So having understood and observed this, i’m able to expect their needs better. I’m not surprised or annoyed or expecting chaos when we are in a mall.. cause i expect that they will express a need for something… and i budget some money towards it. But mostly i try and keep a list at home of their interests/topics they have raised etc and go shopping alone… and find things that relate to their interests. And if they have indeed mentioned some things they want… then i try and find them.

Mostly… the point i was trying to make in the unwieldy para above is that unless they really want to come shopping with me… i leave them happy at home about a couple of times a month (with dh) and go do the shopping alone. Helps keep the sudden impulses for expensive toys and such to a minimum.

But i must insert here that there have been tough and interesting and sometimes very cool choices made when the kids shop with me. For e.g. they make me more aware of their true needs…. Nutella (expensive here but something Z and R really love) is more important than hairclips (cheap here but a need that they can do without… only i care for them) and then those unnecessary kitchen napkins (the ones that i’d offer a guest instead of my cut up old-cloth segments at home). So the cost of Nutella is = to the cost of some clips + kitchen napkins + perhaps a pair of jeans for the kids that they don’t care for… only I do. So i’m kept on my toes and re-assessing shopping choices. Its good 🙂

Living life in this attachment-parenting, respectful, unschooling way means that life is forever interesting and creates peace. Every time i get a block i know that there is something to be learned, something to be looked at, observed etc. And my children will see that as a good thing. The experiences, every one of them, are worthy of conversation and acceptance and observation.

Why is night spelt with a gh?

After reading the post on raghu asking about the funny english spelling (a few posts down)…. Sandra Dodd wrote:

“The reason “night” is spelled that way is that letters used to be pronounced–with a sound we don’t have anymore, so I don’t know how to describe that at all, but those words with the gh in the middle like night, fight, fright, plight must have sounded similar 800 years ago, and that sound stayed.
“Knight” was pronounced “keNicht” kind of, and castle was castell. Sword had a w sound in it. So when they started spelling those, they were spelling them the way they sounded. ”

Now makes sense to me 🙂 And to raghu too. he has been identifying words that are spelt “wrong” and then he proceeds to pronounce them the way he thinks they must have centuries ago. Its fun.

Sandra also shared this page
http://sandradodd.com/etymology that talks about this more. For those of us who love “Chupke chupke” and the famous “pa-nee-monia aur pa-thai-sis” dialogue… this is a fun road to travel.