We are moving into another apartment… meets some more needs…. and most importantly has an upstairs adn downstairs… a duplex. Raghu has been waiting for this a long time. He misses our home in the US where he stayed till he was 4 and still remembers vividly.

So not sure how connected we’ll be and when our comps and other stuff will be up and easy to use. So i’m off to plan the move now. We have started clearing out junk and the various things that need to be given away. Its lovely to do a clean out.. allows old things to breathe again. Kids are being quite open to assessing which toys are truly broken and worthy of beign fixed or given away… and which clothes they still want to keep and which can be given away. Raghu is still holding onto a night-pajama that he has been wearing since he was 3!! Its soft, well-worn and is very comforting to him. I plan on keeping it in my memorabilia-box long after he looses interest in it.

My mom sweetly kept many things… books of mine, toys clothes etc… from my childhood… but she gave away my bear…. which i still feel very sad about. I had hoped i could add it to my children’s soft toy collection. But still due to her ability to move house and still carry around a large box of childhood items… i felt thrilled when she passed on things to my children and my niece. Its fun to share stories about the things with the kids. My old Saucy-Jane book about a family’s life in a house-boat and how i always wanted to live in one as a child etc… made it a very special book to Raghu… he dreams of living in an RV.

Someone sent this to an online group I’m part of and i loved it. So I’ve put it here to remind me of how i like to be around my children. I don’t like the note of regret that seeps thru the poem due to the title and structure of the sentences… but the points made are lovely and help me as i unschool myself. Maybe I’ll re-write this poem in a positive… “i’m doing this now” way.

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again
by Diane Loomans

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self esteem first, and the house later.
I’d fingerpaint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.

Food for thought

I’ve been meaning to write about food and what it means to us these days. Its such an important part of my children’s days and can cause them much happiness.

Raghu asked me to make this soup yesterday… i only added a tiny amount of molasses and some coriander-seed-powder besides his choices.

1. Cooked potato cubes (and the water they were cooked in)
2. Chopped onion
3. Chopped mushroom
4. Corn kernals.. fresh.
5. Diced green Bell Pepper/Capsicum
6. Grated fresh ginger
7. Pepper and salt to taste
8. tiny hint of molasses
9. pinch of coriander powder
10. Crushed Rosemary

Add water to make it as soupy as you want.
Stir fry the onions in a bit of olive oil till translucent, add the bell peppers and stir fry for a few minutes. Then add the mushroom and corn and ginger. Cook till the veggies are tender. Add the potato cubes and broth and all other ingredients.

I love trying out Raghu’s recipes. He is not into cooking himself these days. But will come up with specific recipes and usually eats happily whatever he makes. Food eaten joyously is probably good for us 🙂

Raghu and Zoya come up with wacko combinations. Raghu has had mustard and jam on bread and Zoya loves dipping chicken nuggets, fries etc in soy sauce. Raghu loves Sweet potato fries and will eat any roasted vegetable. He prefers things cooked. Very rarely will he eat raw veggies. But he will suck happily on raw garlic cloves and even eat them. he also sucks on Cinnamon sticks. Zoya is known to mix ketchup in her yogurt and rice. Yogurt and rice is a favorite around here. But only when its icecream weather.

Making new foods or old… but making them just so takes up a lot of time some days. Other days its easy. The main thing is to be able to get as close to what we each want as possible. Sometimes its perfect… sometimes a bit tweaked.

We don’t get sour cream here and raghu loves the stuff… so he uses a lot of Mayo which we do get.

Zoya can go thru tons of chocolate in a day… dark crisp cocoa variety and also brownies and home-made choc cake. She loves icecream and prefers it to any other sweet.

THe odd choices for odd times are only part of my conditioning. My kids are healthy, aware of their body-needs, quite in tune with which foods suit them and are very clear in their food-requests. Its awesome to watch it and see how much they enjoy food.

Today is 09.09.09

Ravi landed in the US for work on 09.09.90, 19 years ago. He stayed there till 2007 when we moved to Singapore and then here to India a year ago. He worked there for almost 17 years. Ravi and i were just enjoying the rare number combinations.

Raghu and Zoya created a Bed-Cushion-Sleep-Game. We rolled in all our cushions on the floor this morning. The 2 have been inventing games… mostly raghu invents and zoya adjusts things to suit her tastes… like blankets and dollies must be part of the said game. Raghu has been hooked on his DS… which got a whole bunch of new games loaded thanks to an adult-gaming-friend we’ve met recently. Raghu is in gaming-nirvana.

We are getting ready for our trip to the US. Amazing that it is really happening. Ravi has been incredible at making this trip happen. He has been wanting to go back to NJ/NYC with us… for a trip at the very least. So we leave end of October and get back end of November. All in all about 5 weeks. We will get to spend the first 6 days in London as he has work there as well. Our US trip will include a week in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe region. Since we could not time our trip to match any of the unschooling conferences that happen thru the year across the US…. Sandra Dodd ( very kindly offered to plan a conference for when we are there. Her generous offer means we get to spend time with her and other families and watch unschoolers in action. Can’t wait 🙂

Raghu is very thrilled about the upcoming travels. He has been reading about castles, Robin Hood and talking about Harry Potter and related stuff. He knows Roald Dahl was British and we’ve been talking about visiting a castle with a real moat and seeing a portcullis in action. Interestingly its not like i said “we’re going to London.. lets read things that relate to it”… nope. He has been connecting the dots and telling me about all the books he borrows from the library or hte ones he likes at home and how they have roots or are based in London. Even Asterix and Obelix speak of Londinium 🙂

I’m looking forward to the US part of the trip so i can spend time in familiar places with family and friends, enjoy playgrounds and museums and such, eat lots of old familiar foods, walk the streets of NYC again, and very importantly… meet and interact with Unschooling parents and children. Something that we as a family are sorely missing out on here in India.

Zoya is talking in bigger more complicated sentences and is engaging Raghu in conversation more often these days. The age gap is reducing. Till now she was only a physical playmate… someone Raghu could run with and catch or jump with. But she is changing rapidly. She is 3 inches short of Raghu’s height and is wearing shoes that are one size behind. Raghu says she is the biggest 3 year old he ever saw 🙂 She cracks jokes and will look at us with delight when we get her jokes.