I just realised that Raghu has been choosing invention related movies. He loves:

Charlie and Chocolate Factory… specifically listens and talks about Mr. Wonka  (He is yet to see the new one)
Robots  a fab movie about a young Robot inventor.
Meet the Robinsons  about a young orphaned child who dreams of building a time machine to go back in time and find his mom.
And Raghu says a null-void-protector is the invention aspect of the Ben10 movie he saw recently.

He has watched these movies over and over… and talks to me often about building games, inventing things that will make it possible for us to fly etc.  What fun to talk about stuff with him and see his intense curiosity, love for inventions etc… grow.

Amazing possibilities always  
A fellow homeschooler shared this brilliant link with our local homeschooling group.  It is mind blowing and way out there.  I got goose bumps watching this.  I love the world of technology but always wondered if the world around us and the tech in our palms would interconnect.  This is it. 

I also want to pay homage to Manish Mehta…. a friend of Ravi’s who passed away recently.  Many years ago Manish was asking his friends (Ravi and about 7-8 others all from the same College in Pune) to think about helping him in a new venture… putting up computer terminals in airports so everyone could access email anywhere.  this was around 1997-98.  They laughed, kidded around and did not take him seriously.  Of course… within a year or so… life changed…the internet became so important to people that it was indeed made available everywhere possible. 

After watching this video i was reminded of Manish.  When someone proposes something supposedly impossible, supposedly way out there… think before saying ‘nah… no way’.  Anything IS possible. 

Raghu’s big moment.

Raghu and I took a walk to the local Bigflix store to get a video.  On the way there he asked to have a Butta… the official street food of the monsoons…. lovely charcoal grilled corn.  The vendor takes a cut lemon half dipped in a mixture of salt and chillie powder and rubs it over the corn.  Amazing taste.  It was a big deal for me to experience this with Raghu.  Its been a long 2 years here… and its taken him a long time to find street food appetizing.  And its been a journey for me to trust that my kids will be fine eating street food.  It cuts both ways.  

Raghu now eats paav bhaji, onion uttapams, masala papad, pani puri (thanks to Sushi Masi), and few more staple foods that are easily available in India.  For the cost of a subway sandwich (ya… its here in India) we could eat 2 or 3 snacks.  So its nice to be able to take raghu out to eat at less expensive places.  Until now he was still searching for foods that cost just a few dollars in the US… he wanted a mustard, mayo, lettuce, cheese sandwich… impossible in India…. unless you make it at home… or go to a fancy 5 star restaurant.  Felt bad for the kid.  But now… we are Indies…. we have made it to the street side vendor.  yahooooo.  so here is that momentous occasion captured on my cell.. 

The charcoal is fired up on an upside-down, large, cut-out tin.  The corn is not washed.  His tarp was leaking in places. The lemon had rubbed against many corns.  The vendor’s hands had never known a glove… nor was there a sink he was washing his hands at.  Cars and trucks were zipping past.  We were standing and eating on a broken road patch right by the road.  And it was all fine… because Raghu has adapted/acclimatized to it all… so hot, grilled corn served in the husk dripping with lemony, salty, chilly juices has been happily accepted.  

About learning

I wrote the following to our local Homeschooling group.  The thread was “lets share about our kids”.. their interests, activities etc.  

Like Urmila says the real learning is going on all the time at a deeper level.  (urmila wrote about not-so-obvious, deeper level learning that is on-going even as a child might look like he is doing nothing tangible.)

In the train to Indore (just returned yesterday) Raghu was annoyed that i’d gotten Zoya a whole book of puzzles to do.  So i pointed out to him that normally he detests books like that and hence i got him other stuff to do.  He was sulking… so i immediately pulled out my diary and made up a few pages of sums, mazes and things for him to do.  Z’s book was too easy for him.  Then Ravi showed us some sums that all add up to the same number… and then we did a series of 19+9, 29+9, 39+9 etc… which Raghu loved.  In all of this there was a deeper undercurrent of Raghu needing me to acknowledge his hurt.  Then the patience of talking him thru my thought process and how it was not an intentional oversight.  Etc.  So much little conversation that allows kids to process emotions, our big wide world etc. 
 I love this one line in Stuart Little 2… snowbell the cat advises Stuart “If more people gave up we would have fewer wars”.  its an interesting bit of advice for me.  Someone who is often aggressive. Raghu and I discussed this line many times over.  Then the conversation switched to how Zoya has been making up imaginary worlds and how it bothers Raghu.  Time to talk… time to listen… what a lovely thing it is that we get to ponder the world with our children.  I love their take on things.  
Raghu caught me being short with Zoya… and he looked at me and said softly “maybe you should give her some time to think over her options”.  It was well timed advice as i have been unwell and impatient all day.  
I do record stuff on my blog as often as possible.  Upto even a few months ago it really helped me to see all the activity going on in our lives.. because in a fear-ridden moment i could browse my blog and feel better.  Also it really helps my dh to know more about our lives during the time he is at work.  Its hard to share many things as we did not always get so much time together. 
Raghu loves video games.  For those fearing video games this is a great page to visit:  Raghu plays the Wii.  He especially likes Goku, TMNT and has gone way deep into Super Mario Galaxy.  he also has a membership at Club Penguin and cares for his online pets and plays many games and earns money online.  Its a great site.  He wants to experience a real DJ set up. He has been seeing Michael jackson videos and loves the music… even the slow numbers.  He plays word games, connects the dots of the world, engages us all in loads of bed-tumble-play, he creates amazing little appetizers in the kitchen.  He enjoys discussing video games, wants to have a video game club, is very fond of exploring new online games, has recently taken a liking to runescape and Travian. 
Raghu, Ravi and i are determined to learn Italian… we are planning a trip to Italy next year… raghu’s wish.  he recently realised that  a lot of the foods he likes are from that country… good olives, mozzarella, pasta, pizza (he knows the taste of an original italian style not the domino variety, grilled veggies with oregano, salami, fresh herbs like basil etc. So its going to be a foodie trip with loads of art for me.  
Raghu has been going to a lab twice week to do experiments.  Its an awesome place for him right now.  he chooses what he wants to do and the lady there helps him.  She is willing to do topics ranging from electricity to bio-sciences.  
Raghu also learnt swimming and got really good at underwater tricks this past summer.  Zoya too.  She is a happy fish. 
Wow i’ve barely gotten to talking about Zoya.  She is all about flitting about like a butterfly.  She plays all the usual pre-schooly type things… playdough, cutting, pasting, art-craft, pretend play, cooking, etc.  She also loves imitating Raghu and plays all his video games for a few minutes until something else catches her eye.  She plays online games like dress up, coloring, typing, matching and mazes etc.  She loves long baths and enjoys playdates with other kids.  
Both kids have been picking up Hindi, Kannada and Marathi.  We are all cracking multi-language word-jokes.  We travel a lot these days.  
Anyway these days all the not-so-obvious learning is very obvious to me.  I am no longer focused on seeing the interconnected subjects in everything (for e.g. i’d see chemistry, math and reading as the subjects cooking sessions covered… till a few months ago)… i now simply make the connections and love chatting with them about their world view 🙂  Everything under the sun is interconnected.  
Last para: We flew back from Indore in a 40 seater plane… raghu saw how small it was and told us that it would fly very high because it was so light.  I then explained how it was not a pressurized cabin and cna’t stand high winds etc.  And will fly low.  This connected to boats and ships and why we did not need to pressurize anything if it was at sea level.. then it led to other connections today about how a submersible needs to be pressurized too.  Then we saw titanic on tv today as i rested… and the discussion continued into why the ship took so long to sink… raghu thought big meant it would sink faster.  etc…amazing range of topics and all conversations over a period of many hours… each lasting a few minutes.  the learning is constant.  Its just not designed, clean-cut or boxed.  Its free flowing, spaced out, inspired, etc.  
And these days the biggest learning is between raghu and Zoya.  loads of interpersonal problem solving…. don’t read “sibling rivalry”…. read… real time problem solving.. and i’m always available to help see a new side.  

Dh got me a HP Mini laptop… which has been doing wonders for me…  my old laptop was definitely in trouble.  All this month my Dhannu (i had to name this little beauty) has been traveling with me.  Combined with the portable Tata Photon i’m invincible 🙂  And finally i can Skype!

Browsing the video game link on Sandra’s site just now and found this link:

Zoya got a split lip when she attempted a Hunter-wali jump from her bunk bed.  When i got to her she bled all over my shoulder and was quite shook up.  After many ice packs and some turmeric application she calmed down and fell asleep.  I went back to the room to see how it might have happened… she had assorted colors on the floor, books in her hand (at the time of the fall), a metal bicycle chain with a lock on one end and some other odds and ends all around her.  She must have leaped from the top bunk and caught on the steps.  She is normally such a sure-footed girl that i was surprised and i think so was she.  Her lip is swollen.  I’m sure it must have hurt a lot.  But the reverse pout is making her look adorable (its her upper lip that got cut on the inside).  Ah well… scrapes and cuts and bleeds…  happen.

Zoya had a lovely playdate all day yesterday with a little girl called Shrutakirti… who was visiting us after many weeks.  I noticed that whenever these 2 meet they have a routine… first they spend some time asking each other about dolls, figuring out who is mama etc.. and then they start dressing up, then come the heels, then the make up session… then little purses stuffed with play money, a bag of odds and ends, some role play, then some horsing around.  All this takes up about 3 hours or so… punctuated by little snacks/drinks or lunch and then finally a long, long soak in the tub.  With bubbles, toys and lots of splashing around.  Then after they have washed and changed they paint and watch a DVD and eat more snacks.

We (our weekly playdate group) had planned on having a hot-glue-gun activity yesterday.. the idea was to use all my junk collection and create a dragon.. but nope… kids were happy being with each other and making endless marble run construction, nerf gun shooting, train stations, etc.  Then some video gaming, horsing around, snacks and a movie.  It turned out to be a lovely, long day.

Cousins, wedding, baby, video gaming etc.

These past few weeks have been remarkable in many ways. I’m not sure where to begin. The kids experienced a wedding in Dharwad…. Raghu ate off a banana leaf like evrybody else. The cousins, mine and kids’, met and reconnected. Cousins from distant places like Delhi and Dubai. In this first photo from left to right are Raghu, Sumedh, Rushath, Zoya and Advai.

Then I left the kids with Ravi and his Mom so i could spend 2 days in Dharwad on my own. I went to attend my oldest mami’s 13th day (death) ceremony. Kids understood mostly.  But Zoya was not too happy at the last minute when they dropped me off to the bus.

Raghu joined a local Lab called Quest for kids.  The location Raghu goes to has a lovely old fashioned school lab feel with large windows overlooking hills.  Raghu likes the bright airy feel and the science teacher who runs the place.  He gets to choose experiments and work with her help.  He has gone twice a week for 1.5 hours abotu 6 times now and seems to love it.  He can choose electricity experiments, Chemistry stuff, light, heat, water, (he made a submarine), even electronics.

Zoya has been going about 2-3 times a week to the school i mention in the post below.  She enjoys the activity and company of other kids.  She is very observant of other children adn their play.  Often time she will ask her ‘teacher’ to show her stuff on a black board.  She loves imitating the other kids and takes a little desk and opens books and colors etc.  She plays loads of dress up, pretend-play type stuff with all of us.  One of my helpers is often found wearing my heels and a dupatta (parading as a saree) and Zoya directs her and tells her what role to play.  Its loads of fun.  Zoya’s language usage is as usual unique.  She told me the road is grumpy.  I asked her why.  She said “can’t you feel it?”  The road we were driving on was very bumpy 😉

There are loads of photos to be uploaded.  I am keen to clean up my photo uploads/picasa usages./camera video issues etc… during our trip to Indore.  I’m waiting eagerly to take the train journey with ravi and kids.  We leave Friday and return on Wednesday.  It for a ceremony/occasion.  But i always like going there.  Ravi’s sister and her family are very welcoming and his aunt makes the most yum food.

Raghu’s wish for more video gaming friends is fast coming true.  All of a sudden we are almsot always hosting video gaming sessions.  I’m still not as much a part of it as i’d like.  but i’m the food/comfort person… and make sure all are hydrated, eating and enjoying.  Occasionally i have to help with negotiations.  Some days i find Raghu content to watch his friends monopolize the gaming consoles for long stretches.  So i ask him quietly if he needs help getting a turn or some time etc.  And he says with surprise “no… i’m fine watching.  did you know amma… he knows this and this and……  I’m learning so many new things/maneuvers etc..”  Very interesting to see how intense his interest is.

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