Tuesday, 7 October 2014

5 year old's can conceptualize what giants manufacture!

When I was younger, I ran a summer camp while at college out of my home where little kids used to come in to do art and craft. I had templates laid out, the kids would come.. I would have instructions, the kids would have to follow along and we would all end up with a craft item that would be pretty much the same, with perhaps a few individual variations..My vision was pretty set on one thing- the craft would have to be completed. The kids should have had something complete to take home to show their moms..

I am now learning to look at crafting with Bebu with a completely different view point. Open-ended crafting has really led to some unique bursts of creativity. With every craft project I learn to see the value in the creative process and her conceptualization of a variety of things...

Instead of looking for a project "to do", projects seem to emerge out of the materials that come our away. Needless to say- the craft box is far from organized, but something is starting to tell me that the unique mix of things that don't always match is what results in projects that are unique both in their outcome and their process..

Bebu has been trying her hand at either creating simple "put-together's" or if she has some elaborate ideas that she can't execute for lack of skill, or patience, she will direct me with quite remarkable clarity to -"help me help her" create her final outcome.

Yesterday she wanted to make a "Pop-up Pizza card with an I love you message up front"

We used Google to learn how to make the pop up card. She chose the colour of the paper, explained how there should be smiley face on the card. She chose the stickers and embellishments that went on the card. I executed the card making, art work and cutting as she patiently sat next to me, watching attentively and searching for stickers and assortment of things to decorate the card.

This is the final card that she plans to gift one of her friends.

The second creative idea that she hit upon yesterday was this "special laptop"

This is a laptop that she "made". When I asked her she explained it as follows - "This is a special laptop. This has youtube. But the backside can also be watched. And when you fold it up you can still watch the top of the laptop"

The first picture has the Keyboard and the Box which has Youtube playing inside it..

 A face on the screen from Youtube..

Then she put the box flat down on the keyboard and went onto explain how you could continue watching the backside even when it was closed.

Quite surprised by her concept, I looked up if such a device existed.. And Lo and Behold!...
Asus had a nifty ad selling their Taichi Tablet-Laptop combination which is exactly what Bebu had conceptualized!


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Give me a sheet!

Give me a sheet!
Oh! Give me a sheet!
So I can hide under,
and Pop Out to say

Oh! Give me a sheet!
Give me a sheet!
All flowery and soft!
To wrap around me..
Just feels so Cozy!

Give me a sheet!
Oh! Give me a sheet!
One that I can drag around
and sashay with..
Whoosh! Sway!

Oh, Give me a sheet!
Please give me a sheet!
For special picnics
need special warm
sweet settings!

Give me a sheet!
Surely you must know..
What fun it is
to be wrapped in one!

If you haven't tried it yet,
do so now..
and then who knows?
I might hear you say-
"By Golly! Give me a sheet!"

Creating with clay!

Stumbled upon some old clay laying in the toy cupboard! Discoveries of old finds leads to new creations! An impromptu modellling spree led Bebu and Hubs to creating these works of art:). Bebu made the snowman all by herself and discovered that long strings of clay can be twisted to make snakes and soft serve icecreams! 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Making our own news!

If you are like me and on most days can't make sense of the daily news, don't despair...

Make noodles of it!

A lot more fun and pleasurable than in it's usual form:)

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Drawing from within, and writing by drawing..

Bebu has been drawing for a while now.. This was my last post on her drawings..

She has been steadily helping herself to printer paper, walls, newspaper bits, envelopes from mail that comes in, any scrap paper around the house to draw her drawings..

She hasn't had any actual instruction on how to draw.. Never really attended a drawing class or been provided any feedback on how things should or shouldn't look.  Except for of course, our continued delight in that she enjoys drawing for drawings sake..

Her drawings come from within, details getting added bit by bit to her creations. From just simple dots for eyes and a curve for a smile, her figures have started to get more details, eyeballs for eyes, glasses, feet, hands, bodies, hair etc etc..Her drawings are like a reflection of her observations of the details in her world. She has her own unique way of representing these observations on paper..

She also delights in drawing to gift. She has made a couple of cards for friends as birthday gifts, and of course surprises us with art work as "presents" on a daily basis!

Somewhere along the line, the drawing led to writing.. It started with her wanting to know how to add her own name to her drawings..She can now write many letters of the alphabet in a way of drawing them out.. She draws every letter, copying the shape from a letter that might be present in her surroundings! Letters she finds are around her everywhere: the laptop key board, books in the house, letters on her toys.. If she wants to write a letter she looks for the one she wants, finds it and copies it out by drawing the shape.. Her recollection of letters has been one that she has figured out for herself..The last picture had her write out the word "zoo" which she said she remembered the spelling of from seeing it on tv..

Her internal process of learning to decode print has been her own unique process, one devoid of any phonics instruction or spelling instruction.. She "knows" it when she knows it and in the meantime figures it out by asking, watching, looking and listening..her own unique internal construct of how each shape combination matches up with sounds that make up the words that she knows...whenever she feels the need to figure it out.. mostly inspired to put down names of her recipients of her gifts..She was determined to write every child's name by herself on her birthday invitation this year with help from Hubs on each of their spellings..

It's been a unique process and learning for us as a family by the gifts of Bebu's drawings- her drawings from within and her writing by drawing..

"Happy Sick"- August of this year

Her cousin Sid under the Sun.. 


A recurring favorite- flowers with faces!

A girl with hair and body and the one eyed person!

Grandma with her bindi..

A birthday card with all the members of our family!The three eyed guy is Hubs:)

A zoo picture with children visiting a monkey family and the lion..

Friday, 5 September 2014


My children are blessed to be able to celebrate it with loving grandparents!

Here are pictures of Gingy and Grandma dressed up in traditional kerala clothes!

Monday, 1 September 2014

A sugary project! With a not so sweet ending..

We decided to make rock candy. We might have stumbled upon it while looking through pinterest for interesting rainy day projects.

The steps are quite simple, and require not much more than sugar, water and a few candy-sticks. The idea is to create a super saturated solution for sugar and then leave sticks coated with sugar in the syrup to let the sugar crystalize onto. Wikipedia has a more detailed explanation here

Bebu is quite the kitchen enthusiast when it comes to mixing, and stirring and anything involving colours so she had a good time doing all the set up steps except for the ones involving hot melted sugar.

Here's Bebu having fun coating the sticks with sugar, mixing food colour into cooled sugar syrup and with her 4 colour choices...  I had the glasses covered in cling wrap just to make sure that no dust got into the sugar syrup especially since it would take a week at least before we saw some crystal action.. Also left the glasses up on the second top row of our bookshelf away from some very curious little hands (or big!) that might inadvertently tip them over..

Like Peppa Pig says "Waiting is boring!".. For a couple of days Bebu was interested in checking on them and then kind of gave up since there wasn't much happening... The picture above has some crystals settled on the stick after day 4 or so.. It was working! Yay!

Day 6 involved the family getting busy in lots of festivities around Ganesh festival and we forgot all about our project perched up on our bookshelf. It turned out that what we had forgotten for just a day, the ants had discovered !

The persistent little guys had managed to enter one of the glasses despite my best effort to keep things out..A sugary death for a few ants..

While Hubs and I enthusiastically tried to capture close up pictures of the crystal formation, Bebu wanted to try her sugar stick. She finally decided that she didn't like rock candy because it involved dead ants.. Gingy seemed to enjoy hers quite a bit..

So there it was: a Sugary project with a not so sweet ending..

Whatever our next project turns out to be, it is definitely going to try and avoid harming any kind of life forms...

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Crowning Glory!

Bebu has been eyeing tiaras for a while. We love browsing through etsy and google for creative ideas! And quite often find something that is "just what she likes, but not quite". Solution to picky almost 5 year olds with "specific" requests? Well, just ask them to make it and give them complete creative control!

This mornings bank trip took us to India's answer to Michaels Craft Supplies: Vividha Novelty Shop!. It's phenomonal what that guy manages to pack into a 10 foot by 10 foot space.Glitter, beads, craft supplies, paper, what have you. And beats amazon.in prices too..Vividha will need a blog post in itself!  But now onto the crown. The counter being too high for her, she asked me to carry her while she carefully chose the papers: pink and glittery, the bling stickers, the big jewels that go in the middle etc etc

Armed with a bag full of shiny stuff, we headed back home deciding to embark on project- DIY Tiara.
While she usually knows she wants it to look like, she is far from being able to make it herself, so I am pretty much the executor. Since I personally love crafting and have always have, Bebu's requests for these things is a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of deal:). She wants it, we craft it! Today though she decided that she would cut, and I was impressed with her tenacity and patience in wanting to stick to the outline while trying to cut the heart shape out.

Gratitude to Gingy who takes long summer naps and makes these rather messy and crafting creations involving tiny pieces a possibility!

Here's some pictures of Bebu with her own custom designed tiara hand-crafted from scratch!

If and when she outgrows pink and bling, I'll fondly look through these pages:)

Checking herself out in her little mirror making sure its all princessy-perfect!

  Another addition to our quickly growing craft display!

The pink princess with her dazzling crown!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Peacock Mehendi

Bebu never has wanted Mehendi/ Henna applied on her hands. Up until yesterday!

I was quite surprised when she asked for Mehendi completely voluntarily. Grandma had purchased a henna cone from the market hopeful that someone might use it. Her wishes came true!

Bebu wanted a peacock and had specific instructions on how the feathers had to have eyes and dots and lines that needed to go in a specific direction. Despite my rusty Mehendi drawing skills, she approved of the design.

She patiently sat through the application disappointed to learn that all peacocks were "boys"...

"They shouldn't be the boys.. The peahens should be the boys and the peacocks the girls!"

"And Amma, I want to see Baby Peacocks! And a peacock nest.. and eggs!"

As I finished the design,  I begged her to let me capture a picture.As soon as I clicked, she ran to the sink to wash it off.

"Wait! You are supposed to keep it for longer so that the design can be visible" I said.

"Well, you already got a picture, so you can look at it if you want!" She replied.

It took her less than 5 seconds to undo the partially dried henna. Remarkably there was some impression of a design!

 Here's Bebu's first ever Mehendi that she asked for by choice!


Polka dots and pink: this might be a bit hard for the non pink-polka-dot-dress-lovers to understand, but ask Bebu and she will tell you that wearing a dress like this will just make you want to dance!

Twirling and swirling her skirt to whatever music that was playing, she spontaneously broke into her steps to express her delight about a dress that required celebration!

The pictures quite don't do justice to the emotions! It's hard sometimes to capture the swell of joy in the frame of a camera!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Blinged out!

Bebu definitely has a thing for Bling! And Grandma of course seems to share her passion for shiny sparkly things especially stickers, beads and baubles..

This morning she requested that we make a "Diamond" necklace. (to be said in a whisper with much aura and mystery- just as they do in the movies..)

Here is our inspiration from a google search. The design was chosen by her after scrolling through a bunch of images..

And here is our final product designed by Bebu, bling stickers (from Grandma's stash) all chosen by her for colour and stuck by her- with help from me in only fabricating the structure of necklace..

On the designer herself who was also intent on showing off her pearly whites:)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Rainbow Rice!

The hot summer afternoons are here! Bebu and I have been doing some simple projects staying cool indoors!

One of our first projects: Rainbow Rice.

All you need is old cheap rice and edible food colour. I luckily have an infant who doesn't seem to be interested in putting it in her mouth. But very very interested in mixing, scooping and doing what the Hubs calls "Alchemy":)

Here are some pictures!

Bebu chose the colours. It was my idea to layer it in a glass bottle, but of course Bebu had her own ideas:)

Did you know it takes intense concentration to make rainbow rice?:) 


Lessons learnt from my little alchemist on how to create the perfect rainbow rice: Mix, mix, mix! Scoop, pour and mix again!

If in doubt, just ask Gingy, she'll show you how it's done!:)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Dead bugs, Death and Favorit-est things

After an exceptionally fun outing yesterday, on the drive back, Bebu whispered to me in the car.

"I have a secret for you".

Then she asked me very carefully, "Will Appa (Daddy) get old?"

I replied, "Ya, I mean he is getting older..?"

She whispered back again, "But I dont want him to die.."

Silent pause from me. Silence from her. I was stumped for a second, because my "having-just-finished-an ice-cream" brain wasn't ready for a heavy duty topic.

Me: "Ok, Bebu"

Then came the next one while I was still thinking! " Will I die too?"

So I said to her in a very matter of fact, but quite calm way, "Well, Some day you might.."

I leaned over the sleeping infant on my lap to tussle her hair.

Bebu: "But I dont want to die"

Me : " hmmm, yeah.. I don't either,Bebu"

Bebu: "Because if I die, I won't be alive anymore and I can't do my favorite-st thing of swimming!"

Me: "That's right! So that's why we should try and swim as much as we can while we are alive!"

Adding,  "And stay safe while we are doing it!"

Bebu still wasn't done with death. "Will you die?"

Me: "Someday I will. We all will. When we get old, our bodies shut down"

Bebu: "Will Grandma die first? She is really old"

Hubs: "She is older, but she tries to stay healthy. Sometimes people die not just when they are old, but when they are sick". (Phew! thanks Hubs, for jumping in with that one!)

And then we talked more about our recently departed aunt that we just went to celebrate the memory of. We stayed and prayed with her and our family. We spoke about how she used to visit, how Bebu was having a hard time remembering her, how she might be with God, and how she is in our memories.

And then Bebu got distracted with something else and we were off to another topic.

Having both the kids asleep later on, I asked Hubs if he knew what might have triggered her question. Earlier this morning, he and Bebu had gone swimming. By the showers lay a dead bug. Bebu noticed it and they had a conversation about how the bug might have died and how it didn't move anymore. Hubs had mentioned to her that the bug might have died because it might have gotten really old.

It took a day for my almost 5 year old to ponder and arrive at the conclusion that what happens to bugs could happen to people as well.

It took 2 minutes of talking in the car with Bebu about death to remind myself  that it's important for me to do the things I love best while I am alive. Like enjoying the ice cream that I eat. And talking to Bebu about "dead bugs and other things". And spending time with my family.  For in Bebu's exact words " because if I die, I won't be alive anymore and I can't do my favorite-st thing of ....."

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Bumpy Moons!

Bebu spotted the orange moon day before yesterday. It was quite late and we had the lights out already in our bedroom. I tried to get pictures of the beautiful orange crescent moon, but every time I clicked the pictures would get all blurred.

After every "click", she would want to see the picture in the viewer of the SLR. I was a bit dismayed that I didn't have a tripod and couldn't capture its beauty. I said to her, " Bebu, It's all bumpy!", with a slight frown on my face.

But then little Bebu had an entirely different way of looking at it. She said "I like the bumpy orange moon! It's like lots of moons are popping out of the bumpiness!"

Which, of course, immediately turned a sort of "abandoned attempt" to capture the moon into an "exciting moment" to capture more pictures of bumpy moons.

So here is our best capture of the night! Picture by Me. Title by Bebu.

                                         A picture titled: Bumpy orange moons popping out!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Faces and Drawings!

Bebu has discovered drawing. She makes drawings on our walls. Since we haven't bothered to get the house painted, the walls are filled with artwork. Our guests often comment on how full of artwork our home is. The Hubby and I join in in adding more decorations and drawings. Not really in a planned way. More in a find a pencil, lets just go all out on the expressions and who needs to find paper types-way:)

The paper art is quickly piling up too. I seem to have inherited "pack-rat"ing tendencies especially when it comes to my children's creations. It's hard to throw something away that has been so lovingly created. Thank goodness for camera's and photography.

These are Bebu's wall drawings over the past few months. She has been making faces. We were watching Art Attack and Mr.Maker, both shows that we loved.. Somewhere around then is when she started to draw. We have kind of stopped watching the shows, but the drawings happily continue:)



  She said this was our house!

   Grandma with her glasses and hair!

This one she made day before yesterday when a friend came over and we spontaneously embarked on a sticker creation session. Out of a bunch of materials that I opened out, which included flower and leaf stickers, Bebu created the face of a girl with a hair band!

Which one do you like best?

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!