Friday, November 26, 2010

Santa Claus comes to town!

It was the time of day when Raghav and I usually get out of the house - most often he cycles around the block, or else plays in the play area, but many a time, we just spend some quiet time enjoying the cool breeze, watching people and other kids, or just the clouds drifting along in the sky....

And this story is for all my concerned friends who kept asking me (and sometimes still do!) or Srinath about how our homeschooling decision would impact Raghav's social interactions. "Would he have friends?", "He needs kids to learn from" many concerned questions....My answer - When kids need kids, they will seek them out! Read on and find out....

Well, to Raghav, it doesn't so much matter as to what he does at that time of day downstairs.....but he just has to be there! He just wants to be around other kids - that is his need. Playing with them or interacting with them is only when he wants to. And like all of us adults, who want a break from things, these things too are part of a cycle of wanting to be with kids to moving away and wanting to be with oneself alone. And that I believe is ok. After all, we all need our space, and the little "my" time, don't we??

So it was one of those points in the cycle, where he wanted to do something to be wanted or noticed. Suddenly one day, he told me he wanted to dress up as Santa Claus and go down to play. We had just found the Santa cap a few days ago, while we were looking for something else. So in five minutes we had to dress up as Santa with gifts et al and be down in time for the kids to arrive! He promptly got dressed - wore a red t shirt, and the red cap, and wanted me to make him an impromptu beard! So we drew out a beard on plain white paper, he cut it out and then stuck it on his face with two bits of sticky tape! He then wanted a red bag and something to give as gifts for all the children. The only thing I had lots of that day were some sweets. So he put them into the bag and went down to cycle. There was a little Santa on a cycle that day at our apartment complex! It took a while, but his plan worked. Soon, as he was cycling around, many kids started noticing him, stopped by to ask if he was Santa, and then what he had brought for them. He happily distributed the sweets and there was a little ad-man in the making! Very soon, these kids went and brought their friends to him, only because he had sweets to give free! But that was okay! He had achieved his purpose - he got noticed and everyone stopped to talk to him! At one point he looked like Pied Piper - cycling around with a group of kids running behind him! What a novel idea to start getting to know people! I would never have thought of something like this!

Then, a day later, he wanted to dress up and go again as Santa. I immediately tried to dissuade him, but he was insistent. But this time, we discussed what we could give the kids, and he decided to give them some bookmarks he had made sometime ago. So he went again dressed as Santa with his cap, beard and bag of gifts! But this time, although all the kids came and spoke to him a bit more and recognised him, some did not want the bookmark as it did not interest them. But that did not deter him or his spirit. He still went around looking for older kids to give it to, who would use them more.

The third day too he wanted to do the same thing. Now this time I was a bit stressed out as to what to give and I was worried it was becoming a habit! As usual, he out-smarted me! He said - "amma, this time, don't worry, we won't give them anything!" When I told him that no one might come then, he said" it's ok. We will play a trick on them this time! When they ask me what I have for them in the bag, I will say NOTHING!!" He is just too smart and seems to know human psychology! This time too, his idea worked! Many kids were amused at his new idea and smiled or laughed and went away! But by this time, they all knew his name, which block and flat he lived in and that he did not go to school, but was homeschooling! What a simple and wonderful way to advertise yourself! Kids are really amazing!

More than all these events, what surprised me and humbled me the most was our discussion after all this........

Me: "Raghav, how come you want to dress up as Santa and give gifts to all the kids?"

R: "Amma, I want to give gifts because I see my friends and God inside me"

Me:" Then how come sometimes you don't like to share most of your things when your friends come home?"

R:(without batting an eyelid or thinking twice)" Amma, there are two Gods inside me - a Happy God and an Angry God! Now, the Happy God is coming out and telling me to give these gifts to my friends! But when they come home, the Angry God comes out and tells me not to share my toys!"

Me: "So which God do you like better?"

R (again without thinking) :" I like both Gods!"

That was the most remarkable story of God I have heard till date. To me, that was the essence of all the Vedas and Scriptures and anything else we look up to! - Accepting oneself and understanding or knowing all sides / facets of oneself is the first step towards realising God. And it was a truly humbling experience for me as a mother... as I myself, after 41 years of my life and existence, am not able to accept some facets of myself as a person! And here was a 5 year old doing it with so much ease! I am a proud and happy mom today!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Raghav's theories

I was reading a book that we had got from the library - Geography and Maps for kids - this seems to be Raghav's area of interest now by the way - and Raghav chose a question as to why and how typhoons / storms occur. The entire book is like a "Tell me Why / How" book, but has loads of visuals and some cartoons and stuff that makes it great fun! Raghav loves this book!

We were talking about warm, moist air and dry, cool air and how one rises up and the other one takes its place.......he immediately internalised it and organised this information by talking about the AC room he sleeps in and how if we leave the door open when the AC is on, the room would not get cool and so on....Then, we spoke about spiralling wind, fast speed wind and he drew a similarity to the water spinning around in a bucket of water, when he moved his hand fast in the water round and round.....creating a funnel shape / spiral...and suddenly he said this - "amma, do you know why the Earth spins around? It is because the wind moves so fast!"