Saturday, 21 May 2011

Better than a Sandpit....?

Philosophically, I fully endorse sandpits. I'm just not good with the practicalities of having sand traipsed through the house, tipped over heads, and caught in trouser turn ups. Here's an alternative I gave Thom to play with this morning - a mixture of dried dhal on a bamboo tray. The tray is a traditional one, usually used for drying grains, chillis etc. This activity only cost about 2 pounds - and even better than that, he enjoyed playing with it for about an hour, while Eve and Noah were out getting haircuts with Harv. Yeah, there was a fair bit of dhal on the floor but I reckon it only took about 5 minutes to sweep up, thereby making a profit of about 55 minutes! You know, that equation you do in your head with children's play and activities: (How long the activity engages the child) - (How long it takes you to set up and then clear up after said activity) = profit or loss of time for Mum. There are variations on the equation - for example if children can play completely independently it = more time than if needs to be supervised by someone. And if it cost a few pence rather than twenty quid that can be factored in too. Thus, a game devised by two children playing co-operatively (rather than arguing!!) involving a cardboard box and some pine cones is worth a fortune, and finger painting that smalls are bored by in less than ten minutes makes a disappointing loss. That's not to say we don't fingerpaint, obviously, just that I am occasionally frustrated when they're not very engaged by it. And that's not even thinking about the actities that they find for themselves....... emptying a drawer of clothes might take them twenty minutes, and only take you 5 minutes to put right, so you let them get on with it, whereas using a jar of honey to mop the kitchen floor...... well, the eqation's just not going to come out in your favour, eh......

I'm not the only one who thinks like this am I......?

Anyway, Yay! for the happy boy who was so engaged, he was doing his audible 'I am concentrating' breathing... and the dhal is now safely stashed for another day....

PS If you like this idea, I also sometimes hide little coins in it for him to find.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Seasonal Stairs

Have a look around a bit more of our house....

We have a big open marble staircase. Rather Footballers' Wives, and at odds with the fact that we often don't have electricity to light the bloody thing! It's acoustically challenging too - imagine three small people in the hallway on the ground floor 'discussing' whose turn it is to read the pirate book...... To say it hurts my ears and my soul might sound a bit of an overstatement, but gah!!

Anyhow, there is an alcove on the first floor that was empty for ages as I didn't know what to do with it. Then it finally dawned on me that it would be a good home for the season table and so it has become a sort of season corner....

This is probably the oddest bit of the house. Where else to dry the laundry during monsoon? There isn't a designated laundry, so here's were it all drips / steams - just slightly incongruous at the top of a FW staircase, but hey...... This is all our swimming clobber - absolutely loving swimming at the moment: the rascals adore it and it is keeping me sane in the heat.

And here's the view from the top. Still gives me goose bumps looking over it. I have checked that Thom's head DOES NOT fit between the bannisters several times, but still.....

So there you have it - the staircase...!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Monkey Platter!

I find myself providing about four of these a day for the hungry smalls....... And yes they do get meals as well. In fact the boys each have about three breakfasts!

Here's Bipin

Isn't he beautiful? He's our guard/gardener/odd job man's son, and is about 14 months old. He had that kind of crazy professor hair that some babies grow, until about a week ago when it was all shaved off. I think it's a cultural thing - Nepali baby boys have no hair cuts until they are two, and then it's shaved - but the age doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule, so I'm not sure really......
Anyway, had to share the cutenes......

Friday, 13 May 2011

Play Table

I don’t think I am updating this blog as often as I used to when I was working. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it is because I don’t want to moan online about the things that annoy me about living here, and equally feel a bit nervous that I’ll sound hideously smug if I waffle on about the great things. There are also things that make me nervous, and I don’t want to talk about them either. This blog used to be my way of recording my children’s childhood, and a few of my more creative achievements; perhaps now that I don’t work outside the home, I am more deeply embedded in their day to day childhood, and simply don’t think to record it so often…? I also don’t take my camera out so much, which often provided me with the inspiration to blog. I don’t feel bad about this though - we had friends visiting recently, who talked about meeting a very skilled photographer who gave them lots of tips for their photography, and whose parting wisdom was, “But remember to look with your eyes.” I’ve been doing a lot of looking with my eyes.
Anyway, back to the title of the post, and one of my reasons for blogging: this is the play table in the middle of our hallway, and this is what I mean to do more often that I actually DO do. The idea is that it has a selection of activities, hopefully some choices for everyone, so that they can pick / invent / adapt and play / learn independently, especially at the times of day that I am busy / not at my best, ie first thing (and I mean FIRST thing – 5am) in the morning, making lunch, just getting in from the school run. It’s not something that I find easy, putting things on a table in the hope that there will be something for Eve, who is now embracing literacy, Noah, who likes Maths but only when free to choose, and Thom who wants to get involved in what his older siblings are doing, which often leads to frustration on both sides. So, let’s see what they make of this: Eve’s school reading book; a poster already partly coloured by Noah and written on by Eve; a handful of beloved decorated bottle tops from Canada; a couple of activity books (Ben 10 and Lion King – yeah, we have lovely eco, ethical ones too – I’m into a real honesty run at the moment, though, and feeling very anti-‘oh, my children just play with pine cones and pebbles, they’re so free!!’ so, um, honesty, think that’s enough explanation…); chunky books for Thom, including noisy one as he adores things happening when he presses buttons; a felt flower that fell off my hair band; some lovely quality pencil crayons – really nice, bright colours; a regular pencil; a play-cube thingy; some pretty stickers; a book of plain paper that Eve usually uses for writing.
Maybe we need a bigger table……..

Can you imagine the fuss if I got them each their own table?? No one would ever have the right things on their table…..

So – I’ll let you know how we get on…………………..

I wrote this post offline yesterday, while Blogger was down, so can update right now tha;, Eve was happily entertaining herself this morning with things from the table; Noah was mildly interested, but spurned the pencil crayons and ran off to get the felt tips. Thom was nowhere in sight until I walked into the dining room, where I found him sitting in the middle of the table, elbow deep in the water-filled bowl I float flowers in, making some kind of soup.....

They are currently dressed as a cowboy, a pirate and one is entirely naked, and playing a Mr Tickle game in a den they've made in the sitting room.

Swimming later, time to get organised.....

Have a great weekend everyone.