Monday, December 19, 2011

On understanding and possessing

December 19th 2011

Raghav has a way of saying the most profound things to me when I am in the least frame of mind to pen it down! He always catches me when I am sleepy or tired to utter these profanities and I have a hard time trying to jog my mind and remember every word that he said! Today has been no different.

Raghav was seeing his cousin brother (2 yrs and 9 months) Aditya after exactly a year now. He is my sister's son and hero worships Raghav. The last time they met was a terrific experience for me as I just could not do very much in helping Raghav understand himself and his brother - or atleast I thought so! Ultimately, it was getting so difficult and traumatic for him, that I had to be assertive and limit the time they had with each other in order that it was a short and pleasant experience for both of them and us. Today, after a year, my son told me in not so many words, that my not doing anything was probably the best I could have done then for him! And I am thankful to him for letting me know that.

Just before they arrived this time, I was preparing Raghav and was scared at the back of my mind as to how things would shape up between the two this time. Raghav very confidently told me as if he was reading my mind: "Amma, this time I can handle him.....don't worry.....I know how to handle babies now."

I asked him with a bit of apprehension: "Oh, how do you know?" (the teacher in me yelling out loud that to learn a skill, you need to experience or do it and then practice it often and that he had had none or very little interaction with babies to learn this) to which he replied very matter-of-factly :"Amma.....the last time, I learnt". While I was trying hard to understand how this could have happened as that experience had been so chaotic and turbulent, he said (again as if he was reading my mind) :"Amma, yes....I learnt how to handle Aditya from the last time he was here! I can handle him now!"

I had tears in my was my 6 year old giving me one of the most important lessons in life - to use stumbling blocks as stepping stones....everytime you fail you actually learn something. Here I was doubting myself and his confidence, while he had learnt something so important that he was waiting to try out this time! Perhaps the best thing I had done the last time was nothing, other than just being his voice to the rest of the world and letting go of my ego to tell my sister that he needed his space and thereby respect his feelings and him. I am glad I did what I did. It was not one bit easy then, but I had to do it for him. And I can tell you that the understanding for me and my sister too did not come then, but rather, with time and just allowing things to be.

Today while we were discussing how the day had been with Aditya, he told me how he found it difficult to handle him. He first said: "Amma I was quite angry with him for getting up and coming behind me every second while he was eating. Why did he do that?"and then he corrected himself "Amma, no I was actually not angry, but a little upset". This clarity has come now I think because of constantly mirroring his emotions to him and discussing the subtle differences between them, through real life experiences.

He then recalled another thing that happened today. Aditya and he were playing in the sand pit with spades and a dumptruck. Raghav had parted with this favourite dump truck and allowed him to play with it. Later, while Aditya was busy playing something else, Raghav started playing with it. Aditya immediately came and asked for it and Raghav refused to give it to him saying that now he wanted to play and did not want to share it. Aditya would not get distracted by anything else that my sister did. He was insistent that he wanted to play with only that. I kept mirroring both the kids feelings, acknowledging them both, but it was heading nowhere and so we decided to go home and get Aditya something else to play with, which they agreed to. At the end of the day, Raghav analysed this event himself and had this to say:
"Amma, I think Aditya really wanted to play with that dump truck. I think he did not understand when I told him that I was playing with it now. Actually his turn was over and now it was my turn. I think he did not understand that. I also did not tell him that.....And you know, actually he must have thought that I stole the dump truck - because he was crying so much - I think he must have thought that because I took it away when he was not looking....he did not know that I took it and suddenly when he looked, he saw me playing with his dump truck. I should have asked him, but I forgot!"

I did not understand completely and asked :"But why should you ask? The dump truck was yours right?" to which he replied:"No amma, it was actually his then because just before that, he was playing with it. I should have asked him if I could play with it."

I was shocked. Here I was being a typical adult - my perspective to the littlest of things clouded with my prior conditionings. I just could not understand the situation in that way, until my son put it all in perspective for me! I am really thankful to this experience of unschooling that is opening up my mind and helping me look at learning, understanding, sharing and so many other things in a new, different and beautiful light!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


"You can never say how things are going to come next, but you can always say that I can do it, I can do it"
- 30th August 2011


"Life is like don't know what is going to happen next."
"Life on earth never ends........when something dies it just becomes another thing like a plant, insect, animal or human being..."
"We all have God inside us. When someone dies, God goes away from inside him and finds another God to make friends with in another thing...."
- 13th January 2012
"Love is doing something with happiness"
- Feb 1st 2012

" I am not my body. My body knows what it needs.....but sometimes it just doesn't tell me!"

- April 2013

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Looking into the future......

Raghav was having a bath and as he usually does, was playing with the water and wasting quite a lot of it in the bargain. I immediately reminded him and recalled the documentary we had recently watched on conservation of resources.

He promptly said: "Amma! It is ok if we don't have water on Earth. Maybe by that time, all the other planets in the solar system will become like the Earth and we could go live there if we want to!"

Now what do I say to that? I really don't know!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Invisible card

We were talking about making a thank you card for someone in the family. Raghav was keen to make one, but could not wait for me to finish off something before helping him get his pens and crayons.... so he promptly told me this:

"Amma! I have a brilliant idea! I will make an invisible card with this white paper. So I don't need any pens or crayons......I will just give this to them when they come and tell them that they have to find out what I have drawn and where!"

Now how can I have a child like this go to school you think?? Can you imagine what would happen if the teacher gave him a test or an exam sometime later on in life? I expect he would say: "How come you can't read the answers? I wrote them with invisible ink!" (or something like that!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chaat sandwich! - any takers?

Raghav came up with this yummy recipe yesterday and had it for lunch! Why don't you try it too and give us your feedback?!

Mint chutney
boiled potatoes
coriander - finely chopped
sev / omapodi (fine)
bread slices

How to make it:
Butter the bread slices.
Spread the mint chutney on both slices
Cut the potatoes into thin circles / slices.
Put them on top of the chutney as a layer.
Sprinkle some coriander and sev on top.
Cover with the other slice of bread and give it a bite!
Really yummy!

Raghav's add ons:
If you want it spicy, then add more mint chutney.
If you want it sweet, then you can use sweet chutney instead of the mint chutney!

A cup for losing!

Raghav has this tremendous fear of failure, which we have been working on......he hates losing and is a perfectionist - won't even attempt something till he knows he can do it perfectly - to match the standards he has set for himself.

Often, when we go down to play, he uses his cycle as a race car - decides on how many laps there will be in the race, gets me to time him, has pit-stops when I have to take on the role of pit-stop crew, and so on. But because he hates losing, he does not like to race with anyone but himself.

After many months of racing and playing games with us at home, where we allow him to win, yesterday he told me: "amma, I lost the race." I was waiting for a melt down.....but that did not happen. Instead, he pretended to walk up somewhere and get something. I asked him quietly and gently as to what he was getting and he said - "amma, I lost the race. I am getting the cup for losing!"

What an idea! We give people or teams cups for being runners-up, but do we call that a cup for losing??

Well, maybe this means that he has come to terms with failure....because it has come from him, not from us. As a mother, I hope he has understood what it means to lose or I do hope he will learn that some day. That is one of the most important lessons to learn in life I think.....and to be okay with it.....For failure must be a springboard for future success...

Fire escapes

R: "Amma what are those spiral steps for?"
Me: "Oh! That is the fire escape."
R: " What is that?"
Me: " That is how you are supposed to escape when there is a fire in the building"
R: " Oh! But why have they made spiral steps for that when you have to go fast? I can't go fast down those steps when I have to escape!"

I never thought about that even one time in all these 41 years! Have you?!
Architects are you listening??!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


At 5:30 every evening, our doorbell rings promptly and Raghav knows exactly who that would be! His friend Neel - an 8 year old boy in our apartment complex. Both have one common like - LEGO! Neel many a times, even fore goes playing with his friends outside, to come home and build some things with Raghav's lego. Most often, Raghav is ok with sharing his Lego - I guess because he trusts Neel - knows that he understands how to handle it. That is very important to Raghav if he has to share something with someone.

Today, Raghav wanted to go down after a while to play and wanted Neel to play outside with him, but Neel was too interested in the Lego to go down, and tried to come up with so many reasons for not going. Finally, he said "Raghav, but there is noone there to play with. You need many children right to play with outside?"

Raghav promptly replied:" No! I don't!I don't need too many children. I am still not okay with playing with children outside.....I am still learning to do that......but I am okay to play with children at home. So, if you come down with me, we'll play."

I was absolutely amazed at the clarity with which he spoke about himself. He seems to know himself inside out, while here I am learning something new from him everyday, and still getting to understand him.

After about 10 months of homeschooling, he is showing me how much he has understood his strengths and difficulties. I am glad we took time off to do this. I am so happy and proud of what we have learnt so far in this journey together......