Category: Fun Mum

At the Residency – a bit of history for kids

At the Residency – a bit of history for kids

It’s been over two decades since I moved out of my hometown, Lucknow. Each summer I come back here with the kids to renew my bonds with the city. I am extremely proud of its rich culture and history, the language of its people, their subtle sense of humour and of course its culinary treats. That’s not to say I haven’t bonded with all the cities I’ve lived in but nothing really does compare with home.

To the kids, it often doesn’t quite compare with the city of their birth, being smaller and more laid-back. For this one month I try to show them my city through my eyes, to share with them what I find special about it. 
This week we decided on a historical tryst with the Residency. It dates back to the time of British rule in India and was witness to the first war of Indian Independence way back in 1857. This is where some British families were held under siege while the Indian rebels waged war against them. It’s a majestic building, even in its ruins and has stood steadfast for over 200 years.
H and N wanted to know why we played cricket with the ‘British’ despite having been at war with them. They asked whether there were women and children in the British homes who were hurt in the fight. It was a great time to reinforce how History evolves and how things change over time, how we forget enmity and learn to live in peace. As also the sad effects of war – how innocents are always hurt no matter who is in the right.
Once there, they were too excited running around in the ruins with their cousins to really worry about the history. Sharing some pictures here.

The ruins stand amidst lots of greenery
Signs of the struggle – musket and cannon marks
That, in the backdrop, is a British banquet hall – we had a great time imagining what it would have been like before the place was destroyed.

Doors within doors – amazing symmetry

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Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter R with thanks to Mrs Nesbitt for coming up with this wonderful concept. 

N is for Nature love

N is for Nature love

Taking forward my resolution of letting ‘Fun Mum’ take over this summer and the kids having sufficiently recovered from their respective illnesses, I decided to renew their friendship with nature. 

As a child I was fortunate to have been brought up in a house with a large garden. We had a list of rose varieties at our finger tips. We knew our verbena from phlox. We knew when the seasonals would arrive in all their colourful glory and when they’d be gone leaving behind the zinnias and the cosmos.

We watched our parents preparing flower beds and then budding and grafting. We were brave enough to occasionally go and stir up the absolutely foul smelling compost pot in the far corner of the garden. We were fine with chameleons and lizards roaming around and didn’t have a fit if a spider crawled too close. It is rather sad then, that I have a daughter who upsets the entire dinner table if a moth flies by – a moth for goodness sake – it hardly even likes to be noticed!

Ah well, this is one friendship that just might never happen but I would definitely like my children to see what I see when I’m out among the greens. And so it was, that we set out, drawing kits in hand to get to know Nature. It was already mid morning, way too sunny for much running around but pleasantly cool to sit in the shade. I am glad the kids are at the age when sitting down is a real possibility. They planned to draw but got off to a slow start as they sat around with a ‘What should we draw?’. Soon however they picked out their spots and settled down.

I sat enjoying the quiet (a rare thing with both of them around) with the odd call of the bird or the sound of a wind chime in the breeze. That was one moment I locked away as my ‘happy memory’ to be cherished many times over. It is at moments such as these that I’m glad I am a SAHM and have the flexibility to plan my leisure. 

As I watched them I realised they enjoyed walking out with me. It is I who do not make time often enough. We don’t even need to go anywhere fancy – just around our apartment complex is enough. Occasionally we go to a park and that’s a big treat. H manages to find silly stuff like sticks or weirdly shaped twigs or befriends stray cats while N enjoys picking stones (some of which aren’t stones at all but broken bits of glass or coloured tiles), flowers and pretty fruit. Once H even dug up a butterfly pupa. Here are some pictures from one such trip last year.

After we’d done with the drawing, we collected interesting looking twigs and fashioned a family tree putting up different coloured leaves for different generations.

And we pressed some leaves to be made into cards later on.

N also picked flowers that we floated in a bowl.

Being close to nature works wonderfully for the kids. Here’s why..

– They stay away from mind-numbing TV and endless gaming.

– They learn to listen to silence and enjoy it too.

– Since there are no clear ‘instructions’ on what they are supposed to do, being out in the open comes with all the benefits of free play. They use their imagination and work out what they can do. Believe me they have plenty of ideas.

– They learn to observe and ask questions.

– It helps them grow up into responsible nature loving adults.

So do make time to step out with the kids. Talk about the trees, deconstruct a flower, study a leaf, follow a ladybug, watch the night sky. Don’t have kids? Well go out on your own. Skip the gym and go walk or jog. Take deep breaths, feel the breeze, enjoy the sunshine. It’s fun… and just a few days to go before summer comes by in all her glory.

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter N. 

Mommy wars

Mommy wars

The holidays have begun. Yay! Freedom from the early morning rush, the tussle over breakfast, the struggle with homework, the hurry-hurry-hurry. We intend to sleep in, go for long walks, cook and craft and read and watch films together.

This academic year has been exceptionally hard on all of us and I’ve done more than my share of yelling. Now’s the time to make up for all of that. Everything else will wait now – work, freelancing, even blogging to some extent – everything. I intend to be the funnest mama ever this summer – no rules, no yelling.

However, day one of the holidays and I am already wondering if that is even possible. I have a bunch of mums living inside me counselling and debating and struggling to assert themselves. They all have different takes on how I should handle the kids. I wrote earlier about the struggle between Sane Mum and Mushy Mum here. This time round it’s the Fun Mum (the one who believes kids should just have fun) and the Evil Mum (the strict disciplinarian) fighting it out. If you would ever stumble upon them you might hear a conversation such as this one…

Fun Mum: Yay holidays! Disappear now, will you?
Evil Mum: Noooo you don’t mean that.
FM: Of course I mean it. I love my babies, I intend to show them just how much. We’re going to have fun together.
EM (stubbornly): Well, they’re my babies too and I love them, perhaps more than you. You’ll spoil them silly. I’m the one who looks out for them. I’m not leaving.
FM: They deserve to be spoiled once in a while. It’s the holidays for goodness sake. You’ve done your thing. Your time’s up. See you in June.
EM: I thought you’d planned to help them catch up with their studies during summer.
FM: I do remember very well, thank you. And we SHALL do that but in a FUN way. No slogging, no yelling. Leave now, please.

EM (A trifle slyly): You sure you won’t need me? Two months is a long time.

FM: Sure, certain, positive.
EM (Pretending to leave): Well then perhaps I’ll take a holiday. God knows I need it. By the way I do hope you have a plan on how you’ll handle the endless TV watching, the iPad madness, the bickering and the fighting, the refusal to switch off the light at night. I’m sure you have a FUN plan. Goodluck. Ciao.
FM (Flustered): Err umm.. wait on, will you.
EM: Let me see.. Mussourie sounds good this summer or should I head South?
FM: Hey wait, maybe you can hang on at the fringes and show up just once in a while?
EM: What? You requesting me to stay? Sure, certain, positive?
FM (Petulantly): ALL RIGHT I’m sorry. Guess we can’t really do without you. But stay out of sight. I’ll call you when I need you.
EM: Works for me. (Linking hands with FM) We make the perfect couple, you and I.
FM (Agreeing reluctantly): I guess so. They do need us both.

Edited to add: As it turned out the kids fell ill right on day 1. Both EM and FM have retired to some sorry corner to wait out their turn while Mushy Mum and Fussy Mum have taken over completely.