Tag: Summer Holidays

Have you played Uno cards?

Have you played Uno cards?

Have any of you played Uno cards? I’ve always managed to make good my escape, pitting the kids against each other or passing the buck very gracefully to my mother or sister when they have been available. However this weekend I was well and truly caught.
Stuck as I was, I applied myself diligently to the game. ‘They’re just two ten-year-olds’, I thought, ‘how tough would it be to defeat them and get on with my chores?’ 

After about twenty minutes I was more than willing to eat my words (or even my thoughts). The game just refused to end. The idea is to get rid of all your cards but each time I thought I was almost there I’d be saddled with some more. 

There is a whole big bunch of the most complex rules. (Or maybe is it just me with my terrible memory. I’ll never know). Sometimes I got the sneaking suspicion that the children kept changing the rules to suit themselves. I kept being made to skip chances or reverse the order of playing till I had no clue what was going on.
At the end of half hour I just wanted the game to end. I decided I’d try to lose and get over with it. However, that wasn’t happening in a hurry too.
This game of cards is U.N.E.N.D.I.N.G! 
(Quite like the Game of Thrones, which I am also ploughing through these days.)
After much hard work N finally won and I celebrated harder than she did. Come Monday I will begin work on a strategy to circumvent more Uno card encounters.

Teen Do Paanch and Kot Piece were easier

Did you play cards when you were young? We did. It was’t considered the most respectable of past-times but when six of us cousins got together each summer, card games were a favourite.
Not for us these Unos. We played Teen, Do, Paanch and Kot Piece (or is it Court Piece or Coat Pees, I need to google that). Then there was Bluff which was played with multiple suits and Gun which needed six players. There were also Rummy and Flash which were considered too grown up for us. Even though I did manage to finally officially grow up I never got a hang of those two.
We spent many long afternoons over hotly contested games cooled down by tall glasses of nimbu paani and the fragrant breeze from khas khas mats. Allegations of cheating flew back and forth (Cousin no 2 was a pro at it) and cards would be thrown down with promises of ‘I’ll never play with you again’ (that would be our oldest, Cousin no 1). Many a sad tear was spilt followed by hours of ‘I’m not talking to you’ only to be forgotten in favour of yet another good game.
That’s the way we played cards.
This time when I was home, my father just back from China, got these beautiful dinosaur playing cards. (He’s a Palaeontologist, hence). After we’d admired them enough, I thought it was time to initiate the kids into my kind of game. And so I explained the whole thing about declaring trumps and making hands.
To their credit they took to it way better than I took to their Uno and were soon yelling ‘I trumpeted you’ with great vigour filling me with hope that we’ll stick to these. At least our card games have an end to them.
All in all a weekend well spent.
So what did you do over the weekend. Do you remember any childhood games? Or those that you’ve shared with your kids? I’d love to hear from you.

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Reflections From Me
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.