Monday, July 13, 2009

Sophia's first rain

Last Saturday was Sophia's first time out in the rain. How it came about was very interesting. We wanted to take the kids to the botanical garden for an evening picnic. I had it all planned out - the kids were to nap, Anjali usually naps for a couple of hours in the afternoon, I would nap for an hour, then cook up a picnic dinner, pack a towel, take dinner to the gardens and let the kids crawl/ run around in the grass.

It flopped on several accounts. First, Anjali, who usually sleeps by 2pm, refused to sleep till 3pm. On all accounts, she would sleep till 5pm, and then it would be too late to go to the garden. But miraculously (or rather owing to the weird sweet that the hamster boy gave her that made her cough in her sleep), she woke up to drink water after half an hour and refused to nap again. She wanted instead to play with her new toy train set.

So, it looked as though we may just make it to the garden. I wuickly threw together some rice and beans, cut some watermelons to take with us, while husband helped pack the bags and get the kids ready. We were nearly on oir way out when.

Boom Boom

Thunder sounded in the distance and a summer shower came pouring.

I was pretty disappointed and flopped in the sofa.

"I'll take Sophia and get wet in the rain", said husband

"I want to come also", cried Anjali.

I took a deep breath.

"Well, since everyone in the family is crazy, I might as well join the club"

So we went. Since we were getting wet, there was no need for a carrier. I took a towel to leave on the bicycle stand under the block and we walked.

Sophia enjoyed the rain, kicking and squealing, and later, after she was dried up, babbling out the whole story to me while Anjali was swinging in the wet swing.

Anjali is another phenomenon. She was out until completely drenched, and then went to the swing, where she wanted to play. She looked at the swing, which was wet and then asks me

"Mummy, do you have a new jetti for me if this one gets wet?"

At this juncture, I have to make a comment, without sounding patronizing or superior, on children's explorations and parents' attitudes.

Yesterday, during IEP, Jayanthy told a story

There was once some tourists who went from France to India. they were in India in June, where the sun was blazing. Everyday, they went out, and when they got back, their arms were blistered and scorched by the heat. They loved everything they saw, just wished that the sun werent so strong.

An old wise man who lived in the house with them said, "Make the sun your friend, and open up to him. Then you will grow to love it as well"

And then she asked "How many parents think that if the child goes out in the rain he/ she will fall sick?"

Nearly every parent in the room put up their hands.

Little dheeraj piped up

"The other day, i went to Sentosa, and when I was at the song of the sea and it was raining, my cousin told me dont listen to your mother and get wet"

And anita aunty added

"The next day you got a fever"

And Jayanthy claimed

"That was you, thinking that he would get a fever, and a bit of that consciousness passed to him"

that is one of the things I like about husband. He never worried about Anjali's little flus and fevers. Thattha would pull out his hair when we took the kids to play in the rain, but husband usually initiated this sort of stuff. He always ancouraged Anjali to play in the mud and walk barefoot, while patti, thattha and sometime me too, worried about dog poo and HFMD.

Gradually I learnt to shed my worries. It was not getting wet that would cause the child to get a cold, it was staying wet. So as long as after the rain play, we dried them and changed their clothes, they would be fine. It was no more than taking a natural bath.

it was not stepping in the dirt that caused diseases, it is unwashed hands and food that went into the mouth.

As parents we need to get that clear. Sometimes, the instinct to protect is so strong, it makes us want to fence. If a child falls because she was not wearing her shoes properly, our instinct should be to tell her to put her shoes properly and run, and not to tell her to stop running.

My mom told me some time ago that when she was a child, she would take clay from the cauvery bed and use it to make bowls and such. Even i remember doing things with clay, stoves pots and such when we went on holidays to vittalur. Why then, am I giving my child playdough to work with?

When the Diyas from Mirambika promised Anjali an elephant, they got some clay from Mc ritchie near the lake and moulded it into a beautiful elephant, with glittering stone eyes.

I didnt even know that there was clay in Mc Ritchie, but of course there is always clay near a natural reservoir. Have we gotted so urban that we have lost the simple joys of nature?

on Saturday, when we went out in the rain, we told Anjali, keep away your shoes, we are going barefoot. It was a novel experience, feeling the cool rainwater on our face, the warm water under our feet where the pavement had heated it up just enough to be soothing, the way the drainage grills were stark in contrast with the water in the pavement, as the metal was cold.

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