The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brotherly Support System

I was putting a dressing for another of Ojas' multiple wounds. Tejas gave a helping hand resulting in Ojas throwing a tantrum-
Only Mamma had to do ........bwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Tejas in a conciliatory tone- dekho, humko bhi choti laga hai. to kaun band aid lagaega? Tum hi na lagayega? (I have also got hurt. So who will put a band aid for me? you only will put )
Ojas proceeds to put a bandage on Tejas' non existent bruise and they sleep happily for that night atleast!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Library Books

The school gives library books every weekend.
This week since I was travelling, I couldn't read them to the kids.
This morning scene-
Me- Which library book is yours?
Tejas- Hum read nahin kiyaa hai. read karna thaa..
I was most tempted to say - read them in school.

But, it so happened that we speed read the books before leaving to school.
We really do not let schooling interfere with education!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being Mother of Boys

Means to be prepared with facing daily cuts, nicks, hurt, falls, burns, wounds and all without wincing or flinching or crying.
From a mother of 9 month old twins who cried buckets when her baby fell off the bed (seriously, and that seems to be like something so minor especially when Tejas had the presence of mind to raise his head as he fell!) I have learnt to tackle a nose bleeding without dialling the doctor!
So Ojas, my poor baby has scored so many badges of honour within a short span of 2 months.
The boy who almost always prefers to ride pillion with Tejas on the cycle got his leg inside the spokes of the cycle during our Kodaikanal trip in October and ended up with a wound that is still not gone. Moral of the story- Let Ojas ride cycle with Tejas not his Dad.

Closer home, right before his birthday, he stumbled on a wayward stool and landed bump on his head earning a huge ball shaped swelling that lasted until the birthday.

And as his wound and bump was on the road to healing, he burnt himself. The Steam inhaler threw a jet of hot water straight on his chest and he has a huge eight shaped burn scar. A week of dressing and the wound has healed but the scar remains. He carries it like a badge of honour. But the brave boy that he is, the moment he came back from the hospital, he rushed out to play.
But his take home from the entire incident is - Mamma why did you cry when I got hurt? And he doesn't hesitate to relate this to all and sundry.
Ultimately he ended up stumbling and getting a huge rectangle wound on his legs.

Yesterday he was running- running as usual in the complex play area. A boy's foot came in the way and he fell face flat down. He came home crying and holding his nose. The nose was red and bruised reddish and his nosie came all bloody...

Sigh......I might just start greying now...
And well, while we are on the subject of hurts and wounds, all Mamma of 5 year olds- did you do the DPT, OPV booster shots?
We did last week- Tejas gave a few mighty kicks to the doctor and hit me too, Ojas cried and cried both for Tejas and himself and well, they did get icecreams at the end of it all so all is well even though both of them keep showing everyone the spot where the needle had pricked and use it as an excuse if they do not want to get up and fetch stuff for themselves .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Me? Scary?

Do I look so scary that the traffic cop had to send me away from the scene to enable him to peacefully ask the husband for a bribe?
Btw, we did not break that red light.

Monday, November 22, 2010


AD gifted the kids the game Twister last year. We tried hard to play but the kids would not show much interest. This time someone else gifted the same game and this perhaps refreshed their memory.
Because, suddenly yesterday, Tejas said- I want to play that hands and legs game.
We got the box out, set the dial... and began playing together
and individually
Doing easy and tough twists that resulted in falling

and rolling all over the place.
Mamma is just happy that they can manage this game on their own- taking turns to call out 4 hands & leg positions.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Folk Tales on TV

I love this cartoon that comes on cartoon network- Krish Trish & Baltiboy (wish they had a name that was easy to remember as everytime I try telling anyone about this cartoon- I just blank out)
This is a series of well known folk tales set in different states of India - like the Monkey & croc story is set in andhra and the monkey & croc talk in very Andhra style hindi. It does tend to stereotype but then, that is the fun of it. I see Ojas & Tejas emulating the way the various characters in various state settings speak. I think it is all about getting comfortable with stereotyping even.
Well, what I like about it is that the stories of each state are set in the backdrop of the art form of that state- Madhubani of Bihar, Rajasthani painting of Rajasthan etc.
The program comes during "lunch time"on holidays or after breakfast on holidays- well which means I do not know but these are the usual times I have caught it on TV.
I wish there was a book or DVD of it. Would surely be a treasure

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Phonics Books

A series of phonics books by Shree Publishers focuses on word sounds and sight words. There are about 12 books that focus on various vowel and consonant individual and join sounds like ch, oa, u, e, a, i etc.
By sheer repetition, like most early reader books do, it makes the child start reading fluently in a few sessions.
The words are coloured differently and the index lists out whether they are sight words or phonics focus words.
I normally indicate to the kids what we are focusing on and make them aware of the join sounds before reading the book.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Games We are Trying to Play

We got many board games gifted during this birthday.
My first response was "yay! what fun. Now we all can play happily for ever".

The kids were intrigued, eager and what not and were begging to play games like chess and other non understandable games instead of the simple ludo, snake ladder.
Well I complied and notice how the focus shifts to "I". No one else (read The Husband) is really willing to break head over board games.
I would have backed out too but their is a larger plan here. The faster they learn to play, the faster they learn to occupy themselves with the games keeping each other busy.

So here's the status so far.

Tic - Tac - Toe
A nice large board with noughts and crosses in plastic.
They can honestly beat me in the game provided they are using the cross and provided I am being a little dumb. Tejas can play the game for as long as I can ask him to but Ojas plays only until he has conquered it. I find it is quite a simple and easy game to engage kids and it ends fast so no boredom here.
Click here for a mathematical tic tac toe with an extremely dumb computer who doesn't make a line even when the opportunity is presented. and anothe rone in which you can configure the number of squares in the board

Snake & Ladder
They do have some idea of the game- up the ladder, down the snake they keep reciting but they love getting bitten by the snake and climb down the ladder after climbing them. Naturally, we live on ground floor so that is years of training to come down if they ever go climbing up the staircase.
They love to cheat- place the dice in such a way that they can climb the ladder if they so wish.
and sometimes they play with their individual dice- simultaneously, like a race.

If they would stop placing the dice on 6, they could atleast play. They are more focused on getting a 6 and taking all the pieces out rather than actually playing. We will get there I am sure.

Chinese Checkers
A friend used to have this wooden board with perforations for pinning the pieces on the board. I used to love that. It was more satisfying to pin the pieces as we jump across rather than the flimsy plastic ones that are provided now. We have just started playing with not much of success. But then, it is only 16 days since we got the board.
Click here for an addictive chinese checker

This is the most challenging one more because I am quite basic in my understanding of the game.
I found this neat site that explains most of the theory and have good game examples for a person who is looking at just basic understanding.
What I am doing with the kids is explaining what each piece does and how each piece moves. Which are the 4 most important squares - and why they are in the centre- very much like their playground which is in the centre of the building. I have explained that the objective is to reach the other person's house as quickly as possible and if anyone is coming to their house they have to catch them. We have named the pieces and discussed how each piece moves and where each piece sits.
Yesterday we played a game with only pawns and we gained pieces as the pawns reached the other side.
I do not know how much they are going to understand but I am just fuelling the interest that was shown. If necessary coaches can teach but for now, I am not making it regimental.

I love word games. But scrabble is one game I have never played when I was younger. So anyway, I took this lovely scrabble for kids out for inaugaration and I found it had two sides- one with pre made grid and one has to just make the words as per the grid. The reverse side is a normal scrabble. We started fine but as soon as I got up to do something else, the kids had emptied the rack and filled up all the tiles and completed the grid. We turned the board and did the regular scrabble making words with kids selecting the tiles from the rack as per what words they wished to make. Well, House Rules!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It is really Time to Lose Weight

When the son (Tejas) says
Mamma tum bahut big hai. TV dikh raha nahin hain
This when I amnot even blocking his way but standing to his side

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who is Ganesh's Brother

Background Info
There are two helping hands in my building complex- Ramesh, Murugan

Dadda told the kids the story of Lord Ganesh and his brother Murugan on Ganesh Chaturthi day

Recently the kids were recalling the story.
So they were discussing.
Ganesh God and his brother who is called Ramesh....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dawaat Puja

They were supposed to write names of 7 Gods
Om Ganeshye Nama
Om Shivaye Nama
Om Saraswati Nama
Om Brahmaye Nama
Om (Little) Krishnaye Nama
Om Chota Bheem Nama
Om Ben 10 Nama

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Practising Art

The husband has taken to painting and is busy practising using the net as resource.
Well some of his work so far- they are not original ideas but he will get there one day I am sure.
Thanks to the original artists for the lovely ideas - these are just adorning my home- not serving commercial purpose- so there's the disclaimer.
The artist at work
My favourite- dedicated to me! Adorns the bedroom wall- if you ask who this is- the kids say Mamma!
The walls- painted with butterflies- stencilled on using cutouts. The cross stitch castle is my submission for craft in class 7and a lady

The dancing women are my favourite

on the living room wall

There are more, but only these are the ones that have been framed so far

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Height of Buddhoopan

Ojas & Tejas in a shop trying to buy Chota Bheem comics.
I ask them to quickly select one each.

First height of Budhoopan
- both come with same titles
After much convincing, I gave them one of the books to exchange- that itself was difficult as none was willing to give "their" book for exchanging

Second height of Budhoopan
they come back with a title that they already have at home

Me- why did you get the same one that you have at home
Ojas- because one page is torn off


Ojas pulls my pillow from under my head as his pillow has fallen to the floor.

Half asleep, I pull it back.

Ojas sits up, wrestles the pillow from under my head and sleeps on it.

Promptly he shifts his head to rest on my arm and the pillow is unused by either of us

Monday, November 08, 2010

Happy Diwali!

A warm and bright welcome Floating lamps and lantern lampsFlower rangoli done by the kids on the floor and in and urli (no pictures of the urli grrr husband)The boundary to my garden- bright with floating diyas, lantern lamps and a row of electric diyas- neighbours came specifically to look at the diyas that were lit inspite of the wind
The view from outside

A closer look at the lamps

And we did the puja in the wooden gharaunda- a tiny house model that I purchased from Calcutta- decor courtsey kids

And we offered money to Goddess Laxmi so that she multiplies them manyfold

Then we burst crackers- all of us wanted to do flower pot - nobody liked the chakra as it belongs to Big Krishna not Little Krishna So we just stood buy as the adults burst bombs

and lit the sparklers

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

5 * 2 = The Ben 10 Party

I tried hard to convince the kids that they can have a Ben 10 party only at the age of 10.
And failed miserably.
They were very clear that they wanted a Ben 10 party only.
So push came to shove and I had to comply.
So here are the details of the Ben 10 party on a budget!!!
First of all, I had to aquaint myself with the Ben 10 character. I always assumed 10 is a number with some significance in the cartoon but it is simply derived from Ben Tennyson so there ended the matter of why we should or should not celebrate a Ben 10 party at the age of 5!

I went through Wiki sites and did lots of google searches to aquaint myself with the character and plot. I extracted characters that I would use to build games around. I made a huge list of possible Ben 10 theme games, borrowing from various sites/ blogs and ideating on my own. In the end I eliminated games that required too much logistic preparation like Ben 10 poster coloring relay race or were slightly unsafe like "Upchuck"- the character who has huge digestive capacity- I wanted the kids to compete to eat alien slime - green jelly or simply green/ yellow candies or maybe drink some green juice. But I discarded the idea ultimately.

Ben 10 "Collaterals"

The Cake
A 5 kg Ben 10 cake to feed a 90 strong alien force, with supposedly alien figures (grrr not) positioned in strategic corners. We had candles with figure 5, Happy Birthday letters and the magical relighting candle for luck!

The Decor

For once the menfolk out-ideated the women folk - they created a cool poster of Ojas & Tejas on a Ben10 body- courtsey design team of the husband's office. I tried hard to put green & yellow balloons only but a few other colors were also sneaked past!

The Planned Gifts

To set the mood, Ben10 gifts were bought - Ben 10 toys, lunch boxes, water bottles, stickers, crayons, color books from Nana, Nani, Mausi, Mamu

Alien colored -blue green Love birds & Ben 10 Football and alien gun from Paati, TaathaThe attire
Green & Yellow T shirts to wear to schoolAfter a morning of cake cutting
Ben 10 alien force T shirts, caps and watch for the games time before cake cuttingBlack Ben 10 T shirts for the cake cutting and the dinner partyBen 10 Themed Games
The spoils of war
Ben 10 toys - bubble, rubik cube, phone were the stakes for the games, along with a few candy bags thrown in. The original Ben 10 merchandise are expensive- I found a lovely lot of Ben 10 stickered toys that served the purpose for the theme party.

The games
Breaking the Ice- A Ben 10 Badge was frozen in an ice cube. The kids had to melt the ice cubes using water in the tub provided and free the badge. The badge served dual purpose- a nice keepsake and also a tactful party invitee identification.
Items needed for the game- a small plastic disposable cub, the badge/small toy.
Procedure- Freeze half a cup of ice. Free the ice from the cup, place the badge (wrapped in the plastic pouch it came with) in the cup, pour half a cup of water and place the ice on top. The water is at the bottom, badge tends to float to the surface, the ice on top prevents the badge from coming to surface and floats on top. Freeze the cup again. The ice above and the water below traps the badge in the centre else the badge will float to the top and the fun is lost.
Before starting the game I asked the kids lots of questions. What is ice made of, how do you melt ice and other such scientific questions. Well, maybe I phrased the question wrongly- but when I asked what does ice contain- Ojas & Tejas answered "badge" loudly even though they had promised they will say it has nothing as it is a surprise. I conducted this game first before the ice melted and also so that all kids could have their badges to wear. I kept a towel on hand to immediately wipe the ice cold little hands.

(Mummy) Unwrap- A Mummy character turns up in one of the Ben 10 episodes. I used that to build an idea for a game. Wrapped Ben 10 bubbles in newspapers and threw them around. Kids had to run around and find their "gift" and "unwrap" them.

It was fun to see them quickly tear the wrapping and then exclaim to each other- look I found a bubble, then another one says- me too! The bubbles served dual purpose too- it was a nice toy to take back since kids in upto 5 years age group are more interested in toys than food. And also- it was a distraction break when games for older kids were being conducted. We needed to just tell them- now all of you should blow bubbles and we peacefully conducted games for other age group.Crash Site Clean up- was the original idea- to create an Alien crash site, fill it with junk along with Ben 10 mobiles, cubes & bubbles and wrap them in green paper (alien theme) and ask the kids to clean up the site. Well, logistics & time famine was a problem and I was not sure the alien crash site would look like a space ship crash site at all so in the end, we just hid the "finds" around the play area- behind cars, in the garden, in a helmet and all and asked the kids to look for such green wrapped stuff.

Hoopy Loopy- We arranged Ben 10 cubes, bubbles, toffee bags on the ground and gave them a ring to target at a gift. The gifts were anyway given on the second chance as they could not really target them right4 Arm Ben 10 Relay- Kids had to do the traditional lemon and spoon race in pairs. Instead of lemon I used a bouncy ball. It was fun seeing kids chase the ball that would bounce away everytime they tried to do a test step or two. Wild Vine- is a character that can lengthen itself. I used this idea and superimposed it on a corporate team game I have heard about. Divided the kids into 2 groups and instructed them to try and make the longer chain using themselves and any other object they could get their hands on- within a given time frame of 1-1.5 minutes. So it is not only team work but also strategy- you need to ask for dupattas from various aunties, remove your shoes/ jacket even, pick up bats, cycles, leaves and all. I appointed the husband and neighbour to assist each team in strategising. I liked the dead palm leaf of one team and the way they held a one leg up pose to increase the length and the final clincher from the other team- an auto happened to come and park right next to Ojas and the husband just instructed Ojas to touch the auto to attach it to their chain. Toffee bags were distributed as gifts. Return Gifts

Ben 10 toys- car, truck, phone, plane, remote car, remote boat for the younger kids. A pretty bead bracelet with a dry flower trapped within a square shaped plastic casing for the older girls and a whacky hound tooth shaped green plastic pendant with an insect trapped within for the older boys.

Cake Cutting

Notice how Donut has stuck to the black and green theme

With the family

The Grandfamily PhotoThe Snacks
Kid friendly Lays chips packet, Appy tetrapack, Samosa prepared by the Bihari caterer, cake - bare minimum with multiple repeat servings. The chips and juice were big hits as usual and kids were asking for the chips by colour of pack!
The Dinner for close friends and relatives
Starters- Fish fry, Daal vada, Samosa
Cold Drinks
Main course- roti, puloa, mixed veg, paneer, chicken curry, dahi vada
Dessert - cake, gulab-jamun
The Best part of the Day as per Ojas & Tejas- The spoils of the war- Ben 10 stationery, phonics based books(yay from both me and kids), scrabble (yay from me), lots of board games (yay from me), remote cars (yay from the kids), Puzzles (yay from kids).
Well, I can safely make an accurate trend report of- what to expect each year as birthday gifts for the first 5 years of your child.
Additional Notes on Logistics
1. Game bags- individual game bags prepared in advance
2. Return gifts- Life becomes a blur when you are distributing return gifts-with kids behind you asking where is my return gift, aunty I don't want this and all that. I tend to blank out on names even at the end of the party. Gift wrapping and writing individual names on each gift is an option that I did not exercise. Instead, I collected identical gifts in individual bags and either wrote names on each gift on the packing or stuck a piece of paper with the list of names to whom the particula set of gifts were to begiven. This way, anyone can distribute the gifts on yourbehalf.
3. The Helping Hands- the caterer did all the cutting, serving, cleaning and all. Photography was delegated to sis/ neighbour, my neighbour helped in the games and during the final wildvine game- it helped to appoint an adult to direct the kiddy team to strategise - all at the last moment so that even they are involved in the game and thinking on the spot rather than preparing and coming.
4. A roving eye- During such large parties, it is sometimes difficult to keep track of all guests. Hubby & I were on our feet all the time, keeping an eye on all guests' needs, circulating, chatting, introducing them to other guests (well, some of them happened to find their company client in the midst of my guests is another matter altogether- small world eh!). We may have not done full justice to all guests but I guess we did ok. Since the parents were there, the relatives were taken care of and we took care of the friends
5. Gate Crashers - Since the party was in the building premises, I had to use all my tactical reserves to firmly prevent gate crashers as I did not want to fall short on food for guests who were eating in the end. Anyway, this is a topic for another post but yes gate crashers are bound to come and one has to play it by the ear, keep extra stuff/ gifts handy to avoid shortfall.
6. Gifts- Always keep a few extra stuff handy- you never know when someone loses their gift or wishes to change theirs or an extra guest turns up