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Friday, June 18, 2010

School's Out For Summer!

Another school year, lots of ups and downs, and Ana is bracing herself for the transition from regular school hours to no-schedule vacation days.

Unlike last year, she seems a little more aware and adjusted, as expected.

Not sure what we'll do over summer... last year we went to India for the full 3 months. I am staying home this summer to be with the kids - no work, possibly some play...

My childhood summers were very open-ended and lazy... and left to my own devices, I remember getting quite creative and trying my hand at cooking, sewing, arts/crafts. I visited my cousins and spent weeks with them in a different city, away from my own home. Leaves from the resident Ashoka tree got strung together with twine to make a perfectly great tribal skirt; leaves of the mango tree with some cardboard and staplers became the crown; a dupatta became the flowing cape/train fit for royalty. And I played alone most of the time but never felt alone. Just my personality, I guess.

None of the adults in the family fretted about keeping us entertained and occupied all the time. We had plenty of food, plenty of play time, practically zero television time, and we kept ourselves free of boredom somehow. And it was OK to sit out on the porch, sipping buttermilk or lemonade, watching the crows and sparrows, doing nothing... er, nothing visibly productive that is.

I wish the same for Ana.

However, the primary difference from my childhood is that even with nuclear family, there were always visitors dropping by, and extra-wonderful neighbors, I felt safe to play with the kids in my neighborhood, walk down to the neighborhood store to get a Popsicle, stay outdoors from sun-up to sun-down, when I knew I had to be home for the 'vilakketthal' - i.e., lighting of the oil lamps at twilight, a ritual my mom initiated me into, which signified the end of outdoor activities and quiet reflective time at home till dinner and bedtime.

Poor Ana does not get play-dates, no neighborhood kids her age to mingle with, has only little Oggie to bother/play-with, and looks to me for company and outings. Such is the reality we find ourselves in today.

My inner child fights with the responsible adult and gets thwarted when Ana invites me to play with her, citing authority reasons, not to mention monopoly of my attention in the face of Oggie's highly vocal demands, and the fact that age has successfully suffocated the little girl in me.

I don't plan to drill the kids much during the summer with specific structure and educational goals. After all, anything they do/explore can be educational at this age. And, if they don't get to be carefree now, when can they?

But I do hope I get to pack their memories with something worthwhile and sweet. I hope D can find some time to take us hiking/camping that we've always loved and enjoyed. With Mr.Golden Sun taking a vacation as well in our skies, it barely feels like summer, but, I am sure it'll all turn out as it should and we'll take what comes...

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At 6:28 PM, Blogger Dee said...

Hi Sheela,
I can relate on multiple levels with this one. Totally agree on not having too much structure or "learning" time...when else can they enjoy their lives THIS much if not now ?!!

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Vibha said...

How is the vacation time going on? I hope you are having loads of fun with the kids.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Thanks, Dee! Is Chintu going to summer camp? How are you managing summer with baby D and work?

Nice to hear from you Vibha! Hope kids had a great time visiting family.

We are doing all right - exhausting (for me), but, relaxed: since weather is better and we have 4 children's park within walking distance, each offering slightly different activities, it keeps us outdoors and busy.


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