Pretend play, sometimes independent, other times interdependent

Previously, when Disha wanted something, she wanted it to physically be there, present for her to sense. Like if she wanted an apple, it had to be there. If she had to go to the beach, she had to really go. If she wanted to go to Chennai to meet her grandparents, she really had to go. Our imaginations had to be really stretched, to convince her that somethings were just not possible at that time.

Over the past month or so, gradually, she has started playing more on her own. For small amounts of time, she is occupied in her own world, oblivious to everything else that doesn’t belong in it. Then when she realizes that we are there, she then wants to do something with us or wants us to join her.

When we join her, we are a part of her fantasy world, our fantasy world, sometimes its hard to tell whose world. We are on a train to Chennai after booking our tickets, or we are building a pillow house for Disha and her dolls. Or we at office or school, playing football or meditating. And at times when we cannot do somethings, like go to the park after dark, all we need to do is pretend that the park is right there, where ever we are. She is cooking and feeding us all, at times. At other times, she is performing a very elaborate puja, offering us vermillion and sacred water.

She takes the lead most of the times and we just follow along, maybe adding a couple of things here and there. There are other times, when she wants us to take the lead and we do.

Mind you, this is very serious business. If some one laughs with delight or thinks what she is doing is just cute, she gets very upset.

It is very meaningful for her to pretend play. I think it is a wonderful way to deal with life’s realities and learn.


Terrace – a place for unbeatable fun

We are in Chennai now, Disha and I, for the past 10 days. The days are sticky hot and nights get no better. Despite the heat, there are so many opportunities for pure fun. And the terrace is one of the best places!

Evenings carry cool sea breeze, blowing through the trees and is a respite. What better place to play foot ball. Disha runs the length of the terrace kicking the ball and laughs with glee when it bouncing back from one of the side walls.

There are butterflies and flowers. For Disha it means chasing the butterflies and plucking all the flowers from the pots and creepers.

We go up during mid mornings to hang the clothes for drying. The sun is beating down, but Disha is there with a mug of clips in her hand. She hands me one  dress at a time along with a clip so that I can hang them on the clothes lines.

Then there are the crows. Jet black and hopping effortlessly on the roof tops, they are on the look out for some food and twigs for their nests. We have been placing some cooked rice at different places. Some are bold and come immediately to peck at the rice and others take their time. We hide and watch the less bolder ones eat. Disha has now started insisting that she will have all her meals on the terrace, sharing and  watching the crows.

Last week,  water was overflowing from the overhead tank on the terrace. We went up to drain some water from the tap and water the plants. There were tiny waterfalls all around the tank and Disha seized the moment to run and stand under them and splash around in the water lying on the terrace floor. Seeing her do this, I got a bucket and a mug, caught some of the water and then after Disha was done playing, gave her a bath on the terrace.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves getting wet.

Really, grandparents’ old houses have tons of charm!