Connecting the drops!
Pushpa Ramachandran, 2012
“Amma—can we wear our laincoats and go down pleeeaaase?”
Oh! that “l” for “r” makes me smile all the time. Veda who is two years and ten
months old frantically tugs at my dress and drags me to the cupboard
to get her plastic raincoat, so we can go down and jump in muddy
puddles. In under five minutes we are down in the building parking lot
eagerly waiting for puddles of water to get generated under the
generous gift showered by the heavens.
Veda has loved the rain since she was an infant! When it used to
thunder ferociously, while her peers would cower behind their
mothers, my little one year old would be running to the balcony with
her fist clenched and her arm pumping as if she were applauding God’s
sound effects. We had nicknamed her “The heavens’ Rock band groupie.”
Lightning wasn’t something she would shut her eyes to. When she had
just begun to speak and discovered the magic words for “more” she
would shout back to the skies, “Once more venam” (Another one
please!) and would squeal in delight at the instant replay.
There is something truly magical about the rain and that magic just
gets expounded when Veda experiences the rain! I am amazed how much
the rain has taught her and me—making me realize that all the dots
(and the drops) in the world are connected. Learning doesn’t have to
be compartmentalized, as my toddler has shown me in the following
Role play: Role Play is such an important part of learning about one’s
environment and the rain provides the perfect stage for little “Peppa”
to practice her acting skills. Veda loves watching the character Peppa
Pig and one of Peppa’s favorite things to do is to jump in muddy
puddles. As soon as the puddles are generated, Veda immediately
transforms into Peppa Pig. She puts on a great act, with the snorting
and the mannerisms all complete! The reward is always unconditional -
more number of puddles for Veda to jump in.
Smelling the earth, feeling the rain, tasting the first drops,
watching the glistening dew that remains after the storm, learning
that the ants and other creatures scurry for shelter when the heavens
part while she runs to soak up the magical showers has taught her many
a thing about her world. And taught me that when its raining—it's time
to connect the dots—and the drops!
Reading: One of Veda’s favorite books is an Indian publication called
Sunu Sunu Snail. The book is a very simple story about a snail that
finds comfort in a cave with his mother while it thunders, gales and
pours outside. Veda is quick to point out to me depending on the
weather that it's “breezy” or “stormy” just like in Sunu Sunu Snail.
Rain and its related weathers have never been easier to learn about.
These stories have added the words (thunder, lightning, hail stones,
snow, just to mention a few). The meteorogical department might be put
to shame by this two-and-a-half year old’s vocabulary.
Videos: Veda delights when it rains on the shows—Kipper the Dog or
Caillou. The umbrella has become her favourite fashion accessory as
have her cute gum boots. She pretends to hide behind me when Bambi
hides under his mother in the pelting rain and feels sad for all the
creatures that get soaking wet in the unslaught that is shown so
classically by Disney. Watching the rain on screen isn’t just some
passive activity—I feel she genuinely relives moments of her own
experience while watching these beautifully rendered images.
Concepts: The rain has lent itself for concepts that people are so
eager to box into flashcards and drill to boredom in textbooks. Veda
with all of her toddler wisdom and without any of these pedagogical
tools has figured out which puddle is “deeper”, on which side the
drain pours out water “faster”, and how much she needs to jump to make
the splashing go “ higher”.
Math, anyone? The height of the clouds,
how dark they are, how close they are getting, what “monsters” they
look like are all things that she talks about when the rain seems
approaching. Dry, wet, dripping, pouring, clean and dirty water
aren’t concepts that I need to show her on paper charts. She shows
them to me in the boundless chart that Mother Nature provides her
Music: The rain inspires her to sing and the singing connects her back
to the rain itself. “It's raining, it's pouring”, “Rain, rain go away”
and other English nursery rhymes as well as her cherished mother tongue (Tamil)
rain-related songs are but a few that she has reveled in belting out.
Instrumental music—classical or contemporary—have also been our go-to’s to dance to when it’s so stormy outside that we feel the need to
stay indoors and dry.
This writing is shared with Pushpa's permission. Pushpa Ramachandran's family lives in Pune, India.
Another article by Pushpa: Being with my child
Being with children