Good Morning Everyone

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I love mornings.  I started life as a night person, but when my first child turned out to also be a night person I became a morning person so I could have five minutes to myself.  I love waking up, happy to be here, and happier still if there are children in range.  I love to watch sleeping children. 

This morning I got up out of bed to get the one rupee each that the girls get on Monday mornings.  They either save it or use it for a treat.  We have a savings system now.  The girls get five rupees a week for savings and they have a choice of using or saving the two rupees extra they get on Monday and Wednesday.  It's working well.  This morning I took out the rupees, but when I came back to my bed, I saw the smiling faces waiting to surprise me.  So I ran and got the camera — my most consistent reflex.  They are so cute, so happy, so good.  They make me happy.

As I write, the big girls have left for school.  They have a Bengali exam today.  Yesterday, Sunday, I had a teacher in the morning and another in the afternoon to continue preparing them.  They really have not mastered '"studying" on their own.  But that is also common to the culture here where tutors are hired to help with homework.  And in their critical area of study, I cannot help because I cannot master the language — not for lack of trying.  So the big girls are gone, I am at my computer, and Shanti Devi is working with the little ones.  She comes every morning at six and does massage and PT, and works by motivating the children to roll over, turn, stand, come to her.  She talks to them, scolds them, hugs them, listens to them scold her, a beautiful world unto itself — a happening here each morning.

About a week ago I wrote about a day of thinking.  It was wonderful.  I don't feel like I've had ten minutes of that sort of thinking since.  We went to the Sit and Draw contest at the museum.  I'd mixed up the subject so while we practiced "nature" they had to do "airplanes of the future."  It was a lesson for them in flexibility of the moment, and later I took  full responsibility for the error. But it was a wonderful practice run for me.  I was clueless as to what would be going on.  My three girls in the competition were terrified.  Why?  Because although they had just been to this museum, they still felt like outsiders to this community of children with mothers, and they weren't sure they "belonged."  Actually they were sure they did NOT belong, but were going along.  And these are all the experiences they need to have, to break the barriers of their past experiences.  We talked about it a lot later in the day.

This is what a "Sit and Draw" contest looks like in the museum:


Here are my girls (and their airplane drawings):


I went back into the files for pictures of the Sit and Draw in our park in February 2008.  The girls had been with us for almost a year but had shown little interest in developing skills in drawing.  Then they found themselves in a Sit and Draw competition, feelng totally under-skilled, a rather realistic appraisal of themselves.   This was then:


I was proud of their efforts then, and I'm proud now.  Remember they came with no understanding of India as a country.  The learned to make the flag, a drawing they could always fall back on.

But here is part of a drawing one of the girls did as practice for the Sit and Draw when we were preparing for "Nature".  The full picture wouldn't fit on my scanner, so this is just part of the drawing.  

 I'm impressed.

We have been invited to the Sit and Draw competition at the same museum on November 14th, Children's Day.  REALLY, the theme is nature.  The girls looked at the invitation to make sure I was right.

A happy morning… I get to write… teachers have come for the little ones; massis have come to start the day.  I've had breakfast and tea at my computer.  My office is clean.  The world outside is truly not at peace and I can't fully shut that out, but my little space and my little world are as good as I can make them.  I wake up to children every morning.  I go to sleep, looking out over the darkened room and I breathe so deeply and so contentedly. 

October 2009
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