Monday, January 17, 2011

Nature and children

I just now read a post on FB by my sister, where she talks about a beautiful and a natural place and says "I realise this is the calmness, pureness, quietness that our urban children are missing and that is creating a lot of problems for them, for no fault of theirs. Our children deserve to enjoy nature like we did growing up. Can we ever give it to them? I think we can if we realise its value for ourselves."

She is so right. Come weekends and I am always in this dilemma..where do I take Raksha to...someplace where there's lots of greenery, water...someplace where she can run around with gay abandon. In Chennai, luckily we have the beaches and the numerous parks that have been so thoughtfully built by the Corporation in almost every area in the City. The only thing is that, Chennai has been going through crazy, uncharacteristic weather changes and it is scary to expose my little one to it - sad but beaches are ruled out for now. Raksha and I just love the beach.

And the parks.. there are many and one very close to where I live but I somehow feel there should be more greenery for the kids to explore than just the play equipment. I know swinging and sliding are fun and also good for the children but then the endless queues, kids who can't get enough and parents who don't seem to mind the dozen other kids waiting in line ...I don't like that. Raksha loves the fountain and sometimes I let her indulge by letting her get hair hands and hair wet in the spray of the fountain - I get wet too knowing fully well that the water is terribly unclean. That's okay once in a while..there's always Dettol soap at home! :) I also don't like people selling popcorn and synthetic bubbles and other potential "tantrum-magnets" in the parks - but poor guys..they need to make a living too! While we are on the topic of parks, Semmozhli Poonga is a great place to take children. Please go during the day to enjoy the best of its beauty - of course it has the 'dreaded' play area, which we spotted from a distance and acted as if it didn't exist at all but our very observant little one saw it anyway. When she asked me to take her there, I simply told her that it is not part of the park but belongs to the house located next to the park - they will not let us play there and she bought my story :P . "Evil mommy", you must be thinking, but then that way she got to enjoy the pond, the ducks and different types of leaves and trees!!

Getting back to the point, in my opinion, if children are not exposed to the little nature that is available to them, the fault to a great extent lies with us adults. Sundays are the only days we get (we work on Saturdays too you see), when we like to watch a li'l bit of TV and catch up with our once-in-a-week siesta and then we run around doing our chores, shopping and after that who has the time to for nature trips? Luckily being a work-from-home-mom blessed with a good baby sitter, these days, I have consciously started to do all my shopping on weekdays (except the stuff that we as a couple need to do together) and reserve Sunday for hubby and baby - both of them don't enjoy shopping anyway - neither do I but someone has to do the dirty work. Still, however well I plan, it is always well after evening that we step out and there is not enough sunlight for baby to go exploring :(

My plans for summer holidays include a lot of beach visits and one zoo visit. Good for her and me, at least till date, she loves watching Animal planet, Discovery Channel and National Geographic but I want her to experience the real thing!

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