Alternate Solution

Sempi and I are playing with Legos. I'm building a small mars rover for him, which he has tasked me to redo for the fifth time because it didn't quite measure up to his satisfaction.

In a desperate attempt to impress him, I started building yet again. I noticed I only had one of the 6 hole blocks and needed a matching pair to finish my model. I asked Sempi if he could find me the matching pair. He took that piece I had in my hand, looked around him to see if can spot it's match. Then threw it away and told me, "Appa, you don't need that piece". 


Can I raise a rebel?

My son recently started going to a Montessori pre-school. It's a great school and I have nothing but great things to say about the teachers and the administrator. 

They perform various activities in class which starts with simple things such as cleaning a set of wooden blocks, then building shapes from it etc. The idea is to learn from the larger community of fellow students and learn how to behave in his community (his classroom). He is taught good manners such as covering his mouth when he coughs, conflict resolution and sharing. It is working remarkably well. I've noticed that he now waits his turn to play with a toy instead of grabbing it from the other kid or asks the other kid if he could play with it when they're done. I beam with pride when he does that. 

But I've often wondered if it is the right education style for him. The Montessori principle as I understand is that the kids learn through work. It is a very disciplined system and I've often heard guides (teachers) say phrases such as "No, that is not an option" when the student tries to test the boundaries.

I am of the opinion that "Well-behaved kids rarely make history". I love the fact that when I ask him "Would you like one pancake or two?" he answers "Three". He reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes. 

I wonder if the classroom is training him to fit well in his community thus training him to be a sheep.

I definitely don't want my son to grow up to be a felon, but at the same time I don't want him totally domesticated either.

I trust the teachers in his class to balance the discipline with creativity thus helping him grow as a well-adjusted individual whose creativity isn't extinguished. 

As a parent how can I do to help them achieve this goal? Are there measures that I should follow to check his progress in both lanes?

How can I encourage him to push the boundaries without burning himself severely? Can I test his boundaries by suggesting rule breaking? 

I would love to hear the thoughts of fellow parents or teachers. 

If you have suggestions please get in touch amjith.r@gmail.com or twitter: @amjithr

ps: I should point out that this is my own opinion and Yoshi (my wife) doesn't quite agree.

Sense of belonging

I am a big fan of Nina Simone. I like singing her songs out loud. Particularly this song with the following lyrics: 

I put a spell on you. 'Coz you're mine.......

I sing this song to Sempi with a twist. I sit him on the dining table for his breakfast and I sing

I put a bib on you. 'Coz you're mine.......

I've been singing this to him ever since he could sit straight. This morning I sat him down and started singing as usual. 

He retorted. 

Sempi: I'm not yours. I belong to amma.

Me: Oh yeah? Well your amma belongs to me.

Sempi: And you belong to paati (his grandma, my mother). 

Me: Who does your paati belong to? 

Sempi: Paati belongs to Thatha (his grandpa, my dad). She puts a bib on Thatha. Because she belongs to Thatha.

I cracked up when I imagined my dad wearing a bib, sitting on dining table waiting for his breakfast.

3yo vs The Man

Sempi and I are playing early in the morning on a Thursday. 

Me: I have to go brush my teeth. 

Sempi: Why?

Me: I have to get ready to go to work. 

Sempi: No. Don't go to work. Do inside work. (that's his phrase for working from home). 

Me: No, Sempi I have to go into work today. 

Sempi: Why? 

Me: Because "The Man" wants me to come into work. (You should know that I troll my son... a lot). 

Sempi: What Man? Who Man? 

Me: Haha. 

At this point I start brushing my teeth and Sempi comes into the bathroom and still curious about the man. 

Sempi: Which guy? Is it Joe? (Joe is my teammate at NewRelic). 

Watch out Joe, he was a bit upset about me leaving to work and he thinks you're the "Man". 

Shortened names

Sempi and Yoshi are playing with trucks. Sempi is showing off his collection of trucks. 

Sempi: This is a steam roller, an excavator, ass truck and a low boy.

Yoshi: Ass truck? 

Sempi: Yeah it dumps out asphalt. 

Yoshi: Of all the trucks you could have abbreviated, you choose the asphalt truck...?

Hug Machine

Yoshi is sitting on the floor wiping some of Sempi's pee.

Sempi runs up to her from behind and gives her a hug. 

Yoshi: Aw! Thank you sweetie. 

Sempi: I'm not hugging you, I'm waiting for my piggy back ride. 

Yoshi: Of course you are...


Potty Creativity

This is part of Sempi's potty training series.

Today he successfully pooped in his portable potty.

Sempi: Appa the poop looks like a hot dog. 

Me: Thanks man, thanks for that imagery. I'm glad I'm a vegetarian.


Chocolate Juice

We're potty training Sempi. You've been warned. 


Sempi: Appa would you like some chocolate juice. 

Me: Chocolate Juice? Sure. (I'm highly suspicious)

Sempi: Come to the bathroom I'll make you some chocolate juice. 

Me: (My suspicions were confirmed?)

Sempi runs to the bathroom and uses the spring loaded toilet paper holder as his juicer. Makes blender sounds while pressing down on his juicer.

Sempi: Here you go. (Hands me a pretend cup)

I'm somewhat relieved. 

Sempi: I need your debit card to pay. 


Orange Juice with p**p

Happy New Year 2016

Yoshi is baking a strawberry cake. I'm helping Sempi squeeze some oranges to make orange juice.

Me: We're almost done squeezing.

Sempi: I like my orange juice with poop. 

Me: You what? 

Sempi: I like my orange juice with poooop. Pooolp.

Me: Oh you mean pulp. I see. *phew*

We had some delicious cake and drank orange juice with puuuulp.


Impatient Toddler

Days after Christmas, it starts snowing in Portland. We are all excited to stay in and watch the snow. 

I start to have a casual conversation with Yoshi's belly (she's pregnant). 

Me: Hey! Sleepy head. Wake up. Let's see you kick.

Me: Do you like Superman or Batman? 

Me: Do you like Garbage Truck or Dump Truck? 

Sempi drops his toys and comes running towards us.

Yoshi: Appa is talking to Jelly Bean (name of the fetus). 

Sempi: Get out, Jelly bean. 

Runs back to his toys, content with the feeling that he has helped somehow.