Following my earlier post, I would like to share some books that could help you and your tot travel the globe. The authors have attempted to share local legends, traditions, philosophies and ideas that you can sometimes only encounter in books.
The Blind Men and the Elephant – Retold by Karen Backstein & Illustrated by Annie Mitra
This is a simple story a great read for tots 3-5 yrs old. As Wikipedia very accurately describes, this story originated in Indian subcontinent from where it has widely diffused. It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies. At various times it has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behaviour of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives.
It is a parable that has crossed between many religious traditions and is part of Jain, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu lore. The tale is also well known in Europe. In the 19th century the poet John Godfrey Saxe created his own version as a poem. Since then, the story has been published in many books for adults and children, and interpreted in an ever-increasing variety of ways.
Posted in Books & Apps
Tagged Annie Mitra, Blind Men, Book, Buddist, Elephant, Hindu, India, Jain, Karen Backstein, parable, story, Sufi
Devam started school in September 2012 and it became clear to me that we are not going to able to travel on a whim. While I was planning trips based on Devam’s school calendar – I also wanted to make sure that Devam is always aware of the many different places that exist in the world. Living in New York you are always surrounded by immigrants (like myself) from many different parts of the world. I was talking to a mom, a Macedonian, in our play room. Devam sometimes talks about how his friends pronounce certain words differently. He was quiet amazed when I told him that people from different parts of the world say the same thing differently. He was also fascinated that his friend had visited her family in London and his friend’s mom had visited Philippines while Dale stayed home with daddy.
I am also very thankful to the New York Public Library that has books written by international authors. Devam has visited many a different places through his books. He recently brought home a book called – “Knuffle Bunny Free” – written by Mo Willems where little Trixie visits her Oma and Opa in Holland, eats French fries on the streets and looses her little bunny on a plane. Devam can relate to this as he has traveled on a plane to visit his own Grandpa and Grandma back in India. We also met a 4 year old who said he would love to visit Eastern Europe – how could he have possibly known? Later while talking to his parents I realized that his mother was from China and his father was American. They traveled with him since he was very young and has loved the idea of visiting different places he can find on a map.
Yesterday we were visiting the Natural History Museum and it took very little time for Devam to spot the Bison he saw at Jacksonhole. Also an amazing resource are several story apps on iTunes. The contributors and the stories you can find here are from different parts of the world. Certain shows on TV like Disney’s – “Little Einsteins” are always traveling to different parts of the world be it Egypt, China, Japan, India or Africa. The new movie “Brave” – is about a little Scottish Princess.
With all these resources do you really have to travel for your child to be aware of the world around him? While your child might relate to things because he/she has seen them or experienced them at some point, I am sure that these indirect resources will provide a great foundation for them when they travel in the future.
We are approaching Thanksgiving holidays in a couple of weeks and unlike most years I have not planned our travels. In fact I haven’t made any plans for the new year holidays this year. As you know when we book late we pay more and go to destinations that might not be on our hot list of places to visit. So while we might not make it to our dream destinations this year – I am planning out the next few years.
When you have children travel planning becomes very easy for the following reasons:
1) Age: Age as a factor alone can define the type, duration and distance of your trips. You cant possibly take a 2 year old to Galapagos but you can make this trip when your tot is 6 – 7 years old. Also you might want to visit closer/domestic destinations when your child is very young and save the adventures for later when your tot and you can endure it
2) Temperatures: My son and I loves warm weather, but my hubby cannot endure very high temperatures. This helps me choose destinations based on historical average monthly temperatures
3) Holidays: A holiday calendar for your family can help define the duration and in return the nature of trip. If your tot is attending school or if you are working the holiday calendar is preset for the year. You want to minimize missing school days or days at work so you know the pockets of holidays you can leverage.
4) Ability: Age and abilities go hand in hand. You will enjoy a relaxing holiday when your tot is young and save the hikes for when your tot is older. I am going to postpone Yosemite till my tot is at least 5 years old and travel to the Caribbean while he is 3
5) Budget: Traveling with tots can be expensive – so you can plan out the year with a combination of low budget and higher budget holidays. Booking your hotel and flights (if you need to fly) in advance can lead to huge savings. Also some destinations get booked at least a year in advance and cancellations are possible at least a month prior to your travel dates (keep your cancellation dates on your alert list so you don’t miss it)
6) Who are you going to travel with?: Once you have kids – its great to travel with family, friends or other families. If you have your year planned in advance its easy to invite others to join you. Tots love to travel with other tots and it can be a huge relief for the adults as you are not entertaining your tots at all times. With other tots around your tot will be open to trying new things as well
Creating my holiday plan for the next couple of years has really helped me decide if I should spend a significant amount of money traveling to a non-hot list destination vs. saving that money for a dream trip I wish to make next spring.
Somethings are worth not doing on the go, plan ahead of time and enjoy your vacations as a family.
Monday – 29th October 7:30PM – the super-storm Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey coast and we lost power. We reside in the evacuation zone A of NYC, which means that we are the first ones to get flooded in case of hurricanes and storms. After a rather mild impact from hurricane Irene last year, all of us (me and residents of Battery Park) were not expecting mandatory evacuation this time around. Lo and behold we were given a mandatory evacuation notice on Sunday morning and we rushed to my cousin residing in New Jersey. We were not only fortunate that we had family to support us during this unfortunate storm but also highly grateful for their kindness.
On Monday evening as the storm struck New Jersey coastline we lost power. We set up candles on the dining table and interestingly all the family members gathered around the table participating in this rare activity. Devam (my 3 year old) thought that a major celebration was underway and he sang for this rare audience and entertained us all. The peace and quiet in the house strangely helped us overcome the fear of the otherwise 90 mph winds rattling our windows and doors. A day after the storm when power was restored everyone was back to their computers, conference calls, video games and iPads – in short their otherwise solitary lives. I and my cousin discussed how wonderful it was to have everyone together the night before. It would be wonderful if everyone did take a break and gathered together to celebrate this extinct phenomenon – “Family”. Wouldn’t it be great to recreate that evening (sans the storm) once a month? So we are going to turn this into a family tradition – remembering the many that suffered during the super storm Sandy and at the same time celebrating togetherness. We are going to shut down power for one Saturday evening every month, put up candle lights, munch on left overs from the morning and enjoy being a family.