Monthly Archives: October 2007

NYT: OMG My Mom Joined Facebook!!

Cyberfamilias is a bi-weekly column in the New York Times. Here’s the latest in the series. Having just got on Facebook and begun to feel very, very old, the piece resonated with me. And my kids aren’t even teenagers yet.


Buccaneers for Breakfast

Most mornings at the Pilgrim household are a mad rush of getting breakfast in, uniforms on, and everyone out, so that the boys get to kindergarten on time.

Which is why breakfast on weekends is a precious time for us. We’ve taken to calling it “Family Breakfast”, and the ritual is that the boys get to choose what they want to eat, help to prepare it, set the table, we all say grace and eat together, and there’s always a big jug of iced Milo that sometimes lasts us until lunchtime.

I’ve mentioned the idea of edible art before – here and here – and highly recommend it as a fun and creative way to engage kids. Athos and Porthos hadn’t done it in a while, and as they were working on breakfast this past weekend, they decided to get creative. Continue reading

The Dancer Is Going Clockwise. (Isn’t She?)

This piece from an Australian online paper is making the rounds on the Internet. I was utterly fascinated (and frustrated) by it, and have only just minutes ago managed to make it turn anti-clockwise.

Give it a go.

Water Play

Going to a swimming pool is one of the great joys of childhood.

But let’s face it. We don’t all live near a pool. And even if we did, the paraphernalia that goes along with it (towels, costumes, sunblock, floaties blah blah blah) can be a bit of a turn-off.

There’s a simple substitute for young children, and that is just to give them containers of water to play with. Unlike pools or even tubs, containers take up little space and you don’t have to keep such a close eye on safety.

I strip Aramis down to his diapers, set him on a mat with various pots and basins filled with water, and left to his own devices  he can play for a good half hour.

[Note: If you’ve read my earlier post on bean play, you can use the exact same set of equipment.]


Grandmother Stories

Helloooo! I’ve been horribly remiss about updating this blog – in the past few weeks, I experienced a pile-up of work, the boys came down with an assortment of flus, and my grandmother passed away.

So let’s just say it’s been BUSY.

Still, I wanted to say something about my grandmother. We called her Mama, and last week Mama went to glory at the age of 94. She was born in Indonesia, but lived most of her life in Singapore. She had four children, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She spoke Teochew, a Chinese dialect which like other dialects in Singapore is no longer a language of everyday business. So as her grandchild, I always had difficulty communicating with her beyond basic functional conversation.

Yet I was never in doubt that she loved me. Hers was not a love that manifested in an endless stream of toys. Indeed, I don’t think I can remember a single toy she bought me. But there was a time in my life where she would babysit me, and she cooked wonderful meals of porridge and fish that are today still comfort foods for me. I remember her making 5 stones and pyjamas for me out of leftover fabric. They were never the most fashionable-looking, but I won many a 5 stone contest with the ones she made, and the pyjamas were oh so comfortable. And let me also say Mama had a wild side – she taught me how to roll paper cigarettes for her and play Si Sek (a gamblers game using long strips of coloured cards) 🙂

At her funeral, we put up a board of memories, and it seemed no-one else doubted her love for us either. How true it is that love goes well beyond the limitations of language!

So here’s to my Mama – for a life well lived and a legacy that lives on.