Monthly Archives: January 2009

IHT: Eating dirt can be good for you

Happy Chinese New Year!

I’ve always wondered about the saying – lak sup jia, lak sup tua – and now it seems there is science to support what the wise Hokkiens have known all along.

IHT: Eating dirt can be good for you

Which also makes Wells’ War of the Worlds extraordinarily prescient….

IHT: Dear Mr Obama

A quick post to link everyone over to this recent little gem in the IHT – an afterschool care centre asks kids to give advice to incoming US president Barack Obama.

IHT: Dear Mr Obama

Aramis the preschooler

When Porthos started pre-school, he became well-known for crying at the start of every single schoolday for TEN WEEKS. (The eleventh week was the term break….)

Today is Aramis’ fourth day at pre-school and the contrast couldn’t be more stark.

Pilgrim Dad and I bring him to school and, like an old pro, he walks ahead of us straight to his classroom. The teacher helps him with the opening rituals – water bottle and hat out, namecard on the wall – and he settles in to play. It’s the last day that parents are allowed in the classroom so I quickly take some pictures, pause for a hug and kiss, and step out. Better that we start getting him used to not having us hanging about. Continue reading

Want to prevent myopia? Head outdoors.

I’ve done a couple of posts on the apparent health benefits of exposure to nature

In case you missed it, Australian researchers have just completed a study that concludes that exposure to sunlight is a major factor in the incidence of myopia.

Comparing six and seven-year-old Chinese children in Singapore and Australia, they found that 30 percent of the Singaporeans were myopic, against just 1.3 percent of the Australians. The differentiating factor was the amount of time spent outdoors – 30 minutes for the Singaporeans versus two hours for the Australians.

“What we would suggest,” said the researchers, “is that what’s happened in east Asia is that they have got the balance totally out of kilter.”

What an indictment.

You can read more here:
Red Sports – Spending time outdoors in the sun stops myopia
AFP via Yahoo News – Sunlight can help children avoid myopia

The nest empties out….

It’s 6am on the first day of the school year. The Pilgrim family stirs to life. Dawn has never been my time of day (and some of you will know why this is hugely ironic). My bleariness is made worse by having stayed up the night before to blog out my maternal angst.

The boys are not excited about breakfast. Porthos has already begun to fuss because he hates how the school shorts feel against his legs. I do a last-minute check on their school bags, then it’s into the truck as we head out to school.

We arrive with plenty of time to spare. In the back, Porthos has stopped whining about the shorts, and is now leaning half-awake against the window. The poor fellow looks tired. We park and help the boys with their bags. I’ve forgotten to adjust the straps on Porthos’ schoolbag and it hangs almost to his knees! As I fix his bag, I keep the conversation light and cheery, all the while praying hard for a smooth transition. Porthos, after all, was famous in kindergarten for crying through the first TEN WEEKS.
Continue reading

Porthos Goes To School

Happy New Year everyone!

It was only 12 short months ago that Athos started his primary school journey, and here I am again, round the corner from seeing Porthos off to Primary One.

I find myself feeling much the same way as the last time. It’s now 11pm and we have to be up by 6am so the wisest thing to do would be to sleep (and God knows I need it).

Yet I am sitting up in bed, unable to settle, feeling bereft, recalling random moments – how he got such a laugh out of mimicking my response to cockroaches (EEEEEEEK!), the pink misshapen heart he made me for Mothers’ Day, the way he picks up tunes and sings snatches of them all day long – and wondering how he is going to hold up tomorrow.

When I put Porthos to bed earlier this evening, I asked how he was feeling. “A little excited,” he said.

I was glad. Some years back when he started kindergarten, he held the school record for the child who cried the longest before settling down – 10 whole weeks. The first day he got to school without tears, the teachers actually stood in a row and applauded, and the principal said to me, “We were so happy to finally see him arrive at school with a smile on his face!”

I’ve spent the past few days psyching Porthos up for school in various little ways. We carved out personal shelfspace for him, let him decorate some magazine holders in his favourite colours for his schoolbooks, and brought him shopping for a new schoolbag, water bottle, pencil case and wallet.

Sitting at the door of our home now: two pairs of Bata socks and shoes, two schoolbags, two sets of school uniforms. And a mother’s heart waiting, wondering, praying.