Thursday, 29 March 2012

generation sos

A little off the beaten track today but having spent the morning with a group of bigger tots than mine, tots and how they twinkle is becoming of great concern to me. I began as a volunteer today at an equestrian centre in a program for children at a special school. Students are required to attend after having had difficulties handling the mainstream curriculum in the country. Admission to the school is based on at least two failed attempts at the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). So, these children fail primary school and are then pulled from the system. We were briefed that they are generally difficult, troubled and underachievers with hyperactivity disorders and ADHD. These are heavy labels for an eleven-year-old to have to lug around from such a young age.
My group of twelve were laughing, perfectly natural, normal kids. Some a little shy and reserved on the first day, and some louder with all the answers, trying to steal the show. Ok, so it's the first day and I could have landed myself the best of a bad bunch. Inquisitive, excited around the horses, eager to touch them, giggles and a twinkle in their eye.

Mid morning, a teacher appeared announcing snack time and little ravenous bodies clambered forward in a race to fill tummies. Forty two plastic wrappers were torn open and without even looking at what was going into their mouths, long hot dog buns filled with chocolate cream were swallowed in four bites. Four bites of not one single whole food.

In just a couple of generations, it seems we have a lot of research to do regarding processed and refined foods, and the sheer devestation it is causing to our health. We expect children to grow and live happy, healthy lives when we blindly mandate food on them in the name of busy lives, trust in the system, advertising and social conformity. The little people we love the most are filling growing bodies with school snacks made from dough conditioner, potato flake, bread improver, permitted food flavouring chocolate (billiant blue fcf 42090), dextrose monohydrate, emulsifier e420 (sorbitol) and propylene glycol e1520.

How is it that we choke our little people's bodies with a concoction of non-whole foods and then label them as hyperactive and ADHD?

Friday, 2 March 2012

why every child needs a pacifier

I jump at the chance to swing thigh into action and get some good old fashion exercise when I can, but Tuesday was ridiculous. I clocked thirty kilometres in the name of a small bunny with long, floppy ears that crinkle when chewed. It all began trying to get a tired boy to sleep in his pram.

Four kilometres. At the end of which I discovered my little person's gums were no longer wrapped around a wet bunny ear. Bunny was missing. I lifted the little, sleeping person up and out, dangling him up around my shoulders to get my head in under the visor, just to make sure. With arms floppy and swaying in the breeze, tt exerted little snores while I pulled the seat apart, one-handed.

Turn around. Backtrack. Eight kilometres. tt still sleeping. Could I really have missed b along the way?

Deflated, exhausted, feet blistered, I called a cab and called it a day. The fare began as any other until I asked him to turn around and do 20km/h along the curb to continue the search. He was amused until the curb of the quiet road-side became a four lane main road. A dad himself, in sympathy, he hit the hazards lights.

Twelve k's. 'Ahh, excuse me? Would you mind turning back, just so that we can check once more'.

Sixteen. The driver turned to me with fear and trepidation but I called off the search. b and his two adored ears, which for the first time ever had a chance to dry, was out in the wilderness of Bukit Timah, left for dead. I may never recover.

Bedtime last night was as expected, with the absence of b woefully agonised over for two hours. At which point I abandoned tt and left j in charge, slipped on running shoes and called a cab. Back at the scene that I will forever agonise over and tt will have forgotten by Sunday, I resumed the search.

Twenty-four, -eight.

'Taxi!'

Thirty-two.

Dear Bunny, Ri.p. old friend.