Schoolchildren in Singapore get a holiday on the first Friday of October – it’s Children’s Day, and over in France, Hwee Hwee Laurence reminds herself to let her boys be boys because all too soon in just a few years, they will leave idyllic village life for boarding school and the path to adulthood.
“Looking out of the window while at the kitchen sink, I see Yves, my younger son furtively pouring water onto a mound of clay earth in the backyard. Furtively, because he knows I am a stickler for cleanliness, and muddied clothes and dirty fingernails will surely get a holler from me. He looks up at the kitchen window and I duck, and now it is my turn to peep furtively to see what he will do next. He sets a big flat stone on the ground and starts patting the wet clay onto the stone, obviously making a sculpture of some sort. Soon, he is too engrossed to remember to watch out for me. His elder brother, Rémi comes along and of course, anything so deliciously dirty is most attractive. And soon, both of them are squatting between ferrying and pouring more water and patting wet earth into mud turtles and other fabulous creatures.
Their father walks past and they show him what they have done. I see the three of them glance towards the kitchen window and I duck again. I hear their father tell them it is very nice, but be sure to clean their hands real well when they enter the house or they know what mummy will say.
Or do they?
I have made up my mind that I will not say anything about muddy clothes and dirty hands. I will kiss their mud-spattered faces and say that I am proud of my little artists. I will look at their mud turtles and remind myself that the time for childhood and its fantastically fabulous creatures is much more transient than most parents realize. And I will enjoy it with them.”
Cornflakes Marshmallow Crispies
(This is something kids can make easily. My boys make it whenever their basketball club has a match on home-ground and the home-team has to provide snacks after the game.)
375g cornflakes (or rice crispies)
200g marshmallows (colour or flavour does not matter)
Lightly grease a (approx. 33 X 25 cm) deep-sided baking dish or glass dish and the bottom of a flat ladle (eg. rice cooker ladle). Set aside.
In a large pot over medium fire, melt the butter, then add marshmallows and stir well until marshmallows have melted. Do not let marshmallows burn.
Lower the heat and add cornflakes.
Toss cornflakes in butter and marshmallows until well-coated and starting to stick together.
Pour mixture into baking dish. Use the ladle to press the mixture down firmly until it is well-compacted. Leave to cool.
Using a sharp knife, cut the cornflakes crispies into squares. Store in airtight container if there are leftovers (not likely!).