It’s been two weeks since our two older kids started school. They are in a new school, new environment, new policies and lots of other things new to them. Some of the changes were immediately accepted like wearing of school uniform.

With their former Montessori school, for four years, they enjoyed the freedom of deciding what to uniform, except for P.E.  Surprisingly, they enthusiastically welcomed wearing one now. They are always excited to wear them and even thought of it as “cool.” Rica even complemented her younger brother with "Ang pogi ni Leon" when the latter wore his uniform for the first time.

Before, they only need to carry a small bag with extra clothes, food and a blue binder where parent notices and some school works are inserted (also, each student have their own locker in school). This time, they need to carry 7 to 8 textbooks, 7 to 8 notebooks (depending on grade level), pad papers, crayons, and other school materials every day. A bigger and sturdier bag is therefore a must. The question is… do my children have the strength and endurance to carry all those stuff?

We tried using our son’s old backpack and bought a similar one (only it’s pink) for our daughter. The bags look big and robust enough to contain all the required school materials. However, the very first time they carried the bag, they immediately complained of its enormous weight. They can hardly lift it. Still we decided to give it a try and hope that the kids get used to it.

It was explained to them that trolley bags are too expensive and besides a little more exertion on their part to carry their bags makes them tougher kids. We admired them for obediently abiding by the decision. But one morning as Papa Sez was carrying the bag to the school shuttle service, the strap of Leon’s bag broke. He even attested that even an adult with small body built will have difficulty walking with it, let alone climb the stairs. Heavy school bags have been linked to back problems like lower back pain, poor posture, spinal deformity over time and other back injuries manifested only in adulthood. The daily burden has also been found to cause neck pain, shoulder strain, headaches and general exhaustion. It was said that carrying more than 10% the child’s body weight is too much but we noted that our kids have been carrying loads of about one third their body weight.

Then one Friday night, Rica, who has been carrying a heavier bag and had to carry that weight to the second floor where her classroom is situated (the school actually has male assistants assigned to carry the bags up the stairs for the students), broke her silence. “Mom, please don’t wake me up very early tomorrow. I need lots of time to sleep and recover. I am really tired with my shoulders badly aching. School is fun if only I don’t need to carry a very heavy bag.”

A new decision came in quickly…we need to get them trolley bags or their health would suffer. Trolley bags for school provide the convenience of carrying loads of things while keeping them organized inside, but the price is equivalent or even more expensive than heavy duty traveling bags. Well, they are made of the same materials.

trolleyThe season for buying school materials was almost over when the kids and I finally get to the store to buy their trolley bags, which actually got us a good deal!  Most school bags were marked down for the second time already and the ones we bought were about 30% cheaper than the original price.

Now they are happier with their trolley bags at work and not their backs.

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.