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Category Archives: Children in Brazil

Our Rio Trip– or lessons learned

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Last weekend we decided last minute to head to Rio.  Since we have kids, we thought we’d break up the drive and sleep in Paraty for the night.  We stayed at the Pousada Eclipse in Paraty, which is farthest from the town, and right off the freeway.  With free wi-fi, 2 beds, and a clean room for R$160 a night, I was fine with having to park in town.  So no photos of this VERY VERY beautiful city, as we basically drove in and thought we’d grab lunch… so I left the camera in the car.  Then we started to walk, as we didn’t realize that half the town is foot access/ cobble stone only. Of course this meant I had to stop and by Haviannas, as I was wearing heels, and you can’t walk these streets in anything but flats.

From Wikipedia– since I left the freaking camera in the car

Paraty is a MUST MUST MUST.  The streets are quaint, and all the restaurants looked great.  They have little cultural events all the time, as they need something to attract people.  When we were there it was a big dance showcase.  We didn’t go in, but in the jeito of Brasil, we passed off our squirmy 2 year old to the waiter (we ate at 7 so no one was in the restaurant), and he took him into the show across the street since he had access to it.  SOO wrong right? I would never do that in the US, but this is Brasil.  For R$30 we went on a buggy ride of the city, I recommend it, as you get a real quick look at all the shops etc, and then can decided where you want to go, versus walking the whole thing.  And you hear a bit of the history.  If we had actually planned to stay in Paraty, I would have loved to go on one of the many day trips on a boat, or taken a class at the cooking school they have there (classes in English too).  Paraty is known for the art/culture, and there were some unique shops and art galleries.  Alas, we were only “resting” here, and didn’t do much other than look and kick ourselves for not visiting sooner.

Sooo Rio… I have to say, it was nice to be somewhere warm instead of cold like Sao Paulo is right now.

taken prior to the “accident”

My initial observations on Rio, are the following:

  1. Architecture in Rio is older and more ornate, there are a lot more buildings and churches here to enjoy
  2. The graffiti style in Rio is different- first there is more art graffiti, second the tagging is more curvy than the spiky styles of Sao Paulo
  3. The beach fairs they have at night, probably have the best touristy chotchky crap I’ve seen yet, I actually wanted to buy a lot of it

So lessons learned on this trip:

  1. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check the camera battery before leaving the hotel room to Pao de Acucar– hubby pointed out each and every “photo moment” that I missed
  2. Check the weather at Corcovado before you go.  It seemed sunny until we got to the top
  3. Carry and extra shirt, and bring a second baby carrier- just in case you’re on top of a big mountain and your kid decides to kill both the Moby and your shirt.
  4. Set up a baby changing area on the counter in the bathroom, before you go to bed, so that when your kid poops at 4am, you don’t wake up the 2 year old too.
  5. Bring a point and shoot camera, not just your fancy Cannon, as your husband will expressly forbid it to be taken to just walk around Rio with. It’s the shark rule- it’s okay to swim in shark infested waters if everyone else is a target too (major tourist areas– not the beach)

We stayed at the Windsor Palace for R$360 for a King + twin.  It was a great deal for Rio, and the room and hotel was clean and 2 blocks from the beach.  They recommended a Churrascuria in Copacabana called the Palace for dinner.  I think it’s the first one I’ve gone to that I really really liked.  Again a list.

  1. The meat was delicious, AND varied, they had shrimp, squid, bbq pork ribs, and the best picanha I’ve had (better than Fogo de Chao)
  2. The appetizers on the table were good- garlic fried shrimp, onion rings, farofa
  3. There was a sushi bar, where you could order any roll you wanted or just slices of sashimi– and it was a welcome break from the usual meat fest
  4. The salad bar had a hot bar- paella, grilled salmon, pasta — again a nice change from just red meat
  5. For all of that the price was only R$70

The 2 year old was of course free, but he pounded down food like I’ve never seen him do before, he thought it was all delicious too.  He also polished off an entire cup of watermelon juice (which is just weird to type in English.  Suco de Melancia just seems right).

All in all, Rio was lovely, warm and I enjoyed our quick drop in, and right now as I snuggle my 2 month old to steal his body heat as Sao Paulo is cold as usual, I miss the sunny beaches.

My kid turned 2

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So unlike my child’s first birthday, I actually put on a party for him. I thought about inviting the entire world, but my husband was worried about a thousand kids running around, and well I didn’t want to overwhelm my son, so we invited all of the 2 year olds he knew for a get together.  Of course, he really only hangs out with 2 year olds from our neighborhood who are Brasilian.  So ordering a pizza  and hanging out in the house wasn’t going to cut it.

In fact, at least daily my nanny informed me someone had asked the following questions:

1. What type of food will be having?  Is this a full meal or snacks?

2. Can we just drop off our kid, or is this a parents come to party?

Yeah odd questions I thought, who thinks about a 2 year old party this much.  Thankfully I’ve read this blog post and seen the amazing display of Brasilian love for children first hand.  I even took pictures I was sooo impressed.  So I figured I needed to do something somewhat similar.

Here’s my weak attempt (unfortunately, my husband and I only took a few photos of things as there was a miscommunciation about who took what).

Yes, I realize my other son was only a month old, but I needed to do something.  So I brought in a bunch of American food, milkyway bars, licorice, and a ton of oreos.  I also bought the car shaped cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma and made graham crackers out of them  You can see the graham crackers in the photo below..  The kids loved the graham crackers.  You can find the recipe here.  I also made little sugar cookies with the Williams Sonoma Message in a Cookie cutters – Happy Birthday and Parabens.  After 2 batches, I finally figured out how to get the cookies to be readable.  Note to those who thought those cookie cutters were “too cute” like me.

I also decorated my first birthday cake– red velvet—very not Brasilian.

I wasn’t going to fork out for an entertainer, as most parties have, nor did my husband see any reason to fork out money for a bounce house — both standard at most kid’s parties here.  So I decided to make a pinata.  My kid loves to beat the crap out of things, and it would be different.  AND I figured I could get away with not having to do a bunch of little gift bags.  I found a lady who makes pinatas here for R$150, but that’s pretty steep for something you can easily make yourself with crepe paper, a balloon and glue.  It was a hit (haha)!

All in all my kid had fun, and we did have an outfit change halfway through like most Brasilian parties, except this one was due to my son falling into the fountain.

Dance monkey dance

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A year and a half into Brasil, and my husband and I still haven’t got dancing. I don’t think he’s really much into dancing, so haven’t pushed it.  My son however, has embraced all things Brasil. From his love of corn (he pretty much has decided that all cans contain corn), to his love of Brasilian music and dance.  I’m quite impressed with his samba footwork.  He’s definitely going to leave Brasil with a few skills.

and a bit more here:

 

Easter.. catch up

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We did Easter again this year. The egg was even bigger and heavier, as it was filled with chocolates.

Since the kid’s old enough to understand a bit more about Easter this year, I created a little flour trail for him to follow to the typical Brasilian easter egg, and a packet of mini M&Ms, which I figured would be cleaner. Obviously…

Arrested!

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We’ve made it a habit to hang out on Saturdays at Parque Ibirapuera.  My son loves it, and it’s a nice walk for me.  The other weekend (pre-baby) as we were leaving my son happened upon the Civil police van.  We often see these around Brasil, either Civil or Federal Police vans, with the cops just kind of standing around making sure the peace is kept.

I have a fear of cops. Period. US and well of course even more so in Brasil, due to stories like these that I’ve read and the fact that I don’t speak Portuguese great, my distrust of cops here is even worse than in the US.  Seriously my husband laughs at how afraid of police I am — I would shake when they pulled me over for tickets…before, during, and for like 30 minutes afterwards.

But not my kid, he hopped right up into the van, and one of the police officers (the female one of course), immediately came over and gave him a sweet little tour.

Contrary to the close up of his face, he was having a grand ole time.  However doesn’t it look like he’s gotten caught for doing something bad?

Being Brasilian– finally

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So I often joke my husband is Brasilian…he’s not he’s just really embraced some of the cultural things.  If our nanny (we don’t call her a baba as well my son calls his bottles babas so it would get rather confusing), is home for any reason she’s on the job in his mind.  Yeah so what, it’s a holiday, or a Saturday or what have you.  If she is here, he’s more than happy to hand off any and all work to her… in fact I worry what will happen when one day we are back in the US.

But I digress, one area that he is not Brasilian in is his cheapness when it comes to the baby.  My husband’s a finance guy, so this isn’t new news to me.  In fact, one of the first phrases I learned in Portuguese was “mão de vaca”  or in English, basically someone who is so tight fisted, their hand is really a hoof.  So when I posted about Brasilian baby traditions, like lembrancinhas and door signs, he said,

Let’s just write the kids name on a sheet of paper and slap it on the door.  And just don’t tell anyone we are at the hospital, then we won’t need lembrancinhas!

His co-workers (male of course), all agree with him (finance guys of course).  You think I exaggerate slightly on the hospital visitors thing, but the other day our nanny came home and said that one of my son’s park-playmate’s mothers indicated that she wants to meet me, and what better time than to visit me once the baby is born.  Yes, the first time I may or may not meet this women is right after giving birth!

So since my son decided that he didn’t want to come out on Wednesday (seriously it’s been a week now!), I decided that I needed to thoroughly nest, maybe that would make him realize it was time to say hi to everyone.  And that’s basically involved me putting together a door sign and a bunch of little lembracinhas… just in case.

For the record I am VERY VERY not crafty…. so I’m quite proud of the fact that I hand made something.  Oh and for all of you non Brasilians, no we are not naming our kid Muleke… my husband just really wants to have that up on the door– the name part is interchangeable.

Anyway, I’m off to part two of nesting,  continuing to spray down the load of whites with WD-40.  Yes, my son as a pre-pregnancy gift decided to drop in a blue crayon, and everything is covered in tiny blue specs…

Let’s go fly a kite

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So my husband was recently in Panama, where things are cheap.  He brought home a gift for my son, a Hot Wheels kite.   On Saturday night there was a bit of wind, so we thought we’d go out and try and fly the thing. Except we didn’t want to go too far, and as Sao Paulo is a big city unless you go to a large park or head out to the freeway where all the favela kids hang, parque Ibirapuera, or the beach, we were pretty much out of luck.  Until we found an empty lot right next Shopping Morumbi to try it out.

The problem with this parcel of land, or the kite, not sure which one is that the wind wasn’t quite right.  As I hear that you want to have more of an open area, where the wind isn’t as choppy (thus why I’m sure the freeway is the place of preference for the favela kiddos).  But again, our quasi-2 year-old couldn’t tell that the kite wasn’t “really” flying.

Also,  I doubt he would have enjoyed it as much if we actually flew it up high, as you can see he was stomping the kite tail.  That and he had more fun running away from mom and dad through the plot of weeds.

His “running through the tall grass” was the real problem, as the weed patch wasn’t just any old weeds, it was the weeds I grew up with in Hawaii– sticker weeds. My hubby had never encountered these beasts before, but they were my foe as a child as well.

My husbands shoes, which are made of cloth were covered, as were the inside and outside hem of our jeans, and the back of my son’s Havianas.  Luckily we thought, the little guy was in shorts, so he didn’t get it as bad as us.  We couldn’t figure out why the whole night he kept pointing to his thigh and saying “doi doi” as in “ouchie.”  That is until we took of his pants to put him to bed…. poor kid, he had a bunch of them on the inside of his pant leg!