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Tag Archives: children in Brazil

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.

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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?

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!

Hospital Visit try 2- Albert Einstein

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I’ve got to say, after seeing Sao Luiz, I’m very disappointed with Einstein.  Love that everywhere in Brasil is Valet, it was R$12 for an hour, and again LA doesn’t have hospital parking that cheap…especially valeted.  But I digress.  You could definitely tell this was the hospital preferred by the wealthy.  Just to get into the hospital they took photos of us, and we had to show our ID, and get name badges.  Our son has learned how to say web cam… one of those words that kids who live away from gparents learn early… and kept saying web cam as they took our photos.

Anyway, downstairs is a Cafe Viena. If you have ever eaten at this chain, well that’s the food you can order when you’re up in your room.  I have been telling my husband that after I give birth I want him to go get me sushi, so I thought it was interesting that they had a sushi boat… hmm between the increase security and sushi, Albert Einstein was starting to look attractive. Though hubby pointed out Sao Luiz is in the middle of many a yummy restaurant that also delivers.

As we headed up to the obstetrics floor, the hospital was noticeably different from Sao Luiz. First the elevators weren’t as slow as Sao Luiz.  But the place was SUPER crowded. Granted we visited on a Saturday afternoon, versus mid-day Wednesday. But the people were different. Everyone had an Iphone in hand, and there were kids strewn across the floor playing with Ipads.   Yes, a much wealthier crew of folks here.  At least Sao Luiz seemed to have a large waiting area for people with chairs.   They showed me that there were 4 small rooms for labor… smaller than a hospital room.  I couldn’t see inside, but I’m imagining it was about the size of the pre-labor rooms at Cedar Sinai, and if that’s the case #@$%$! no am I sitting in one of those things during labor.  Then they had the delivery room, which was pretty standard, other than the fact that they have glass windows, so if you want your family to stand outside and watch they can (creepy much?).  The windows did frost over if you wanted.  Also do you see the size of those beds? Flat, hard and kinda skinny.

The 4 Labor & Delivery rooms were being occupied, but our very un-knowledgeable guide told us that they’re the same size as a regular hospital rooms.  Seriously, she knew so little.  The Bercario was up by the hospital rooms, unlike Sao Luiz, there is not the main one and the floor ones.  In fact, if you look at the photo, you can kind of see the wood/paint on the window is weathered, this is definitely an older hospital that hasn’t been renovated recently.  Again, she told us it’s 4-6 hours until you see your baby after birth. BUT she did call and find out that we can opt out of the Silver Nitrate in the eyes if we wanted.

The hospital rooms sucked when you put them up against Sal Luiz.  They’ve about the same size as the ones in the US, and just as old an crappy as old hospitals.  The couch that the husband is supposed to sleep on was also narrower than Sao Luiz’s, and the shower just looked dingy. I didn’t even snap a photo of it, as the video I posted last time, pretty much captures it, other than the walls being ALL white.  We asked about suites, and they basically just open the door to the room next door and put a couch and stuff in there instead of a bed.

Not as cool as Sao Luiz my Albert Einstein friends.  Also if occupancy is at 85% they won’t do it.  No idea on price, as they said I could call back in and ask for pricing— um I’m here now, seriously you can’t tell me?  I get the general idea, Albert Einstein doesn’t have to try as hard, as well they are “the” hospital.

Another difference is instead of a permanent Cartorio, Albert Einstein has a table in obstetrics a few hours each morning.  Kind of odd.  In the afternoon it becomes the photo sales area.

So are you getting that I’m not really in love with Albert?  Maybe it was the fact that all of these wealthy Brasilians were sitting around everywhere, and their kids were running around like wild monsters … I’m assuming this is because the babas weren’t brought to the hospital, and parents weren’t used to watching their kids.  But seriously, there were kids literally running down the hospital halls yelling. As well as sitting all over the floors in the lobby area. I may or may not kill these children in the future if I see them after I deliver… IF I choose Einstein.  Maybe my American showing, as I guess Brasilians understand kids are kids, but after giving birth I want things quiet, as I’m sure my baby does as well.

So I’m still debating back and forth between Einstein. The main reason is the Labor & Delivery room.  The table that they do deliver on normally DOES NOT look comfortable at all, and I’m fairly sure it’s the same over at Sao Luiz.  So if I can get L&D I want that… even if my room is super crappy.  Also, the guide did confirm that the weekends are always busier at the hospital – as I noted last time. So maybe during the week things would be better . . .

However, upon further research Sao Luiz seems to have more pre-delivery rooms than Einstein, which makes me think that I have a better chance of getting one of the natural rooms than Einstein, as I can see them putting folks into the L&D rooms at Einstein when they get full. In fact, to get into a natural Sao Luiz room, supposedly your doc needs to let them know you want to have a natural birth.  Also, other than my husband pointing out that the couches he would sleep on at Sao Luiz look nicer, and he could sleep in the “adjoining suite” versus with me and the baby, the natural birth rooms (2), look SWEET, and the tub is divine.

Not sure if you can make out the stars on the ceiling, nice touch right? And there is the birth ball, and it just looks roomy.  Also, check out the bath.  If you’re into it, they do the water births here.  Not that I’m into that, but if you were…

Parque Villa Lobos

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So on a prior trip to the CEAGSP we noticed that right near it is Parque Villa Lobos, and there were all of these bikes out front.

As I’m about to give birth in a month, we figured biking with a new born wasn’t going to be on the books, so we decided to cross this off the list of must dos.  The park is definitely built for bikes, and of course being 8.5 months pregnant, with a almost 2 year old we were able to skip to the front of the long lines and get a bike super fast.  It was $25R for an hour for a “family bike” and it took us about 40 minutes to circle the whole park.

The park is pretty cool, it has a bunch of courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis, and of course futebol.  There was also a bmx bike dirt track, a dog park, and an auditorium area for music.  As we circled the bend, we could hear the music, and my son started dancing in his seat, so we had to stop and listen to the band (which my husband pointed out were quasi lip syncing, oh well).

 

Overall it was a nice ride, and wasn’t too bad. Other than the fact, that I’m 8.5 months pregnant, and bringing knees up to stomach was killing me.  Furthermore, my son occasionally decided mommy’s lap was much more fun than sitting in the front seat.  As a pregnant woman, bathrooms have suddenly become important to me, and I found it nice that like a lot of bathrooms here, the ones spread throughout the park had both an adult bathroom and a kiddie sized one.  There were also security people all over the park, and at the bathrooms standing guard.  So I assume the park must be pretty safe.

Across the street from the Park, but by a street called Pau Brasil, is a small park where we had parked. After the sunny Villa Lobos, we decided to take our son there to play for a bit without all of the people running about with bikes.

It was a small park, with swings, a sandbox, see saws, and of course tubes just tall enough for my son to walk through.  But best of all it was nice chance for us to rest after biking around Villa Lobos, as our son still needed to wear himself down.

 

Flights… with wee ones– we are back

I’m a pro at traveling with my kid. I’ve only flown with my husband and my son once, and that was when we flew up North in Brasil. I slept the whole flight as a way to get even… it was my “vacation.”  But normally I fly with my son alone.  When he was first born I took the 5 hour flight to Hawaii with my 3 month old.  Half the plane exclaimed they didn’t even know he was on the flight until after we landed and they saw me getting off.  Yeah he’s that good.  He sleeps through landings.  We made the trip with luggage (70lbs each) and all to Brasil, and every time I fly into the US for work, I fly alone, so I like to think I have it down.  So yes, I have been spending the Holidays with the family in the great old USA.

This time of course my kid is 18 months, i.e. wiggly and I’m 6 months prego.  And on top of the flight to the US, we had to make 2  flights to LA. with in a matter of days (carry on only because I hate having to check luggage and I’m cheap).  Thanksgiving day by the way, super great day to fly, airports are super chill.  The LA flights meant carry on luggage, on top of car seat and 20lb laptop bag and stroller.  Yes I had to sleep for 4 hours straight upon landing, and was exhausted, but we did it.  Hertz dropped me off at the airport in my rental car, so I didn’t have to take out the car seat, and load everything onto a shuttle… it was a nice “mom traveling alone” perk.  The really obnoxious LAX employee who made me go all the way back down to checkin just to prove my Carryon fit, well she can bite me. Of course it fit……I know what I’m doing here people.

I don’t travel with toys.  They end up being thrown, lost or just extra weight. I do load up my smartphone with some Xuxa videos and calming Baby Einstein, and lots of different new foods and sippy cups (I don’t like to wash them so I bring a few).  I found that American Airlines in Sao Paulo didn’t give me any priority access at checkin, unlike other airlines.  Oh well.  I also JUST MISSED getting to Gold Status this year as my flight back occurred on January 4th. SUPER BUGGED.

Blankets are my friend, it makes my kid feel like home and I can pile and snuggle them up to make a little bed for him if I have an empty seat next to me– this time I didn’t travel with the Ergo as I’m already carrying a baby 😉 and didn’t need two on my front– so we bought a seat.  I forgo naps when traveling, as once my kid is tired enough he always falls asleep in my arms… otherwise he won’t and play the whole flight.  We’ve got hours of on and off with lights, or playing with the air conditioning, or reading the colorful magazines to keep my kid entertained.  I have found videoing my son repeatedly and letting him watch himself is also a great distraction.  Seriously how did people travel before the invention of the smartphone?! Of course my kid is always best when we sit next to someone nice, who he can pretend to talk to or sing to, or generally just smile at.  So thank you to all of those passengers who have been friendly!

Most airports I can check in about an hour and a half before, and end up with time before the flight to let the kid run the airport halls, yell “WOOOW!” at each and every airplane, and generally wear himself out.  I’ve found that LAX is much worse… worse than GRU.  I always need to get there at least 2 hours before, and usually only end up with 5 minutes before take off!

We have now been back for a week, and people I’m about to take off again. Yes you heard right. I have to fly to LA again for two weeks. But this will be the first time I leave my son alone in Brasil with the nanny and husband.

But as you can see my nanny and son are best of buds. In fact when he saw the apartment from the taxi he started yelling out her name. Don’t worry he still calls my name when something is wrong or he needs help, is sick or has crapped his pants (the life of a mother)

Spanking/Hitting what’s the diff

So my rant this week was my 100th blog post.  Love that my 100th post was a long rant.

We watch the US news at night.  It gives us a little insight into what we’re missing, and we’re boring folk who like to watch the news.  Tonight it was CNN Anderson Cooper 360.  I couldn’t help laugh at the whole program.  Anderson was trying to be super carrying and serious about the “severe form of corporal punishment.”  Basically the author of the book “To Train Up a Child” was on and in his book they advocate spanking.  Maybe I’m just a horrible awful person, but I just couldn’t help laugh at it.

I have to admit, my dad spanked me.  In fact, once (and I don’t know what I did, but it must have been good) got myself a 15 year old spanking.  I think I was more mortified than hurt.  Anyway, that’s where my perspective comes from.  My dad’s an 8th degree black belt, so trust me he knows how to break boards with those hands.  But, if you gave me the option of being hit with his open palm or a belt or switch or what have you, I’d take his hand any day.  I knew some kids whose dad’s used belts, and I felt for them!

So back to Anderson Cooper 360.  They kept arguing about “hitting” versus “spanking,” as the author very seriously pointed out that hitting is using your hand and spanking is using an object like a plummer supply line, or 3 foot switch! I’m seriously messed up, because I laughed out loud when I heard that.  The author of the book thought seeing a lady carrying around a switch to keep her kids in line was a humorous thing.  Seriously, having an instrument to “spank” was more appropriate than hand spanking. Is this really the point to be debated? And how in the world could they even think being hit with a ruler was better than the nice soft cushyness of a hand?

So how does this translate to Brasil?  Well my kid is too darn cute for me to ever want to or feel a need to spank him, or even want to, I think I’d cry.  That kid is going to be a brat I’m sure since I’m too soft. Not because I don’t spank, just because I’m a push over to those big brown eyes.

Well last year Brasil passed a law banning spanking.  That’s right no “spanking” or “hitting” no need for semantics, you just don’t hurt your child as a way to punish them.  In fact degrading your child is illegal as well.

This law should be no surprise, Brasil loves children.

Where do I sit on the whole spanking thing? I don’t think it’s child abuse by any means, but I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. I can understand when you had 9 kids, were working a farm from sun up to sun down, you didn’t have time to do real discipline- a quick spank or threat of the spank kept your kids in line.  But with most people with two or fewer children today, we have the time to discipline and  spanking isn’t a tool we need to use anymore.