100 Not Out

English: Jacques Rudolph cover drive

Jacques Rudolph cover drive (Wikipedia)

“And Head of the Heard plays a glorious cover drive to reach his maiden century.  Surely there are many more ahead of him in what promises to be a glittering career…”

I am a cricket fan and, in my dreams, I often score centuries in a Brian Lara or Ian Bell style.

Unfortunately, they are only in my dreams and so the closest I will ever get to scoring 100 is in my blogging.  While it isn’t exactly cricket, I am ever so proud to write this, my 100th blog post about raising a bilingual family in Curitiba, Brazil.


Unfortunately, now that I am a dad, it is practically impossible for me to watch a whole day’s play of cricket match, never mind the whole 5 days of a test match.  And then there’s the fact that any decent match will be one of a series of 5.  This means that I have to make do with the highlights, which in all honesty can be better that watching live when England are involved.

The same is no doubt true of you, dear reader.  I am sure you don’t have the time to go trawling through all of the last 100 posts I have written, so I decided to package what I consider to be the best of them in my own edited highlights.

1. The Most Important Word – I describe how Mr. T learned a word to describe a colour, a mood, a style of music and probably the best football team in the entire history of the world.

...and 100!

…and 100! (MarcelGermain)

2. Another Reason to Speak English – There are many reasons to try to bring up a bilingual child, but I hadn’t thought about this one until I read about it somewhere else.

3. 2 Words Are Better than 1 – Mr. T shows the first signs of developing his language skills.

4. Question Time? – Talking to babies/toddlers is basically just asking a series of unanswered questions.

5. What Are Books For?  – Not just for reading.

6. Free the Feet – Now that the weather is starting to get warmer again we might just be able to free them more often.

7. Grudge Cabinet – We all have one.  Unfortunately I think Mr. T’s might have grown somewhat since I wrote this.

100 Reais

100 Reais (markhillary)

8. I Hate Scuffers – I had a lot of fun writing this one.  It merges together aspects of my own childhood as well as my son’s.

9. Should you Come to the World Cup? – Did you realise we are having the world cup next year in Brazil?  Are you coming?

10. The Oncoming Storm – This is probably my favourite single piece because it involves Dr. Who and Mr. T.  What’s not to like?

Of course having a celebration all on your own is pretty boring so I thought I would also invite some of the bloggers who have been important in teaching me how to blog, or those that I just enjoy reading.  I think my blog falls into 3 different categories; dad blogger, multilingual parent blogger, blogging about Brazil.

Brazil Bloggers

A Brazilian Operating in this Area – a great blog by a Brazilian journalist who lives and studies in London.  He always has a refreshing viewpoint on Brazilian current affairs.

Andrew Downie’s Brazil Blog – this is written by a foreign correspondent who lives in Brazil and writes about everything to do with the country.  He is sometimes called a Brazil hater, but I reckon he is just the friend that Brazil needs.

Born Again Brazilian – an American woman who went to Brazil and was born all over again, not necessarily religiously but as a person.

A Taste of Brazil – some wonderful writing all about Brazilian food.

Rachel’s Rantings – great writing about the day-to-day life on an American woman living in Rio.


100 (Ryan Christopher VanWilliams – NYC)

Dad Bloggers

Ask Your Dad – funny and warm writing about being a dad who doesn’t know the answers.

Dork Daddy – anything and everything nerdy or dorky and daddy.

Snoozing on the Sofa – some of my favourite dadtime stories are on this blog.

Modern Father Online – He is an Aussie but still claims to be modern.  Who’d have thunk it?

Lunar Baboon – Always funny.

Multilingual Parents Bloggers

Expat Since Birth – How many languages can one family speak and still stay sane?  Go to this brilliant blog to find out.

European Mama – A great Polish writer living with her German husband in Holland with their three kids.

Dads the Way I Like It – What do you get if you call a French/English/Welsh speaking Scots/Irishman living in Wales?

Bilingual Monkeys – One of the first blogs I read about raising bilingual kids and still gives me great inspiration.

Multicultural Kid Blogs – A place where parents of kids from all over the world can come together to try to build a better future.


100 (funadium)

Music in the Family

English: Sony Walkman WM-B603 audio cassette p...

Sony Walkman:1989 (Wikipedia)

I have a theory about music and the generation growing up today.  I reckon they are exposed to a lot more music that any previous generation because everywhere you go somebody, somewhere is playing something.

When I was a little kid we didn’t have a radio in our car, and then when we got a radio we didn’t have a cassette player so we had to listen to the radio which meant it was usually something crap, full of adverts, some old jovial Irish guy killing me softly with his inane wit, or a mixture of all of the above.  I also remember my first Walkman and my first tape-to-tape stereo.  ‘Yes, son, these things actually existed.’

So, my theory is that the youth of today is blessed to have so much access to whatever music they want to hear whenever they want it.  Hopefully this will mean more and better music in about 20 years, although as somebody who is already approaching the grumpy old man stage, I probably won’t appreciate it.

The Wheels on the Bus

As a family, we like dancing together to most upbeat music, but especially, I am proud to say, The Jam.  Mr. T’s favourite song, though, is The Wheels on the Bus.  He will watch various versions of it on his tablet for hours on end.  He will perform all of the actions, like the baby crying or the wipers swishing backwards and forwards.  He doesn’t know any of the words yet, but he can sing the ‘beep beep’ part when the horn blows all day long.

Musical Instruments

Chitarra acustica Mantra / Acoustic Guitar (Ma...

Much better condition than ours (Wikipedia)

My mother-in-law has a couple of beaten up old acoustic guitars hidden in one of her cupboards and so one day I got them out and started to ‘play’ them.  I haven’t got a clue about how to play the guitar so I just started hitting the strings to see Mr. T’s reaction.  He was awestruck.  Whenever he sees the guitars now we have to sit on the sofa together and sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ while smacking the strings to make an unholy racket.

Mr T’s great-grandfather has an old out of tune piano and one of the best things we can possibly do is spend a few minutes hitting keys at random and listening to the sound that they make.  Both mamãe and vovó can play a passable impersonation of chopsticks and so they play the right hand while Mr. T plays the left hand.  Hardly Mozart, but it’s a start.

Music Classes

Because Mr. T seemed to enjoy music so much we enrolled him in music classes for babies and toddlers once a week.  All they do is shake and hit stuff and dance around a bit (Actually, that is all they are supposed to do.  A lot of the parents seem to think that the class is just for them to zone out so that their pride and joy can just run about the room.) but it gets them into the habit of handling musical instruments.

Bed Time Songs

I had three songs to sing to Mr. T when I wanted him to calm down and go to sleep.  I used to start off with The Wild Rover by the Dubliners, then move into The Gnome by Pink Floyd and, if he was still awake, finish it off with Keep Right On, the anthem for my football team, Birmingham City.  One day, while in the middle of the second song, I realised I was singing to him about drinking, debauchery, drugs and a lifetime of sorrow.

Unfortunately, if I start singing a song nowadays I am told in no uncertain terms to shut up, unless it is the Wheels on the Bus, of course.  This might be because Mr. T doesn’t like the songs I choose to sing, or perhaps it is my terrible voice.

Musical Heritage

Português: O cantor e compositor brasileiro Ch...

Chico Buarque (Wikipedia)

Brazil and Britain both have incredible musical histories.  Some of the most important bands and genres have developed in the two countries, and this means that as a bilingual and bicultural person our son is going to have access to both of these rich heritages.  I just hope he chooses to listen to Chico Buarque or The Stone Roses rather than Gusttavo Lima or One Direction.  Two amazingly musical countries and we both produce absolute nonsense like that.

Music and Language Learning

So far I am not sure what effect all of this music has had on Mr. T’s language skills.  I am sure it will have some effect, but only time will tell what it is.

This post is part of the Raising Multicultural Children Blog Carnival.  This month the carnival is being hosted by Mother Tongues Blog.

Chasing Birds

Chasing Pigeons

Sneaking up on them doesn’t work either (satakieli)

We’ve all done it.  Who doesn’t like to chase birds?  When you’re walking through a park or a town square you see a group of likely looking birds and you can’t resist just steaming over there and trying to catch one.  You never succeed, but you still try.

Pigeons are the worst for this because they let you get so close and then just as you are about to grab them off they fly.  And they fly off as a flock spreading their dust and feathers everywhere.

By the way, I hate pigeons.  Please don’t feed them.  They are just rats with wings.  Although they are better than sea gulls.  If sea gulls all behaved like Johnathan Livingstone I wouldn’t have a problem with them.  But they don’t.  Instead they make a bloody awful noise and an even worse mess.  And one of them once stole my ice cream.

Anyway, I digress.

Mr. T has just found out that he can chase birds.  We were in Jardim Botanico here in Curitiba last Wednesday and he noticed a bird hopping around on the grass.  He started to follow the bird and it kept hopping away, always keeping about 3 metres between itself and the toddler stumbling after it giggling with his hands spread open.  Eventually the bird got bored and flew off, much to the surprise of the toddler.

We went back to the same park the following Sunday and, it being a gorgeous day, it was absolutely heaving.  This meant that there were lots of other kids slightly older than Mr. T running around and up to all kinds of mischief.  Mr. found a group of pigeons and started to walk up to them, arms wide open looking for a hug from the friendly little flying vermin.  All of a sudden two other boys, about 4 years old, came bowling down the hill shouting at the pigeons who promptly flew off to land about 10 metres away.  The boys change direction and ran full pelt at the pigeons and, not surprisingly, they flew off again.

Mr. T was gobsmacked.  He just stood there, apparently replaying in his mind what had just happened.  After a minute or so he reached a decision, looked around for the pigeons and toddled of towards them, but this time with much more intent and not really looking for a hug.  He is still too slow for the wily old pigeons who are used to such behaviour and could easily outmaneuver him, so he was getting a bit despondent at the lack of flying action until the two bigger boys came back and set them all off into the air again.

This went on for about 30 minutes.

Lots of good exercise for Mr. T, who went to bed very easily that night.  i think e is also going to be perfecting his technique of bird chasing in future visits to the parks around Curitiba.

I am not sure what the pigeons made of it, but frankly I don’t really care.

Pigeon Dance

Get the little bleeders! (John O Dyer)

Daddy Goals Achieved

English: Picture I made for my goals article


Before Mr. T was born there were a few things I was looking forward to.  I can’t explain why, but I really wanted to carry him around on my shoulders, have him stand on my feet and then walk around the room and get him out of the car while he was sleeping, throw him over my shoulder and take him up to bed.

The good news is that I have achieved these three daddy goals.  The sleeping thing happened pretty quickly, as you might imagine.  He always loves getting on to my shoulders and riding me like a horse.  Whenever we are in the lift together he demands to get on my feet and dance around.

We can never rest on our laurels, though.  So I have come up with some more daddy goals to hopefully achieve in the next couple of years.

Have a conversation in English

Mr. T’s language skills are fast developing, and at the moment he is still learning as many new words in English as in Portuguese.  This is somewhat surprising as I am still pretty much the only source of English that he has.  Within the next couple of years I hope to have a proper conversation with him in English, as opposed to chats we have at the moment which invariable involve him talking about the door on a bus opening.

Play football together

I was never the world’s greatest footballer, and I really don’t care if Mr. T decides football isn’t for him, either.  I would love, though, to be able to go the park with a football and just kick it around for a bit.  I see other dads doing this and it seems like such a great way to get some quality boy time.

Read a story together

I read a lot to him at the moment, but it is just me reading and him pointing at the pictures.  I can’t wait to be able to read a story together and have him say some of the words and then talk about the story and what he thinks is going to happen next.

The Wonders of a Baby’s Universe

Baby scientistI gave up studying physics at school when I was 14.  It was just too difficult and I was much more interested in humanities to bother with all those formulas and everything.  Today, I think it was one of the worst decisions of my life as I love reading about quantum physics, The Hadron collider and the Higgs boson.

And then there is anything with Brian Cox in it, which is just brilliant!

When Mr. T was still a small baby I read an article somewhere about how we are born with an innate understanding of physics.  I am not quite sure how that assertion could really be tested, but I have made a few of my own observations.

Baby Quantum Leap

I don’t pretend to understand quantum physics, but I think I get the gist of it, more or less.  I would never be able to explain it satisfactorily but I know it’s got something to do with cats in boxes.

When Mr. T was only a few months old I was convinced he had a perfect understanding of quantum physics because he never seemed to be phased by things just appearing or disappearing seemingly at random.  One second his favourite toy would be sitting next to him, then the next second it would have disappeared, and then only a few seconds later it would re-appear.  Everyone else knew that I was stealing it, but he had no idea.

He was also quite happy with something being in two places at the same time.  He was interested in mirrors, but never really disconcerted about there being two daddys or two Winnie the Poohs at the same time.

The Speed of Sound v The Speed of Light

This is one that he is still battling to get to grips with.  He has quite a thing about all types of machine, including the planes that he can see flying past our 19th floor window.  He will often hear the plane and run to the window to wave at it, but when he looks at where it should be it is never there.  We know that the speed of light is faster than the speed of sound, but he hasn’t quite figured that out yet, and so spends a couple of seconds scanning the sky trying to find it.


Light can also travel in circles (@Doug88888)

Light Travels in Straight Lines

Ok, so I know that light doesn’t necessarily travel in a straight line.  If we accept that the universe is not flat due to Einstein’s theories then it light can travel in a curved line, depending in the shape of the local universe.  I also know that light is a wave (but it also isn’t) so perhaps a straight line isn’t exactly the best description.

But for a two-year-old light travels in straight line.  We have been learning this by constantly being shocked at shadows.  If we are walking in the park on a sunny day Mr. T will sometimes suddenly stop and shout at me point to the ground.  After a second or two of wondering what he has found I realise he is pointing to his shadow and then we have some fun waving and jumping around to make our shadows move.

Unfortunately, he has also done this at bed time.  The other night I was trying to get him to sleep when he just sat bolt upright in bed and shouted ‘daddy!’ and pointed at the wall.  Again it took me a few seconds to figure out what he had seen, but then I realised that the dim nightlight we have in hs room was casting my shadow on the wall and if I moved just a fraction the shadow moved a mile.

You can imagine how long it took me to get him to sleep that night.



If vovó is standing at 400, what angle do I need to hit her? (Wikipedia)

Ok, so Mr. T isn’t playing with guns yet, or even catapults.  Instead he has a far better weapon to play with: a hose pipe attached to a tap.

My dad first introduced him to the wonderful world of water-based artillery when we were back in the UK.  To start with the effect was just a very wet grandson, but then he found out that by positioning the hose pipe at the right angle he could wet his granddad as well.

Over the last weekend Mr. T proved he hadn’t forgotten these lessons when he was at his great-granddad’s house back here in Curitiba.  This time the target was his vovó.  Mr. T experimented with different angles and heights, but couldn’t quite reach his objective.  After a few minutes of checking and re-checking his experiments he suddenly hit on a great idea and walked forward a couple of metres.

Now his vovó was well within range.  Unfortunately for him she had been watching the experiments with great interest and decided to move out of harm’s way just before the theory could be proven.

Physics for Dads

As I mentioned above, I love reading stuff about the origins of the universe or watching something with Brian Cox in it.  But over the last couple of years I have learned to look again at the magnificence of life and the universe through my son’s eyes as he sees everything for the first time.

And that is truly brilliant.

By the way… if I have got any of the physics wrong in this blog (or if indeed I have got anything wrong, not just the physics) feel free to let me know in the comments.  Be nice, though.

Brazilian Dishes

Brazilian Dishes: Brazilian cuisine for children and their parents

Brazilian Dishes by Liana Leão and Luciana Patrícia de Morais

Exotic Foods: Yucky or Yummy?  Desserts Straight from Seventh Heaven.  The Fruit that Cries: Acai.  Weird Foods with Funny Names.

These are some of the titles from a book I was recently given called  ‘Brazilian Dishes: Brazilian cuisine for children and their parents.’  I have to say it is one of the best ‘cook books’ I have ever seen.

I put the inverted commas around ‘cook books’ because this isn’t really a cook book at all.  Yes, recipes for cooking wonderful traditional Brazilian food like Pé de Moleque (Little Brat’s Food), Cartola (Top Hat) and the ubiquitous Brigadeiro (a Brazilian chocolate truffle).  The recipes are clear and easy to follow and even include a handy grading system to tell you how difficult the recipes are to follow.

But these recipes are only part of the book.  The main aim is to weave together food, culture, language and history to give an insight into a modern Brazil and where it came from.  It is made of a series of short stories that draw on African slave history, the Brazilian royal family, European immigration and of course the indigenous Brazilian Americans that individually are a delight, but taken as a whole provide the reader with a wonderful view of the variety and depth of contemporary Brazil.  Each page is adorned with beautiful illustrations and photos that will appeal to both kids or adults.

The book is available in Portuguese, French and English.  But there is a catch.  The book is frustratingly difficult to get hold of as it is not for sale at the moment and only available as complimentary copies.  Perhaps if enough people are interested and leave a comment below I can pass it on to the publisher to encourage them to make it more widely available.

I thoroughly recommend this book.  It would make a great addition to any cook book collection and would also make a great gift if you are Brazilian and visiting people in another country or are receiving guests who would like a souvenir.

Brazilian Dishes: Brazilian Cuisine for Children and Their Parents by Liana Leão and Luciana Patrícia de Morais.  Illustrations by Heliana Grudzien

The Next Football Sensation

English: A possible dive

Never touched him, ref! (Wikipedia)

If Mr. T were ever to be a good footballer he would be able to choose on of 3 countries to play for.  If he were very good, he could choose to play for Brazil because that is where he was born.

If he were average he could play for England because that was where I was born.

If he were distinctly below average he could play for Ireland because that is where he dodo (granddad) was born.

I am happy to report that at the moment it looks like he might have some of the skills necessary to actuallyplay for Brazil.

I am not talking about his first touch, passing ability or shooting skills.  When we play with a football together and he is more likely to pick it up, sit on it or completely miss it as actually hit it with his foot.  He certainly has nothing on Maradona’s grandson seen here when he was two years old.

I am not talking about his energy levels and his ability to run for a whole game.  It is true that he has a lot of energy and loves running after tractors in the park, but I don’t think he is any different to most toddlers.

He does, however, have that one ability that it seems is increasingly important in the modern game.

He can dive like a Barcelona player.

In order to make sure he practises this unique ability we have developed a game.  He runs for 4 or 5 paces and then has to dive theatrically on the floor.  I pretend to be an ambulance and come rushing up to him.  I check his legs, rub his knees, tickle his tummy, make sure he has still got a pulse and then I put my ear to his mouth to see if he is still breathing.

This usually results in a fit of giggles which proves he is ready to go again.

I put him back on his feet and runs another 4 or 5 paces and then falls to the floor as if he has been shot by a sniper.  I do my ambulance routine all over again and then he is off for another few paces before we he tumbles to the ground and so on.

I must say I am pleased with the results so far and his diving skills have improved dramatically.  I am hoping to get him to start waving an imaginary yellow card in the air for our next step.

So, if in 20 years you see the name of Greene writhing around a football pitch acting as if his leg has just been chopped off, you’ll know who to blame thank.