Sunday, 20 March 2011

You know you have Brazilian kids when...

Kids at Museu da Republica, Catete
  1. They know their way around dead cow: At four years old, Little Bear has hung out so much at traditional Brazilian barbecued meat restaurants (churrascarias) that he already knows the names for different cuts of beef.  Yesterday he was requesting fraldinha (flank steak) while snubbing the noble picanha (rump) or fatty cupim  (hump). Along the same lines, he also eats whole chicken hearts like only Brazilian children can.
  2. They don't have vocabulary for winter garments: My children have pretty much no idea what gloves, scarves or woolly hats are, let alone winter jackets.  As summer draws to an end here it's actually become cool enough to wear clothes again, and the other day Little Bear asked excitedly if he could put on some 'long shorts''.   A year in Rio has robbed him of the words 'trousers' and 'jeans'
  3. They actually ask to brush their teeth and wash their hands: You can't get a cleaner child than a Brazilian one.  Kids in the playground barely get a chance to play between nose-wipes, hand washes and getting dirt dusted off them.  This is a country where you commonly have four bathrooms in a two bedroom flat,  everyone takes their toothbrush to work so they can brush after lunch, and many people shower at least twice a day. Well, my kids have picked up the clean bug from their dad. We have to brush their teeth approximately every five minutes and they are meticulous about hand washing after going to the loo.  I shouldn't complain but it's just so very foreign.
  4. They drink coffee and tea:  I was shocked to hear about friends' children being offered milky coffee as a drink at their nursery.  My kids aren't exposed to that, but they are offered mate, a caffeinated ice-tea drink, on a regular basis.  I didn't think they liked it, but according to Little Dove's teacher, on Friday she drank litres of the stuff.  As for Little Bear, this weekend he has decided that milky coffee is delicious and has been drinking all the dregs of Mr B's lattes.
  5. They play at valet parking:  If my children are playing at driving in a toy car, one drives up to the other, gets out, gives them the key and goes into an imaginary restaurant, allowing the other sibling to park the car.  Spoilt brats I know, but it's just a reflection of the fact that here in Brazil - and especially in Sao Paulo - you get valet parking everywhere.  When I was a kid, I would dress myself and my brother in rags and we would play 'paupers' by sitting in the corridor begging money from passing parents.  Clearly my children have bigger aspirations.


  1. They know how to hail a taxi. My boys can get one faster than me!

    And I hear you on the coffee. Mr. Rant's aunt would always sneak it to Chatterbox. Oh and it was served to his 2 yr old class at his first daycare (obviously my instructions that he couldn't have any were ignored)

  2. As a soon to be American expat(and married to a Brazilian), I think this list is great. We don't have kids (yet), but this is something to think about.
    I have to say that I too was shocked the first time I saw a Brazilian 5-year-old drinking coffee at breakfast.

  3. @Rachel totally with the taxis...actually maybe they might have been able to get served at Bar Urca last night a bit quicker than we did!!

  4. @Meredith Good luck!! Are you moving to Rio?

  5. Thanks. No, I'm not moving to Rio; I got a job in Brasilia and that's where we're headed. My husband's from Manaus and that's where I met him/we lived before. DF should be a whole new experience for us both and we're excited and ready!

  6. Hi... I am strongly thinking of moving to Brazil all the way from Houston, Texas. I ran across your blog and I'm trying to answer some questions through reading but I have so many more. I will be 32 in May & I'm going to make a trip either that month or early June. I'm a single guy, graphic artist and I can run my business from anywhere in the world presumably as long as I have a pretty good internet connection. I have questions on where is the best place to live, the cost of living, intrnet speed, etc. lol

    I'm adventurous so i don't mind moving down there without knowing a soul, but I'm searching from a little insight from a fellow foreigner.

    Thanks in advance for any response!

  7. @NEIM The internet connections etc are fine here, at least in the cities I have lived in (Rio, Sao Paulo) and in that respect you would have no problems working from home. As a young single creative guy you would probably prefer living in Sao Paulo over Rio (if you want to live in a city) though you should maybe visit and travel around before you decide.
    Good luck and let me know.

  8. Tasha ! very good ! I know Vivi is not Canadian or French when she wants to play «The Maid and The Mommy», I'm the maid, she's the mommy...

  9. @Tasha I am definetly planning a trip hopefully for either late May or early June. Don't be surprised if I look for you & fam for lunch this summer... er... winter? lol

  10. haha! The last one cracked me up

  11. Just loved and passed on all my friends!

    As a Brazilian, I probably did all this at young age myself.

    I doubt I would be able to raise a real Brazilian kid in The Netherlands...(never intended) and not even the coffee drinking, as I don't drink much coffee myself.

    Would be interesting to know from your husband about your kids British habits :-)

    Love your blog.

  12. @JulianaThanks! Glad you like the blog...keep following!

  13. Really? 4 bathrooms in a 2 bedroom apartment? And kids drinking coffee and tea? I don't know why, but these are the kinds of things I just find fascinating. Especially the coffee and tea. Parents are always so certain they are going to ruin their kids for life if they don't strictly follow all the current rules for healthy eating. If they only knew that in Brazil kids drink this stuff and grow up to be thriving and functioning adults. Sometimes we just worry way to much!