I 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 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
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