Rocket Fuelled Babies

Early morning view on November 9, 1967 of Pad ...

Early morning view on November 9, 1967 of Kennedy Space Center, showing Apollo 4 Saturn V prior to launch later that day.(Wikipedia)

It all makes sense now.

I thought it was just power napping that gave him the ability to wake up at 4 in the morning and immediately be running around the room at 100 miles an hour.

And maybe it was just the fact that The Rolling Stones hits a special part of his body so that when we go into his room for a much-needed nap after lunch and he sees his i-Pod he is instantly turned into a Jumping Jack Flash.

The constant banging of his leg, even while relaxing I put down to nervous energy, after all my brother does exactly the same thing.

And I put the seemingly never-ending desire to run around in muddy puddles down to a childhood enthusiasm.  I mean, if I could be arsed I would be splashing around in puddles all day long as well, I ‘d just rather watch him doing it.

But no.  It turns out that this boundless source of energy is in fact rocket fuel.  Rocket fuelled babies, it just has to be true.

Why Can’t I Get Just One Kiss?


Kisses (shorty76)

I can remember the time when I decided I was no longer going to kiss my parents.  I was still in junior school, which means the oldest I could have been was 11, but I had this idea that only little boys kissed their parents and I was no longer a little boy.

As an adult I am not anti-public displays of affection.  I have no problem kissing or hugging my wife or holding her hand in public.  I am not the most open, though, when it comes to showing my feelings.  I am very good at hiding whatever it is that is going on deep inside of me so that it is often impossible for others to know if I am ecstatic, deeply depressed or just plain ambivalent.  I have been told I have the same expressions for all these moods and more.

Before our son was born my wife sometimes panicked that I wouldn’t show emotion towards my son.  She was afraid that I wouldn’t kiss him or hug him.  Part of me was offended by this idea of me, of course I was going to kiss him, just so long as he wanted me to.  But then I wouldn’t show I was offended because, well, that would mean showing emotion.

eskimo kisses

Eskimo kisses (McBeth)

When Mr. T was born I didn’t kiss him straight away.  This was not down to some hyper-male repressed emotions thing, but a rational fear.  Of all the things I would like to pass on to my son: my stunning good looks, sky-high IQ, great sense of humour, support for The Blues and my modesty, there was one thing I absolutely did not want to pass on to him: my cold sores.

In Brazil cold sores are called herpes because they are essentially the same virus and believe you me, it is almost as embarrassing to get a cold sore as it is to have the other version of herpes.

I have read that the main way to pass on herpes or cold sores or whatever you want to call them is when an adult kisses a baby.  I was determined not to let this happen and so for the first few weeks I gave him Eskimo kisses instead of the more traditional kisses.  I am half convinced that the first word he learnt was ‘Eskimo’ as daddy came in for another nose rub.

Over time I grew less paranoid about passing on my dreaded disease.  If I felt a tingle in my lips then I wouldn’t kiss him, but thankfully since he was born I haven’t had an outbreak of cold sores so it hasn’t been an issue.

Until last week.

I had a terrible Tuesday.  I woke up at about 2 am with an ache in my back.  Try as I might I couldn’t get back to sleep.  A couple of hours later I had an ache in every muscle and joint in my body.  When I eventually got up I was tired to the bone, more that could be explained just by a lack of sleep.

Lips Sketch 1

Pucker up (Kit Keat)

I cancelled all of my classes and got ready to spend the day on the sofa watching repeats of The Sopranos (I have decided to watch all 5 seasons in one go).  Unfortunately at 3pm a big storm hit and knocked out all the electricity for a few hours, so I had nothing to do except lie on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.

Fortunately it was just a 24 hour thing and so the next day, while I was still a bit stiff in my muscles, I was essentially fine.  I went back to classes and life resumed as normal.  On the Saturday I felt a tingle in my lips and rushed to find my Zovirax which normally does the trick.  By Sunday I had cold sores all over my bottom lip and I was constantly applying more and more cream to fight it off.

It was painful.  It was embarrassing.  It was at times difficult to eat.  But the worst part was that I couldn’t kiss my son.  he isn’t the most affectionate of children, but he does like the occasional kiss and cuddle.  But when he came to me for a kiss, I was too afraid to even give him a nose rub.  It hurt, and not on a physical level but deep down inside me.

After about a week the sores had all but disappeared, but i I was still worried about kissing him properly.  I resumed the Eskimo kisses, but it wasn’t enough.

He has just gone to bed now and my mouth feels fine.  I think tomorrow I am going to give him a great big kiss.  Assuming he lets me, of course.

Violent Femmes – Add It Up: it contains the lyric ‘Why can’t I get just one kiss?’  This is one of my all time favourite songs.

Or maybe this is a better version.  I just don’t know.

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The First Lie

Screenshot of Pinocchio from the trailer for t...

It’s as plain as the nose on your face (Wikipedia)

A few weeks back we spent most of the day visiting doctors because Mr. T woke up with a dodgy leg.  It was quite frightening because as far as we were aware he hadn’t banged it or dislocated it or anything.  Nevertheless, when he got out of bed he put his weight on his leg and immediately fell to the ground and started complaining that it ‘doi’ or ‘hurt’.

To cut a long story short, it wasn’t a serious problem and after a couple of days he was back to his old self: running up and down corridors and bombing around parks chasing birds.

Last week we went to the park as we often do when it isn’t pissing down.  We usually go by bus because Mr. T is obsessed with them, and that means I put him in my shoulders to walk to the bus stop and from the bus stop to the park.  When we got through the entrance of the park I put him on the grass expecting him to run off in search of a tractor or a pigeon as he normally does.

This time he just stood there for a minute.  He asked to be picked up again but I told him he should go and look for a tractor or some water.  He then pointed at his knee and said ‘doi doi’ and my heart skipped a beat.  Was his leg hurting again?  Should I get him straight back to the doctor?

But then I realised he had been running around in the flat with a football, so his leg couldn’t have been hurting him that much.  I decided to carry him to the grass where there is a patch of mud that he often likes to play in.  He wasn’t too sure, but he started to mess around in the loose earth, and so I walked to the next one and encouraged him to follow me.  He started to walk tenderly towards me when a jogger cam past on the path.  Mr. T saw the jogger and started to run himself.

Relief.  There was no pain in his leg.  It must have been something very slight, perhaps his shoe was on strange from sitting on my shoulders.  I thought nothing of it as we walked and ran around the park hunting tractors, playing with cold water and feeding the fish.

When it was time to head back to the bus Mr. T stopped again and asked to be carried.  I wanted him to walk until the park gates and then I would carry him to the bus stop and so I asked him to walk.  He looked at his knee and said ‘doi doi’.

I was astounded.  His knee obviously wasn’t hurting him because we had spent over an hour messing around.  He wanted to be carried but I had refuse, twice.  And each time I had refused he had complained about a sore knee to try to get me to do as he wanted.

PEGI white bad language tag

What I wanted to call him (Wikipedia)

The conniving, manipulative, lying little…

…and yet, at the same time, I was impressed.  He was trying to manipulate his environment to the way he wanted it to be.  He knew that when he had legitimately complained about having a bad leg I had carried him everywhere, so he experimented with trying it again.

And after all, it would be impossible to exist in human society without lying occasionally.  Right?

Nevertheless, I wasn’t about to reward him for his first experiment with telling porkie pies, so I told him I wouldn’t carry him and that he should walk with me and then I walked off.  He stood there for a bit, but eventually decided he wasn’t going to win and so ambled along after me as if nothing had happened.

Is this our first lie?  He is two years and two months.  Is this early to be lying?  Or is it not really a lie, just an attempt to manipulate me to do what he wants?  If you have any answers, please leave them in the comments below.

My Little Part of Curitiba

I live in the city of Curitiba in the state of Paraná in the south of Brazil.  It is a relatively prosperous city and also quite organised.  In the last 30 years the city has expanded at a phenomenal rate which initially saw the city expanding geographically.  In recent years it has reached the limits of this expansion and so more and more new high-rise buildings are going up in the centre of the city, often at the expense of old, traditional buildings.

These photos have been put together as part of the Mulitcultural Kids Blog project called ‘Your Neighbourhood Around the World.’

A View from the Balcony

Paraná Football Club stadium and Mercado Municipal in Curitiba.

Paraná Football Club stadium and Mercado Municipal in Curitiba.

I live on the 19th floor of a building at the edge of the city centre.  This photo looks out to the front and left of my building where you can see in the background the football ground for Paraná FC.  This is the third biggest team in the city and for the last few years they have been languishing in the second division.  At the moment they are in 4th place and hoping to win promotion back to the top league.

Just in front of the football stadium you can see the coach station which is currently undergoing a refurbishment which will hopefully be ready in time for the world cup.

In the foreground you can Mercado Municipal, or the City Market.  This is the best place to go for fresh fruit and vegetables.  Also, if you want some special ingredients or a really good bottle of wine you’ll find it here.  It started out as a small market in the white building on the left but has since expanded to take up much of the block.  Earlier in the year they opened to latest extension which you can see as the glass fronted building to the left.

Building Site in Curitiba, Brazil.

Building Site in Curitiba, Brazil.

In recent years Curitiba has resembled a building site as the country has experienced a boom.  This photo looks straight out of the front of our flat and you can see what will be the tallest building in Curitiba when it is finished some time in 2015.  It is difficult to see, but just behind this building is the football stadium for Atlético Paranaense where they will be holding games for the World Cup, assuming it is finished in time.

Looking Down on Curitiba

Looking Down on Curitiba

And this is the view straight down from our balcony.  You can see a play area with a football pitch and basket ball court as well as the other buildings.


Serra do Mar, Curitiba

Serra do Mar, Curitiba

This is the view from our building.  You can see another building going up as well as the mountains in the background.  They are partially hidden by the clouds but when the sun is out they are pretty amazing.  Unfortunately I don’t think I’ve seen them for the last 10 days due to the cloud cover.  On the other side of these mountains is the beach, so most Curitibanos know them very well.

A Very Long Road

Rua Viscond de Guarapuava, Curitiba

Rua Visconde de Guarapuava, Curitiba

Apart from a few neighbourhoods, Curitiba is based on a grid system.  This is one of the main roads in the city and is usually jammed with traffic.


This is my son’s pre-school.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but they inside it is pretty cool.  This is a common feature of buildings in Curitiba in that they often look quite bland from the street, but once inside they come alive.

A pre-school in Curitiba

A pre-school in Curitiba

Play Areas

A play area in Curitba

A play area in Curitiba

We have lots of parks in Curitiba, but very little in the way of swings and slides and other stuff you usually get in parks for kids.  This is a little space near my flat that has a public football pitch/basketball court.


Parana Pine

Parana Pine

Curitiba is famous for its pine trees, known as the Araucaria or Paraná Pine.  These trees are at the back of my flat and to be honest they aren’t very good specimens.  When you get a proper old tree they are very impressive.

A Traditional Building

An older building in Curitiba

An older building in Curitiba

In this photo you can see an older, more traditional style of house.  Most of them have now disappeared to be replaced with high-rise buildings.  The graffiti on the walls next to the house is in front of vacant land.  I have the feeling that pretty soon the vacant land and this old house will be built on.

Public Transport

A dedicated road just for big orange busses in Curitiba

A dedicated road just for big orange busses in Curitiba

A big orange Curitibano bus

A big orange Curitibano bus

Meet any Curitibano and it won’t take long for them to tell you about their transport system.  Apparently they invented the bi-articulated bus, and although I can’t find any evidence for that they certainly have a very extensive system of dedicated roads just for busses and emergency transport.

The Market

This is the market that was in the photo from my balcony, but this time from street level.  You can see the old part and the new part more clearly here.

Mercado Municipal, Curitiba, from street level

Mercado Municipal, Curitiba, from street level


“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were.  But without it we go nowhere.” Carl Sagan

Destination: Imagination

Destination: Imagination (Wikipedia)

One of the joys of being a parent (and there has to some sort of valid reason for putting up with the sleepless nights, non-existent social life and gross financial costs) is getting to watch up close how your child develops step by step from that small bundle of joy into, eventually, an adult.  I am particularly lucky in that respect as my job allows me lots of flexibility so I can take an active part in his development and even write about it here.

One of the things I recently wrote about was how Mr. T’s language skills are developing in that he can now make jokes and play with his language.  This language development shows his increased capacity to imagine other possibilities and to make them seem ‘real’.  But it is not just in his language that Mr. T is exercising his imagination, it is also in his actions and his games as well.



Woof woof or au au? (devaburger)

One of the ways in which Mr. T demonstrates his increasing capacity to imagine different worlds is when we play our dogs game.  I usually initiate this game by crawling around on all fours barking like an angry dog.  Mr. T will sometimes join me and we crawl around the floor with him in front barking.  The interesting thing here is that he barks in Portuguese, saying ‘au au‘ and I bark in English saying ‘woof woof’.

The other possibility is that Mr. T will run away from me giggling and shouting ‘sai au au!‘ (‘get off woof woof!’).  He runs into our bedroom and hops up onto the bed laughing all the time and waiting for me, or the au au, to arrive. As soon as I crawl in growling and barking his giggles hit a new pitch of delight as he tries to get past me and run into the living room.  I then have to hunt him down agin in the living room whereupon he runs to the bedroom again.  And again…and again.

My poor knees.


I may have mentioned once or twice before that Mr. T has an obsession with all things mechanical and vehicular; cars, lorries, planes and trains will all keep him entertained for hours.  The other day I noticed that he had put his chairs in row, one behind the other.

I was just about to put them back around his table when he shouted at me to stop.  He came up to the chairs and told me they were a ‘wee wee choo choo’ or train.  He then showed me that I had to sit on the back seat while he sat on the front one a ‘drove’ us around the room.

Colouring in

English: The process of making kimono

A long way to go before we colour in like this (Wikipedia)

Mr. T is so obsessed with cars, trains and busses and whatnot that he will often demand you draw him a picture of a blue bus or a mommy car.  It is no longer enough to just draw the bus, though, we also then have to draw passengers in all of the windows.  Once we have done this, Mr. T will proceed to tell you who is sitting in each window.

Interacting with books

He also does this with some of the books that we read to him.  For example in his book Amazing Planes he names all of the passengers or the pilots or the cabin crew as people he knows from our families.

He will also interact with books by pretending to eat or drink any food that he can see, or even giving it to mamãe or daddy to eat.

Not Unique

I know that this is a stage that every child goes through and I am not claiming that our son is unique.  It is pretty amazing to think though that only a few months ago he almost never showed any examples of his imagination running wild.

Who knows what worlds he will be able to visit in the future.  All I know is that I must do everything possible to ensure that he doesn’t have to stay in this one all the time.