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.

Parents and The Ashes

The Ashes Urn

The Ashes Urn (Wikipedia)

I am rejoicing.

It is quite a strange feeling for me, but British sport seems to have developed a backbone and started to win stuff.  Following on from the successful Olympics last year the British and Irish (though mainly Welsh) Lions beat Australia in the rugby earlier in the summer.

Justin Rose won the first golf major by an Englishman in 17 years at the USPGA and Andy Murray, a Scot, became the first British man since the 1930’s to win Wimbledon.

For me, though, the highlight is cricket.  I was brought up on terrible English cricket teams, constantly getting drubbed by the West Indies and then Australia, and to be honest practically everyone that was put in front of us.  No matter what the score, an English collapse was never too far away.

Then in 2005 the unthinkable happened and England beat Australia in one of the greatest Ashes series ever.

This year’s Ashes has quite lived up to the vintage of 2005, but it has still been exciting and, more importantly for me, England are now 3-0 up with 1 more to play.  It means England have won the last 3 Ashes series and 4 out of the last 5.  Oh happy days.

It’s a Dad’s Game

The undoubted man of the series so far has been Ian Bell.  He has always had the class but his temperament had been more questionable.  It seemed that he flattered to deceive, only ever scoring runs when his team mates had done all the hard work.  This time it has been different.  This time he has been the man to get England out of a series of holes.  He has been the leading run scorer in often difficult situations.

Many commentators have asked what has happened to Ian Bell to make him more steely.  One answer that I have seen a number of times is the fact that last year he became a father and this has given him a different outlook on life.  Whether this is true or not we will have to wait for his autobiography to find out, but I found it intriguing to think about how becoming a dad can change your outlook on life.  I know it has changed mine and will be writing about this in future blogs.

English: Mo Farah at the 2010 European Athleti...

Mo Farah wins again (Wikipedia)

There has been news and lots of talk recently about men taking paternity leave to be prest at the birth of their children and to be a apart of those all important first few weeks.  It must be admitted, though, that it is relatively easy to be father in professional sport.  Whether it is fair or not, it is accepted than some men will be sportsmen and must be away from their homes in order to achieve their potential.  I read yesterday how Mo Farah, the long distance runner, is almost a stranger to his young twin daughters because of his commitment to his sport.  This has largely been accepted as a price that has to be paid in order to be the best of the best.

Not Really a Mum’s Game

IMGP4002_womens-cricket

Women’s cricket (RaeAllen)

It must be far more difficult to be a mother when the sport you play is amateur and you have to juggle so many different responsibilities.  Women’s cricket has practically no money whatsoever so to play at the highest level means a far greater level of commitment that in the men’s game.  My utmost respect, therefore, goes out to Sarah Elliot who plays cricket for the Australia women’s team.  She had her first daughter 9 months ago and on 12th August, in her first test match since becoming a mum, scored a century that has put Australia in a dominant position against England.

Whenever one of the few journalists who is covering the game has mentioned this feat by Sarah they have made sure to also mention the fact that she is a new mum.

So perhaps the world hasn’t changed all that much.  Women still find it harder than men to compete and England (women) are still losing to Australia.

And of course our football team continues to be crap!

Playing With Language

noooo

Everyday now, Mr. T is gaining in confidence with his language skills.  I still don’t think he has realised that he is learning two different languages, but he is picking up more words and experimenting with more sounds all the time.  One of the joys of this has been to see he creativity with language and his ability to play with it.

On The Bus

One game that we developed totally by accident is a sort of ‘follow-the-leader’ or listen and repeat game.  One of his favourite toys is a London tour bus he got a few months ago.  Of course, his word for bus is ‘Mimi car’, which has no relation to the English word or the Portuguese ‘omnibus‘.  One day he was messing around with one of his toys and putting it on the bus and saying ‘Mimi car,’ so to annoy him I said ‘on the bus.’  He repeated ‘Mimi car’ and I insisted it was ‘on the bus.’

He quickly realised that whatever way he said ‘Mimi car’ I would copy him.  If he shouted it, I shouted back.  If he whispered, so would I.  If he said it very very slowly I tried to mimic him.  He thought this was the greatest trick ever.  The next stage was to get him to copy me, which didn’t take too long at all.

I didn’t do this in order to correct him.  I reckon he’ll figure out in his own sweet time what the ‘real’ words for a bus are.  It was just something to pass a few minutes and interact with him.  We end up doing it now at least once a day.  I was doubly fortunate because the English sentence ‘on the bus’ sounds suspiciously like the Portuguese word ‘omnibus’ so even my wife can join in this game without Mr. T. realising it is slightly different.

No!

Every kid learns to say ‘No’ pretty early on, possibly because, at least in Mr. T’s case because that is probably the word he hears the most.  One of his favourite games has always been to play with his cars on the coffee table and to roll them across and let them fall on the floor.  As they were rolling I used to shout ‘No!’ in an overly dramatic way before they hit the floor.  Mr. T has now taken to holding a car on the table and imitating my plaintive cry of ‘No!’ and then  squealing with delight as it crashes into the ground.  He has even started to build the tension by saying ‘no’ a number of times, each time building up the volume and pitch until the car eventually rolls over the side.

It’s a bit like watching this:

Abou

Abou is Mr. T’s word for acabou, which is Portuguese for ‘finished’.  His favourite practical joke is to have a cup of water or juice which is obviously half full and then shout ‘Daddy, abou’.  I look at him and ask him ‘Is it finished?’ at which point he looks at the cup, looks at me and says ‘Nooooo!’  Once he has finished giggling to himself he then puts the drink back in his mouth.  If he is in the mood this can go on for ages.

 

A note on the image used above.  I have tried to find who produced the photo but so far I have been unsuccessful  If you created it, please let me know and I will be only too happy to add a credit.

Round and Round the Garden

 

Shaking  Hands Black and White

Shaking hands (Zeevveez)

While on holiday my folks taught Thomas, and reminded me, of two nursery rhymes that I had completely forgotten.  He loves both of them because they are accompanied by physical movements.  This means that not only do they meet a need for physical touch and action, but he can ask other people to say them to him very easily by miming the actions.

Round and Round the Garden

The first one goes like this:

Round and round the garden

Like a teddy bear

One step, two step

And tickle him under there.

As you say the first two lines you hold the child’s hand palm up and trace circles around his palm with your index finger.  During this part Thomas invented his own step which was to close his hand so that we couldn’t continue with the rhyme.  We had to ask him to open it before we could go on.  For the third line you touch the inside of the child’s wrist when you say ‘one step’ and then the crook of the arm for ‘two step’.  Finally, on ‘tickle him under there’ you tickle him under the armpit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCzrIo1Fxf4

The problem with this nursery rhyme is that Thomas doesn’t seem to get bored of it.  If you do it once you have to do it a hundred times.  He decides which hand he wants you to do it on and holds it out for you. Alternatively, he will take your hand and, while you say the rhyme, he will do the actions.

Shake Hands Brother

The second rhyme is a bit more sinister.  It comes from Ireland and goes a bit like this.

Shake hands brother

(You’re a rogue and I’m another)

You stole a cow and I stole another.

You’ll be hung in Ballinalime

And I’ll be hung in Ballinatother.

As you say this rhyme you have to shake the child’s hand to the beat.  The second line (in brackets) is optional; my mother uses it but my dad doesn’t.  The two place names are approximations because I was never actually sure of what was being said.  ‘Ballin’ is a common prefix for towns in Ireland and can either mean ‘town’ or ‘mouth of a river’ depending on the original gaelic meaning.

Thomas loves both of these rhymes and I do to.  I remember hearing them as a kid so I am determined to keep them alive with Thomas now.  Not only do they help with language learning but they also provide a link to my childhood as well.

Related Articles

Hey Diddle, Diddle and other favourite nursery rhymes – happybeahbeah.wordpress.com

Importance of Nursery Rhymes – blossomnursery.wordpress.com

Word Games

From what I have read from various people on the web about bringing up bilingual children it seems that one very important aspect is to make sure the child enjoys what they are doing and has fun while picking up the two languages.  This also chimes with the way I try to teach English as a foreign language to my students.  While I don’t always play games with my students they at least need to enjoy the experience and not just see the whole thing as boring work.

I think I played my first word game with my son last night, and he certainly seemed to enjoy it.  It was just the two of us messing around together and he suddenly stopped and said ‘mamãe’ (‘mommy’).  I said ‘no’ and shook my head because she was at work.  He immediately repeated ‘mamãe’ and I immediately said ‘no’.  He again said ‘mamãe’ and I told him ‘no’.  This went on for about a minute or so, but by the end he was smiling as he said ‘mamãe’ as if he knew what I was going to say and was expecting it.

I know that this isn’t exactly Scrabble or anything, but it gave me a great sense of achievement and I hope it gave my son a fun time and a great experience.  I am already looking forward to more.