April 13, 2010

The Great Rio Caper - Part 2

Last year, when we went to Myrtle Beach, I noticed that PK had developed quite a bit, during the course of the 5 days that we were away. Among other things, her walking got a lot better (holding onto only one of my hands for support), she learned how to crawl (yes, walking SHOULD come before, but alas...), and she became a lot more social.

During our 9-day stay in Rio a couple of weeks back, I noticed a similar developmental "explosion". Maybe it's the result of us being with PK for more than a handful of hours every day, or maybe being away brings this out in her. Perhaps a little of both?

Here are just a few things that we noticed over the course of our vacation:

1. Babbling
PK is really into some serious babbling. She often looks you in the eyemakes different facial expressions and has accompanying hand gestures (takes after me). Sometimes she'll tell us a story. Sometimes she'll lecture us. Sometimes she'll pick up a phone-like object and act like she's talking on the phone, having full-on conversations. The babbling is mostly incoherent, but you'd swear it was a brand-new language. Sometimes I like to play along and pretend like I understand what she's saying, making up a story that goes along with her babbling. She seems to find this amusing.

2. Vocabulary
With having been immersed in more Portuguese than she's normally used to, PK picked up quite a few new words in that language. I've also noticed that she's trying to say certain words in both languages, which is pretty cool. The number of new English words in her vocabulary as increased as well, including "bus", "hotel", "pool", and "pizza". The latter sounded like "pee-pie" for a while there - super-cute!

3. Interaction
PK normally responds more to adults than she does to children. I think this is pretty normal behavior at this age. While we were away, we holed ourselves in a hotel that was a little more isolated from the city for a few days. It allowed us to spend some time together as a family, since I spent most of the daytime hours away from PK and the hubby, taking care of various errands. This hotel had a little wading pool for the kiddies. PK was a little uncertain about the pool at first, but it didn't take long before that went away. This wading pool was great because it went up to PK's waist, so she wasn't at all intimidated by the water. The other cool thing is that this pool was a popular hang-out for parents with little kids. This meant that PK met quite a few kids.

There was this little boy from Chile who was totally smitten with PK. He must've been 8 or so, but he totally loved hanging out with PK. His father encouraged him to play with older kids, and pawned the boy's younger sister off on us instead. She was maybe a year or so older than PK. PK didn't pay much attention to her, but she did lend PK a pail, which PK thought was totally awesome. She loved filling the pail and emptying the water out on herself or on us. I ended up buying PK her own pail so that she didn't have to worry about borrowing one (in case this little girl wasn't around when we were in the pool).

We also met this little girl named Maya, who was a month or two younger than PK. We saw her at the pool all the time with her mom. Her mom was Brazilian, but her English was very good, and she spoke to Maya in both languages. Maya and PK totally hit it off from the start. I think they totally fed off of each other. They had conversations in their babbling language, and somehow seemed to understand each other. They also enjoyed imitating one another, splashing about in the pool, and following each other around. This was probably the first time that I've ever seen PK take any interest in another kid, and it was just awesome to be able to witness it.

4. Food
Another fun thing was being able to introduce PK to various types of Brazilian food and desserts. It is absolutely criminal for us to visit Rio and not indulge in my absolute favorite eating experience: the churrascaria. Brazil is well-known for its churrasco, which translates to barbecue. But churrasco is different because it's not just about the food; it is also about the eating experience. When you go to a rodizio churrascaria, it is an all-you-can-eat experience, whereby you are presented with various cuts of beef, pork, and poultry on giant skewers. The servers cut you off the piece of your choosing. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Mmmm...

While in Rio, PK got to experience churrasco for the first time, and she really liked the stuff. We don't cook any red meat at home because I am not in agreement of the feeding practices of cows in Canada (i.e. feeding cow to cow, which can lead to mad cow disease). In Brazil, however, cows are grass-fed, so whenever we're down there, I gorge myself in meat. To my surprise, of PK's favorite things at the churrascaria was the chicken hearts. I love chicken hearts myself, but the hubby gets all squirmy at the sight of them. PK couldn't get enough of the stuff!

PK also gorged herself on various desserts (in moderation, of course), especially the coconut-based ones. She also really enjoyed eating various fruits, like honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple (it's a white pineapple in Brazil, compared to the yellow kind that you get from Hawaii around here), mango, and banana. She also tried some passionfruit, though she wasn't a huge fan. I also introduced her to coconut water. You can get coconut at any of the sidewalk beach vendors. The vendor basically takes a machete and cuts off the top of the coconut. The inside of the coconut is filled with the coconut water. You just pop in a straw, and voilá!

5. Heat
Poor little PK is definitely Canadian - when we arrived in Rio, it was a balmy, sunny, and humid 32ºC. The heat didn't agree with her, and on our first full day there, she wound up puking twice as a result of the heat. After that, we had her sleeping in only her diaper, and made sure to keep her well-hydrated with mostly juice and some water. She had over-hydrated herself the previous day with water, which I guess agreed with neither the heat nor the stomach. Fortunately the puking was limited to one day, and after that, all was well.

Overall it was a great trip to Rio, and I'm really glad that PK got to see where I was born. She probably won't remember much (if anything) from this trip, but I think she did enjoy herself. I really look forward to returning there in the coming years, as PK grows up.

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