This is going to be a short one since I'm in the middle of a holiday in Brazil. We're visiting my husband's family so I mean holiday in the loosest sense of the word. We've probably spent more time in the car here than over the last six months (gosh it's a big country) and every day has involved at least one visit to family or friends.
I'm a bit of a hermit so being surrounded by so many people is quite exhausting. On the other hand, I love seeing baby boy play with a plethora of cousins, aunts and uncles, something that I, an only grandchild, never experienced. It's also been interesting to see Brazilian parents in action.
Here, children frequently go to bed past 11 pm. Children are welcomed at all family events, even those starting in the evening and nobody minds when a handful of overtired toddlers are running around the room at 10 pm. All of my husband's cousins breastfed their babies until at least 2 or 3 years of age. One cousin told me how her daughter (now a beautiful, smart 20-year old) had only breastmilk until she was one, alleviating any fears I had about baby boy's still somewhat erratic eating patterns.
Of course not everything is positive. Everyone jokingly asks to "keep your baby when you go back to Europe" because it's actually quite common for grandmothers to raise their grandchildren. Children are frequently given sweetened chocolate milk as the adults think plain milk is "tasteless" and many toddlers have had more antibiotics than I've been given in 30 years.
On the whole it is enlightening to step out of my own European parenting bubble for a while. It reminds me how important it is to share experiences with other parents, especially those that have a different background or attitude to my own.
Next week we're heading back home and into the rhythm of normal life. I'll finally have a moment to make a cup of tea and read everyone's linky contributions in peace.
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