The pavements in Curitiba are awful and make walking a challenge for a grown adult, nevermind a toddler of 20 months. However, I have a new favourite walk right now which is the few blocks from my flat to the playschool where Thomas spends his afternoons.
The walk is actually quite dangerous, not just because of the dodgy pavements but also the dual carriageway we have to cross that doesn’t have a pedestrian crossing for about 2 km, and to get to that we have to cross a different dangerous road. I am super careful at this point, as are the countless other people who gather together at the same spot to try to cross.
If we ignore the fact that I have to take our lives in my hands, the walk is great because of the time I get to spend with Thomas. I prefer the walk home because it starts with Thomas being brought out of his classroom by his teacher, and as soon as he sees me he shouts at the top of his voice ‘DADDYYYYYY!’. This has quickly become a sort of tradition with many other teachers thinking it is just so cute.
I get a quick hug and then he starts talking about the cars that are parked in front of the school waiting for other kids. I put his bag on my shoulder and we start the 20 minute or so walk back to out flat. We walk through a mini-park so we see lots of dogs, the occasional bike and, if we are really lucky, some older kids playing football. All of these have to be remarked upon. ‘Mamãe car’ if the car looks like ours. ‘Daddy, au au’ whenever we see a dog. ‘Ah! Pi’ for all of the bikes.* Plenty of vocabulary practice.
I try to talk to him about the other stuff we can see, but I am often interrupted if he spies a car parked on a drive, or when we pass the bakery and he sees the motorbike that is always parked there. A little further up the road there is a house that has three dogs who are normally outside the house. Last week I saw for the first time that they had puppies, but this wasn’t half as exciting for Thomas as the time they all came running down the drive barking at him. he didn’t stop enthusiastically shouting ‘au au’ for about 10 minutes.
He has started to take an interest in stuff above him as well. He likes the telegraph poles here that have hundreds of wires coming out from them and can stand looking up at them for a good few minutes. He has started to pay attention to trees as well and I am not sure if he recognises that the trees are different to the telegraph poles. The other day I took him up to one of the first trees we passed and got him to touch the trunk; now we have to touch all of the trunks on the way home or we’ll have tears.
One day, when I was taking him to school, it started to rain when we were about 400 metres from the school. It promised to be a proper thunder shower so I picked him up and ran to the school. It was the funniest thing in Thomas’ short life as he bounced along down the street in my arms. Less than a minute after arriving the heavens opened an unleashed a torrential downpour on us that forced me to wait a while before returning home.
Last week Thomas started to cry and shout when we passed in front of the bakery that is on our route. Initially I thought it was because he wanted to go up to the motorbike that is always parked outside and so I mentioned this to my wife. She
told me that when she fetches Thomas she had been taking him into the bakery and buying him a juice and some pão de quiejo (a sort of bread and cheese roll), sitting at a table in the window and spending a leisurely 20 minutes or so having a snack on their way home. So now I am also having a bite to eat while Thomas sits on the chair swinging his legs and eating his pão de quiejo. He looks all grown up and I am just waiting for the day when we start talking about his day at school, or gossiping about the other people in the bakery as he sips his orange juice.
I know there are more beautiful walks in the world, and plenty of safer ones to boot. But at the moment this is my favourite walk in the entire history of the universe.
Do you have a favourite walk that you like to go on with your child?
*You can see more about what these words mean and Thomas’ other vocabulary here.
A Spectacular Walk Around Point Lookout – littlemeninmylibrary.wordpress.com
The Dog’s Favourite Walk – my-rutland.com
The London Perambulator and Deep Topography – underagreysky.com (This post has to have one of the best titles I have ever read.)