Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's Your School Uniform?

 School/daycare in Rio de Janeiro took some getting used to.   Not the system or teachers but the bathing. 

I really didn't know how to handle it when I found out that the daycare my 1 year old was in was giving him a bath every day. I was like, say what?! 

It went something like this:

Rants "Why do you need to bath him?"
School "It's hot and they are sweaty."
Rants "So, I'll bath him when he gets home. It's weird"
School "Why is it weird?"
Rants "How do I know someone isn't doing something they shouldn't"
School "What are you talking about"
Rants "I'm talking about with my child! In a bath!"
School "What's wrong with you, you sick bastard?!"

The weirdest part of the whole conversation was that it all happened inside my head.  I never actually confronted the school. They bathed each and every child after lunch and before nap.  Everyone under the sun, including the parking guy if anyone asked, considered it a given. 

Crazy American Mom not bathing her child 3 times a day, especially before nap and bedtime... and after the park, after eating a messy meal, and we can't forget before seeing Grandma.

Now this boy is older and in a proper school. Guess what, they run around in their underwear when it starts getting hot here. That or their speedo which is basically the same thing. The littler girls also run around in underwear and the bigger ones in bikinis. This goes up through 1st and 2nd grade.  Maybe a little higher.

And you know what, I think it rocks. It is hotter than hell. Why shouldn't my kid be able to play outside in as little as possible, all bits covered of course. My youngest, in the infant 1 class, does get a bath on particularly messy or sweaty days.  They also let the kids up to 4 years old spend 30 min in the "aquatic park" aka 2 blow up pools and a hose. 

It took some getting used, I must say.  Initially, the idea of my kid running around his school in his underwear or in just his shorts (no shirt) seemed wrong.  Why are you taking off his clothes!

But that's the thing, they aren't taking off their clothes to take off their clothes.  They are letting the kids be more comfortable.  That and Brazilians have a HUGE obsession with bathing, especially in the summer. Any good school would help the younger ones stay clean and feel more comfortable.  The older kids can fend for themselves.

Plus kids, especially small ones, are treated like Deities. I really wouldn't be that surprised if I found my youngest's class of 1 year olds sitting on grape leaves being spoon fed jello.  And of course there would be someone fanning them.  Duh.

You melt here. It literally gets uncomfortable to just be.  It would be a crime of Brazilian nature to let a child feel that way. And heaven forbid one stays dirty.


  1. Sounds wonderful.

    Many, many (many) years ago I was a cook at a hippy daycare center (liscenced)in Lansing Michigan. I cooked great stuff, like peanut butter pizza and fresh granola -- but that is another story...

    The men were not allowed to be alone with any child, period. If a child needed to be changed the school was required to have two adults present. No child was to be touched in a scolding way.

    It was crazy. Ridiculous. But it was the USA...

    Goddess bless the freedom of the children in Brazil -- and the adults who love/protect them.

  2. Rachel,

    I think because Brazilians are not uptight about sex/talking about sex, having sex, watching sex...people are ok in the sex department and sicko creeps who would even touch a child in that way are too rare...
    That is what scares me about the US, people are so up tight about sex that weird crazy stuff happens all the time...
    I am sure your kids are ok in Brazil in that department, they are surrounded by decent people.
    I have to say, again, the frequent bathing stuff and the sitting on grape leaves while been spoon feed jello and having two other people fanning's all a cultural thing of Colonial Brazil.
    Have a GREAT TRIP!
    Hope you remembered to pack the "Requeijao".


  3. Rachel, last time when I was in Brazil in "winter" (July) I have taken some long sleeve shirts for my kids... just in case. What a waste of time ! They were just wearing underwear the whole day, one month. The only time when they wore decent clothes was for a "festa junina" and then my brother's marriage.

  4. Anyone else out there miss Rachel like I do?? I know she's traveling, but I still had to check her blog anyway. I love her blog, and a day without one or more posts from her just isn't the same. Come back Rachel!

    Then again, we all deserve a vacation, so enjoy your travels Rachel. Miss you!!

  5. Jean,

    You bet we miss Rachel, she is probably still in flight between the two countries.


  6. Eu acho engraçado creches na Europa não agirem dessa maneira, acho que Americanos e europeus são paranoicos demais, tudo bem que existe gente louca, mas o melhor é confiar em quem você confia seus filhos todos os dias, não é mesmo?


  7. Ah Jean, thanks! I will still be around, although it will be a little less than normal. I was between flights. It took us 24 hrs between 2 flights, a 6 hr layover, and a + 3 hour car ride home from the airport. All in all, not bad. Really was an "adventure"

    I agree that the sexual oppression in the US really does push more crazies out there. I also think that the issue with pedophilia isn't as open as it should be in Brazil. That being said, I don't worry about my boys at the school at all. And I love the freedom of it. My kids get to be kids. Hell, I remember things starting to hit the fan when I was a kid in 4th grade. We weren't allowed to hold hands with other students or hug our teacher. It was sad. At the same time, our student (experience points for college) reading teacher got kicked out of the program for rubbing one of the 4th grader's legs during private reading lesson.