Bacalhau (Cod Fish)

This is Bacalhau, huge fillets of cod fish salted at sea and brought strait to the country that loves it the best. There are 1001 ways to make bacalhau and I know not one of them.

This is Bacalhau, huge fillets of cod fish salted and dried at sea and brought strait to the country that loves it the best. There are 1001 ways to make bacalhau and I know not one of them. Bacalhau is sold and eaten all year round but at Christmas the displays quadruple.


Hank: (swallowing) OW!!!!

Me: Right that is my queue to get to the store and back as quickly as possible.

Hank: (swollen face, swollen glands, miserable) I’m fine.

Me: Your Prima (cousin Monica) is here if you need anything.

Hank: I love my Prima. I missed her when she was home in Luxembourg. I am so happy she is back.

Me: Your Prima is someone very special and you are so lucky to live with her. I mean, come on, she knows all the words to every pop song in English, French and Portuguese. Extremely handy.

Hank: I know, right!

Me: Because of this time with your Prima you will have someone you can turn to your whole life. When you have no one else you will have Monica, especially when you are 15 and are done talking to your mother altogether.

Hank: (cough, cough) That will never happen.

Me: We’ll see. My cousin Mark lived with us when I was very small. He is a few years older than your Uncle Jesse and he has always felt like a big brother and not my cousin.

Hank: Living in the same house is special.

Me: Indeed. Please finish your tea and when I get back you can have a Coca-Cola.

Hank: Really?

Me: Coca-Cola is necessary. I always got Coca-Cola when I was sick as a kid. It’s an American thing.

Hank: I’ll take it!

Me: The bubbles will help and you need the calories. You don’t have fat stores like I did when I got sick a few weeks ago. I had the reserves I needed to lose those 10lbs.

Hank: How much is 10lbs again?

Me: 5 kilos.

Hank: That is a lot.

Me: I know! I am back in my skinny, pre Amália jeans. Only benefit to two weeks in bed from a gut virus. YOU on the other hand have been skinny your whole life so even though it hurts to eat we have to get calories in you every day.

Hank: It’s not just the hurting I just don’t feel like eating. I am not hungry.

Me: I understand, buddy, but you’ve got to try. What special things can I get you at the store?

Hank: Um…

Me: Butter crossants?

Hank: Can we toast them with cheese?

Me: You bet.

Hank: Can you get me this one cereal I want to try? It is called Lion.

Me: (making a list) Of course. What else? Chocolate Moose? Popsicles? I have soup for lunch.

Hank: No.

Me: Convent cakes or cookies?

Hank: They have those at the store?

Me: Yes, there is a booth. It’s December.

Hank: That’s right. I completely forgot. Can we make the tree this weekend?

Me: Claro (of course). So I will get Bacalhau (salted cod fish). How much? 2.5 kilos (5 lbs)? (facetious) I know you love it.

Hank: Ewww, mom. Don’t even think about it.

Me: What? You mean you don’t want the house smelling like soaking salted cod for a few days before I boil it and then the whole house and our hair will smell like boiled, rehydrated salted cod fish? Hank, It’s Christmas! Don’t be a Scrooge!

Hank: Yuck. No. Mama. I will get sick everywhere. I don’t like Bacalhau (salted cod fish)! And the smell when you boil it.  I will puke. Thinking about it I will puke and that will hurt so bad.

Me: How can you be Portuguese and not like Bacalhau? I like it.

Hank: (too smart for his own good) You like it when other people make it. That is different.

Me: Ohhhhhhh so guilty.

Hank: (coughing, miserable, exhausted from having fun)

Me: Alright… I will stick to the list.

Hank: (sipping his hot tea through a straw) OW!

Me: (wincing for him) Be back soon.

Hank: (exhausted) Take your time. Thank you, mama.

Me: Love you.

Hank: (head flopping against the pillow, eyes back on the TV) Love you.

The email I sent to Hank while shopping. He only kinda thought it was funny and mostly thought it was gross!

The email I sent to Hank while shopping. He only kinda thought it was funny and mostly thought it was gross!



a snippet of the hospital selfie Hank sent his best friend, Irina who lives in Ireland.

a snippet of the hospital selfie Hank sent his best friend, Irina.


Me: (ringing the door bell after having fished unsuccessfully for my keys the whole elevator ride) We left in such a hurry I totally must have forgotten my keys.

Hank: Don’t worry, mama. Someone is home.

Pai: (from inside) Quem é?

Molly: (from inside) Mano (brother)? Mama?

Pai: Não sei?

Molly: (face pressed against the door) QUEM É (WHO IS IT)?

Hank: (miserable giggle) Mana (sister)!

Molly: MANO!!!

Pai: (opening the door) Welcome home!

Hank: (pathetic) Thank you.

Me: Whatta day.

Pai: I just have one question, Hank. Who’d you kiss?

Hank: (frustrated) No one!

Me: (ushering Hank into the house) Then who kissed you? It’s okay, we won’t be mad.

Hank: (exhausted, collapsing on the couch) Everyone is going to ask me this, aren’t they?

Me: Everyday, until you are better and once you are better they will ask, (in my best Groucho Marx) “So kid, was the kiss worth it?”

Molly: (climbing up next to him) Mano (brother).

Hank: (panicked, recoiling) How do I not get her sick?

Pai: Don’t kiss her.

Me: Be vigilant about anything that touches your mouth: cups, straws, etc. Wash your hands like crazy. Don’t touch her mouth. Don’t lick her.

Pai: Seriously? He’s nine not a golden retriever.

Hank: (giggling)

Me: You are to do nothing but couch or bed. This is going to suck, but we love you and are here for you.

Pai: You are gonna have a lot of time on your hands.

Hank: (squeaky sore throat voice) The medica (doctor) said I won’t go back to school until after ferias (winter break). I have two tests and she said I have to miss them. I can’t go.

Pai: You are very sick and  fragile. We will get your books from your teacher and you know how you wanted to learn to code? Well, this is a perfect opportunity.

Me:I will get you books from the library and we will load you up with movies.

Hank: I have a feeling I will binge watch a lot of Netflix.

Me: All because you decided to make out with someone! The perils of young love.

Hank: I didn’t kiss anyone.

Me: Then how did you get the kissing disease?

Hank: The what?

Pai: Mononucleosis is commonly caused the kissing disease because the most common way of spreading the illness is mouth to mouth.

Me: If you admit who you kissed then I could call their mother and you could have sick dates. I always had a fantasy of getting Mono with a boyfriend and having to snuggle and watch movies together for a month while we recovered.

Hank: (squeaky, barely able to talk his throat is so swollen) WHAT? I am so hot and sick and sweaty. I am itchy and my whole body hurts. I don’t even want to hug you. This is terrible. You’re crazy. This is not a date sickness.

Me: (joking) You mean mononucleosis isn’t romantic? Didn’t romance get you in this position?

Hank: (getting annoyed)

Pai: Don’t listen to your mother, Hank. (whispers) You can tell me who you kissed later. For now I bet a little ice cream on that sore throat would be nice.

Hank: (giving me some side eye) Yes, please. Thank you, papa.

Molly: (absorbed in Super Simple Songs)

Pai: (going into the kitchen)

Me: Sure, you’ll tell your pai (dad) who you kissed, but not me. I thought we had something special, Hank. (arms folded, feigned rejection)

Hank: I. didn’t. kiss. anyone. Germs, mama. There are a million ways to pass germs.

Me: No one ever called you dumb.

Hank: (flopping back against the couch pillows) Not one… (cough, cough, cough) day.  (whimper)



A Conversation with Molly

Our front door

Our front door


(front door opening)

Molly: Hello!

Pai: (brushing past me loaded with computer bag and diaper bag, blowing a kiss)

Me: (rushing to greet her outside the apartment on our front steps) Shhhhh! (whispering excitedly) Hello, Molly my dear!

Molly: (gigantic hug) MAMA! Hello! Mano (brother)? (calling over my shoulder) MANO (brother)!

Me: Shhhhh. (whispering) Hush now. Your Mano (brother) is sleeping.

Molly: (concerned) Mano (brother)?

Me: Your Mano (brother)  is a bit sick.

Molly: (sitting on the top step, defeated) Sad. Amália Sad. Mano (brother).

Me: (sitting next to her) I know it is sad. You wanted to play with Mano (brother), did you?

Molly: (beaming) SIM! (remembering) Sad.

Me: Your Mano (brother) needs to sleep. He has a bad cold. He has been sick all day.

Molly: Sad.

Me: (rubbing her back)

Molly: Dinosaur sad. (pointing to her leftover birthday party decorations). Dinosaurs all gone. Sad.

Me: It is very sad there are no more dinosaurs. They are all gone. All we have are fossils.

Molly: Sad.

Me: Oh no, Amália cannot play with Mano (brother). Amália cannot play with dinosaurs. It is all very sad.

Molly: (perking up) Oh papa! PAPA!

Pai: Sim, filha? Anda cá! Brinque com Pai! (Yes, daughter? Come here! Play with dad!)

Molly: Oh papa! I catch you. (toddling to her feet and up the last step into the house) I catch you! (running to find her Pai (dad)

I often sing this amazing Lori Henriques song to our Molly as a lullaby since she loves dinosaurs and I love Lori Henriques songs.  Her music is magical for ALL AGES.  Consider a CD for a holiday gift this year!!!  Perfect music for a long car ride and don’t forget her brother’s amazing site Made by Joel (who illustrated this video)  filled with fun art activities for all ages.