What do you want for your birthday, son?
Instead of a gift for me, I want to give it to someone else.
Wow! That’s very charitable of you! Who would you like to give a gift to?
Oh… uh… so what do you want to give the cat?
I would like you to order this hat for the cat to wear all day on my birthday.
On this week’s episode of the Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow podcast, Steve, from England, and host of the podcast “The Experience Designers”, tells us how it is to pick up and move a family with older children to a different country, how he embraces the idea of “lagom” and how it ties into the Swedish drinking culture… maybe.
You can listen on iTunes, Spotify, poddtoppen, or anywhere you get your podcast. Just type “Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow”
Ice and Snow website –
As I’m sitting here typing this in my nice comfy slippers from my iPad, my husband plays games on his RetroPie from the bed, my oldest son is using Skype to play Minecraft with his friend across town, and my youngest son is in a virtual reality world. Welcome to the future.
My current view as pictured above.
My husband gave a presentation to a 4th grade class yesterday and asked the kids how they veiw the future and what new technologies they think we will have 50 years from now.
I asked him how it went and he said, “It’s amazing the number of children who answer Robot Slaves. In fact, one kid drew a picture of himself pointing and yelling ‘Bring chips!’ while a robot bent over meekly in the corner.”
December 13th in Sweden is Lucia day. It’s basically a celebration of light in the darkness, based on an Italian saint who had her eyes gouged out (really gets kids in the Christmas spirit).
All over Sweden, choirs of children dress in white robes while one girl (the Lucia) has a crown of lit candles on her head. The other children carry their candles.
I volunteered to be the helping parent for one of my son’s classes on this celebration. All I knew was that I was required to stand on the side with a bucket of water in case someone caught on fire. Sounded kind of exciting.
It turns out that kids catching fire was the LEAST of my worries.
First of all, I had to help the teacher accompany the kids from the school to the church. This was like trying to herd goats that are constantly stopping to make and throw snowballs at each other. (Yes, goats totally do that.) I almost had 2 kids get run over because they didn’t stop at the crossing light and were way too cool to acknowledge my screaming “STOP!”, causing them to be stuck in the middle of the road with cars speeding past.
During rehearsal, no one caught on fire (good thing, since they didn’t give us our buckets for rehearsal), but 2 kids almost fainted and a few burned their hands on dripping wax.
I think that all parents should have to assist with a class activity or outing to understand what these teachers have to deal with every day. Not just observing the class, but actually having to herd them, instruct them and keep them alive.
To sum up:
- Teachers should be paid more.
- Kids are like goats.
- I am never volunteering to help out with a school class again.
P.S. The actual Lucia concert went just fine. I think these kids behave a lot better when parents and cameras are watching. haha!
In my old hometown newspaper from Texas, there is an article this week about a sophomore student in high school asking the School Board to remove the ban on boys wearing earrings in school.
I have tried to explain to my Swedish husband that when I went to school in Texas, you could not dye your hair, boys could not have hair past their shoulders, no facial hair and no earrings for boys. That was combined with the usual skirts past the fingertips for girls and no hats allowed for anyone.
Apparently the schools in the place I grew up finally took away the rule about long hair for boys (fairly recently). I know the earring and facial hair rule are still in effect, as well as the skirts and hats, and I’m not sure about hair dye but I think that is still banned as well.
When my husband went to high school here in Sweden, he went through purple hair, bright red hair and blue hair, among many other colors. He also had an earring. And no one cared. He was a smart and great student. No one in class was “distracted,” as some Texas schools like to say in these situations.
Imagine at your job if a man walked in with an earring (many men at your job probably already wear one or more), facial hair (shocking!) and purple hair. You might say, “Whoa Todd, cool hair!” and then do your job. I can’t imagine anyone saying, “There is just no way I can file insurance claims when I can’t take my eyes of Todd’s earring.” or “I would save this woman’s life, but I can’t perform surgery when the ambulance driver who brought this patient in has purple hair. It’s too distracting.”
My oldest son dyed his hair orange most of last year. All this week he has been wearing fake mustaches to school, nerd glasses and a hat that looks like Sonic the Hedgehog. Surprisingly, this does not affect his work or the work of his fellow students, some who have dyed hair, wear shorts or even a rabbit suit pullover (yes, I’ve seen this twice).
I live in the real world. I ride the subway. I’ve seen people dressed as zombies, people with face tattoos, people with piercings and chains. I don’t mind any of those people as long as they TAKE A SHOWER (and don’t eat my brains, of course).
My son had a good dentist appointment this week and the dentist gave him a new toothbrush when he left. He took it out of the wrapper and slowly ran his fingers up and down, over the top.
“This is so soft. It’s like when I touch your toothbrush. It’s soft under my fingers. My old toothbrush feels like straw.”
I realized I hadn’t replaced the kids’ toothbrushes in a while. I told my son that I didn’t know his toothbrush was so hard, and that he should remind me to replace it more often.
I gave him a hug and told him he could go on ahead of me to see if his neighborhood friend was home. As I watched him run down the sidewalk, I thought about how happy I was that he didn’t have to suffer through all the problems I had at his age with my teeth. What a healthy kid. He eats well, exercises and….
Wait a minute.
“Why are you touching my toothbrush?!”
Sometimes my husband and I wonder what our kids might say to a therapist when they get older. Last week, we got a little preview from our 9-year old.
We assign the kids at least 2 chores each week. Last week, when I mentioned that I might ask one of our kids to vacuum, our youngest son said, “Vacuuming shattered my view on life!”
“Because one time, you guys told me to vacuum, and then when I got to your room, it turns out you were both lying in bed watching the Simpsons while I had to work!”
Oh well. Life lessons.
I’m not talking about Margret Thatcher or the Falklands War.
I’m talking about THIS horrible show, watched by British children in the 1980s.
A moment of silence please, for the victims of “Fingermouse.”
One drawback of having children in Sweden who NEVER see t.v. commercials is that they become quite overwhelmed by them when we visit the U.S. After about a week, my youngest was saying things like, “This breakfast today is sponsored by…” and “Brushing my teeth is brought to you by …”
I guess I should be glad they are adapting to the customs and language.
Best sign I saw in a pub on our recent trip to London:
For some reason, my kids weren’t into the new board game I bought them.
Happy Halloween all! We had a Halloween dinner last night at a friends’ house and the kids got to go trick-or-treating. That’s right – LAST NIGHT, October 30. But this is Sweden where no one is quite sure if Halloween is only one day or which one it is, so they tend to celebrate for a week or two.
Now what made our Halloween last night so extremely Swedish (besides some people being confused and giving the kids money – better than last year when they got loose potato chips), was the first house we went to. There was a 3 year old boy jumping up and down on a bed in the window. Oh yeah, and he was completely naked. The boys had already rung the doorbell and we thought perhaps the parents would be embarassed, but wait… this is Sweden and you’re always going to run into nudity somewhere. The parents and kid came to the door to hand out candy and the kid stayed completely naked just dropping the candy into our kids bags. Our kids were in hysterics. I’ll give that kid best costume of the night – it was shocking for sure. 🙂
(Don’t worry, kid not shown in this picture.)
My youngest son was asked to do a short book report the other day on any book he wanted. He chose the book about sickness and diseases that he got from the doctor’s office. I remember that he read that book for weeks after he got it. I had thoughts that maybe he would become a doctor or a researcher. I asked him what he liked so much about the book and he said, “The pictures.” So I took a look.
So, maybe not a doctor – but perhaps a comedian?
The other day, my husband and I walked down to the post office (a ten minute walk) to pick up some packages. Before we left, we told our television watching 8 and 10 year old that we were running to the post office and would be right back. They looked directly at us and said, “ok.”
When we arrived at the post office, my husband got a message from his mother:
“I just called your house and asked for you. The kids say they have no idea where you both went or when you will be back. They were surprised you were gone.”
On one hand, I think, “Wow, they really don’t pay attention to anything.”
On the other hand, I think, “Hmm…. I wonder if we could sneak out to catch a movie.”
I was standing at the top of the waterslide behind an 8 yr old and his 4 yr old brother waiting for my turn. The 8 yr old instructed his younger brother on how to properly go down the slide and when he did, the older brother turned to me with a knowing sigh and said, “ah, they grow up so quickly,” before doing a belly-flop down the chute.