We are in the 26th week over here. Not much to report. The glucose test is done, and as long as I don’t hear anything from the doc between now and Sunday I’m in the clear. Here’s hoping for no diabeetus which will prevent me from eating all the delicious holiday treats…and generally be a real drag.
Speaking of treats….We wandered over to the Charlottenburg Weihnachtsmarkt for my favorite Christmas market treat: Baumstriezel! Well, it’s not a traditional German treat, it’s from the Hungarian speaking world, and the original name is Kürtoskalacs. Anyway, it’s dough wrapped around a cone, cooked on a spit, and rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside…it’s divine.
Now instead of international food, I want to look at International parenting.
I just finished French Kids Don’t Throw Food written by American expat, Pamela Druckerman, who lives in Paris with her three kids and British husband. I found lots to identify with, compare and wonder about. Plus, the book got me thinking about German parenting vs. French parenting vs. American parenting. The Germans and the French seem to align quite a bit.
For example, early childhood education is totally play-based. There’s no rush on numbers or reading or anything like that. Instead, kids are encouraged to play, socialize, and learn self-reliance. In both places, Anglo parents are shocked when they hear their 5 year olds have a week long sleep-away trip. And no, you can’t come supervise, or call your kid. German kitas have also been known to have strict rules about lingering goodbyes during drop-off. Teachers are keen for parents to make a hasty exit so the kids settle down faster. Kids are encouraged to self regulate much earlier on, and helicopter parenting is a no-no. Parents don’t chase after their kids on the playgrounds. There is an understanding that children are beloved, but life does not completely revolve around the “child king”.
Where the Germans and the French diverge seems to be food and sleep. Apparently, french babies are “doing their nights” or sleeping through the night by 2-4 months. German sleep wisdom seems to be more of the wait till they’re 6 months old before sleep training variety. I don’t really know what the prevailing wisdom in the U.S. as it seems to be all over the place. Some kids sleep early, some don’t sleep through till well past the first year.
The other difference is food. Kids are introduced to a variety of complex tastes in French kita like carrots in vinaigrette and camembert cheese. German kid food seems to be a bit more…simple…but then, so is German adult food. Wurst and potatoes. That sounds a lot more like the old U.S. chicken tenders and fries.
Deutschland ist Kinderunfreundlich?
Germany has possibly the lowest birth rate in the world, though you wouldn’t know it in Berlin where strollers are EVERYWHERE. Lucky for us, it also means that the government goes out of its way to encourage and help you on the baby train. However, getting the German people to go along has been a challenge. In a study done a couple of years ago, europeans were asked to rate how kid-friendly their country was, and Germany came in dead last. The government has had to launch campaigns encouraging its citizens to be more kid friendly. I can see why when in 2011, a young mom with a 3 month old was kicked off a bus in early March (aka still freezing time) because her crying baby was bothering two old ladies. In 2010, Berlin became the first German state to legislate child sounds like crying, laughing, and the sounds of kids playing at Kita as “acceptable noise”. Germany has very strict noise laws during afternoons, nights and Sundays. But luckily now the sound of kids at play at 2pm will be treated like an emergency siren. And despite hundreds of complaints about kita noise each year, the laws have made it easier to open up a kita in a residential area. Old complainers be damned. We shall see how our neighbors deal with a screaming newborn in a few months.
Then cruising around the internet I came across the good old Finnish approach which you may have heard about. Every Finnish mother is given a box filled with clothes and products that a newborn will need. Plus, the box becomes baby’s bassinet! The boxes have been credited with dramatically dropping the infant mortality rate, plus they’re a nice little nod to equality because every single baby sleeping in the same cardboard box.
Here’s what came in the package for 2015:
She was INCREDIBLE. So much hippie dippie stage presence, and then that powerhouse voice.
She encouraged people to sit on shoulders, take off a piece of clothing and wave it around like a flag, and we even saw an engagement on stage! The two ladies were so excited, and Florence seemed genuinely moved.
And other than that… my sister’s bebe keeps on getting cuter.
Can’t wait to hug her little bear cub the Little Powers .
Just a few more days!