Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

I took the Kid* out yesterday for some shopping and general merriment. Yesterday it was chilly…ish. To put it in perspective, I was wearing a t-shirt with a sweater. Now, I have noticed from the beginning of my time here in Norway that I dressed in quite a few layers less than everyone else. I attribute it mainly to the fact that my ‘outside time’ was comprised of a walk from the house to the car and from the car to the office. Who needs Helly Hensen when your skin is exposed to air for approximately 30 seconds a day?

Fast forward to now, where I often find hauling the Kid and all his Kid gear into the car more hassle than it’s worth. It’s a lot easier to just sling the stroller down the stairs of the house and hit the road. But yesterday we were venturing further afield so we loaded up in the car.

When we walked into the shopping center, I started eyeing up the other babies. I do this as a mental check. You learn from watching, and I always like to see what other moms are doing. It either makes me realize I am the worst mother ever and must repent to the great Fisher Price in the sky, or it makes me feel like a maternal rock star that should be duly rewarded with chocolate. I noticed that the Kid had a significant difference from the other babies (other than his abundance of hair, but that’s another issue). The other kids were BUNDLED UP. I would guess it was in the mid-50’s (the car temperature said 15 C, but sometimes the Volvo lies like a drunken sailor, so we can never be sure). These kids looked like they were ready to hit the slopes.

Norway kids:
My Kid:

I am sure you can see the disparity.

An American friend who experienced motherhood for the first time here in Norway used to say that people were constantly hassling her about the fact that her baby wasn’t dressed warmly enough. I get it now. People around me seemed surprised that Kid was in a cotton one piece (there were socks involved, too, if that makes it any better).

Here’s my theory: I am from a hot place. Not like traipsing across the sun hot, but pretty darn hot nonetheless. I never owned a coat myself until I moved to Scotland in my mid-twenties. Gloves and scarves and hats… didn’t ever need them until my third decade of life. So when I picture what a baby wears, it involves cute footed PJ’s and little t-shirts with matching socks**. Snow suits never enter the picture.

So today I am headed back to the same baby shop, intent on getting a grip on why wool is wow and the finer points of layering. I am beginning to suspect that the ‘fashion’ hats I purchased at Baby Gap are not actually suitable winter wear. Nor will slapping a onesie under any outfit somehow winterize it.

I am going to try my best to get on board with the bundling up brotherhood, though, as winter is a comin’ and I don’t want the baby to go all popsicle on me. That’d be an embarrassing facebook status update.
* Soooo…. here’s the deal. I have tried really hard not to descend into the realms of being a ‘mommy blogger’ as that's a pretty drenched market of people that are both funnier and mommier than me, but the truth is, being a mommy is the main thing I’ve got going on at the mo. So I’m going to break my own rule and share a little from time to time about the us and them differences I see as a new parent here in Norway.
** Really, when ‘where I’m from’ pops into my head, I think of babies in nothing but diapers running around a yard with chickens in the background, but even that’s a bridge too far for me. It’s not even that I have ever seen a baby doing such a thing, but perhaps I am buying into stereotypes of my own people as it’s been too long since I’ve been home for a visit. Husband, take note, unless you want your baby buddying up to poultry.