Mercifully the light of Spring is upon us and everything feels easier and lighter although it really isn’t. Compounded sleep deprivation coupled with a baby that keeps changing the game on you, will do wonders for your creativity.
I’ve learned 50 new stories to tell from the same book, new uses for the same old toys and so many different ways to succeed with tasks which threaten not to work. My survival in the land of baby is dependent on two things: having fun and acting normal. The two ultimate Parenting Ninja Skills.
Haven’t slept for more than two consecutive hours for months? Why yes, have a cup of tea dear. Cabin fever? Sure that two hour walk with stops for baby sounds fantastic; fresh air revitalises the soul. Are you at the end of your rope after a few hours of playing while preventing accidents? Go for it! Go to an activity or playgroup even if only for an hour. Does your baby want to nap? Why yes, take that nap. Flexibility – the ability to roll with it, really allows one to go about one’s day with a sense of purpose and good humour.
Don’t underestimate support from your loved ones or even strangers. It’s not always possible to round up a gang of your own friends to attend activities. Keep a list of baby friendly libraries, “öppna forskolor” (even those outside of your area) and children’s activities across different time slots. A list of options helps me think on my feet. While it is good to speak Swedish you will manage quite well without it since Swedes are so good at English anyway. You will also be surprised by the different types of English you’ll hear while you’re out and about. Try not to look too happy.
Places I liked to go with my baby from aged 4 months till now (10 months) and beyond:
Rum för Barn at Kulturhuset
My local Babysång (singing session for babies) run by the local church.
An hour at an öppna forskolan in my area.
Öppna Förskolan Villagatan – I visited there once. Simply beautiful.
Luma Library – comfortable and cosy reading areas plus space for a wandering boy to play
Dieselverkstad – baby song and rhythm classes plus a cosy library with well chewed books.
Junibacken – get an annual adult entrance card – free for children up to the age of two. They have baby sing-along sessions on Tuesday mornings at 09.30.
Andy’s lekland – when it’s empty. A great place to feed a hungry baby, grab a cup of lukewarm coffee and see the delight on your baby’s face in the ball pit.
The Högalid’s Hedgehogs Playgroup – https://thehedgehogsplaygroup.wordpress.com/ (my son LOVES it).
They say that first time parents dutifully do all these activities and see that it is not necessary when they have more. Is this true? Anyway this is not an exhaustive list of what is available and one can enjoy the outdoors more in the Spring and Summer. The benefits of going out to play for both you and your baby outweigh one’s initial discomfort with language and other cultural issues. What could be seen as rude in one culture could be seen as alternative manners in another. Those groups of three or four adults accompanying a baby and taking up all the cosy baby places and lockers are probably part of that village it takes to raise a child. How lucky, for them.
Text: Miss V.
Photography: Karen Perez Guzman, www.1-way-ticket.com.