Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stockholm Fun Times

Three months in, I figured it was time to pick my Top 3 times in Sweden so far…

3) Wrestlemania I – You know who loves himself some ‘rasslin?  Me.  But you know who ELSE loves himself some ‘rasslin?  Our little one-year old Hulk Hogan!

I came back from work the other day needing to take over parenting duties from Lis so that she could join a work call.  When I walked in (a little late), she was already on her computer in the living room, so I brought Calvin into the bedroom to give her a little bit of quiet. 

Shockingly, that backfired when “somehow”, I ended up giving him a body slam.  He started laughing and giggling so much that instead of walking around the bed like I had expected, we started pinning each other, tossing each other in the air and flipping every which way (always supporting the neck and head!).  A lot of attack tickles and raspberries were given out as well, obviously.

The game had to come to an initial end when I realized that, rather than letting Lisa work in peace and quiet, I had caused Calvin to shriek non-stop for 15-20 minutes.  Anytime you have to stop doing something because of too much baby-laughin, I chalk that up to a successful day.

2) Hookie! – I don’t know if you remember from earlier blogs, but Swedes (collectively), take a week off in February to go skiing.  We hadn’t known about this, so we were home, but with the whole office gone, it gave me a lot of freedom.  I was able to take off the Wed morning of that week, and go see what my peoples had been doing every day.  Lisa was always telling me about her open-daycare experiences, so I was hyped for some good ole Swedish sing-a-longs.  The one we went to that day, (a Calvin-favorite), was close by, and I think was a little more open then usual (due to skiing).  The three of us were able to bang toys together, get into crawl-chases and steal toys from other kids – well, I did two out of three of these at least.  The singing was really solid too – a lot of props (parachutes, maracas, etc) and interactive fun. Seeing how much fun Calvin was having, and knowing that Lisa and he were able to do this almost every day of the week was really great.  Got me just a littttle bit jealous, I’m not going to lie.   This was definitely an experience unique to Sweden, and one of my first experiences with seeing the “kid-friendly” culture here up close.  I was able to get to work at the end of lunch and pick up right where I left off – I definitely get used to morning playtimes and half days! 

1)  Secular Religious Holidays! – One thing I love about Sweden is that they are completely secular (a church blog post is in my queue), yet they also use any reason they can to not work.  Enter a four day Easter weekend!  I had a whole row to myself in church that Sunday, but that didn’t mean that folks weren’t going to take the opportunity to go to their summer homes Friday and Monday (and possibly Thursday as well).  With this “bonus” day, we decided to really take advantage.  So when Calvin got up at 6am and we realized it was a gorgeous day, we packed up him and the dogs and went for a long walk.  Grabbed some coffee, looked at the boats in the water and pretty much circled the island.  We ended up trading the dogs for some stale bread when we walked by our apartment at some point, and then it was on to feed the ducks.  The park close to us is a duck-feeding mecca, so I had been pretty hyped up about this for awhile.  Especially with the nice day, it was great getting some sun, and Calvin liked having the birds so close (he REALLY likes animals now, so this is probably something we need to do again soon).  From there, we did a 15 minute, impromptu photo shoot on the park bench, cause well, he was bringing his A-game.  We walked around the park for awhile again before we found a little beach where we hung out for a bit.  At this point, homeboy’s schedule was pretty out of whack, and his stroller nap didn’t give him exactly what he wanted.  So he was getting a little antsy, and we decided to walk home.  On the way, we found a new playground – and figured that he could wait a little bit (Daddy needed to get his swing on).  We spent about 30 minutes or so trying out the swings, the bouncy-horses and the treehouse-gym that they had set up.  We also used the big tire swing, with me laying down across it and him on my chest.  He loved it, giggling and smiling, and gave me a big ole baby hug as he held on tight.  I translated the hug as “thanks for having the day off pops, I’m excited that we had such a fun morning and love hanging out with my folks on a random Monday morning”.  (I'm pretty much fluent in baby-talk by now)

Looking at my list, I realized that nothing about this was overtly Swedish – nothing to do with the viking ships, cross country skiing or frolicking with reindeer – but at least 2 out of 3 would likely not have happened without the great work-life balance and family-friendly infrastructure that exists out here. Definitely makes me appreciate everything we have out here, and gets me excited to see what the next three months bring!

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