Cultural differences, part 3
Last year I already wrote two blogs about cultural differences, and today I decided to write part three. I got the idea through a post on Facebook from another foreign lady who lives here with her Slovenian husband. She gave her son a cup of ice-cold water to drink. Nothing strange for me. We always keep all our drinks cold, and our children have always drunk cold drinks from an early age. Especially in the summer. Milk, water, soft drinks… everything is always cold. When my Slovenian family and friends saw that, they almost had a heart attack! That is just really »not done« here. Small children should absolutely not drink cold drinks, not even water. Not even in the summer. Everything should be at least at room temperature, but preferably lukewarm. The reason? They get strep throat when they drink something cold :).
I had to laugh heartily at that. In the Netherlands, we give our children ice cream or an ice cube when they have a sore throat or after their tonsils have been pulled, haha. The Slovene moms don’t understand this.
There is also a considerable difference between the Netherlands and Slovenia when it comes to dressing (small) children. We put our children in the same amount of clothes as we do ourselves. In the summer shorts/dresses/shirts, also for babies. During the winter, of course, a sweater with a warm jacket when we go outside. In my opinion, the children are really wrapped up way too thickly here. Especially babies and toddlers. Lexi was born in the middle of the summer, on July 15. Now it is always very warm in a hospital anyway, but in the middle of summer, with outside temperatures of 30+ degrees, even more. Yet, the nurses put her in two long-sleeved baby suits on top of each other! Poor kid. Once home, I quickly put her in a nice t-shirt with short sleeves :).
I remember once when I went to the hospital with her for a check-up. This was in October, and it was a sunny day, around 15 degrees, so I just put Lexi in pants and a long-sleeved shirt with a normal jacket. The children had to be undressed in the waiting room, so the mother next to us started to undress her baby as well. I watched her doing so and was amazed. First of all, the baby was wearing a ski suit! Underneath a sweater, underneath that a shirt and under the pants also thick tights. Really horrible. The child was crying a lot, which I didn’t think was strange. He must have been really hot. And because of all those layers of clothing, it probably could barely move.
Once in the winter, when I went outside with Lexi in the stroller, I was actually afraid that someone would call child protection services on me. Yes, it was winter and cold, but it was a beautiful sunny day and there was no wind. I didn’t have a hat on (I never have) and I didn’t put one on Lexi either. Gee, you should have seen those faces of the people walking by. I was even approached by a complete stranger that asked me why Lexi didn’t have a cap on. She was completely outraged. Well, this is also a clear cultural difference. Here, all small children wear tights under their trousers from mid-September on, rain or shine. Lexi was only wearing tights under a dress :). I think Larsen once had one that I put on when we went skiing or sledding. Otherwise, never.
I can say that my children have never been sick. Still not. They have a cold once a year or have a sore throat or earache for a few days. That’s about it. In Slovenia, I always hear a lot of people complain that their children are constantly ill or have a cold, angina, or an ear infection. That’s why I still advocate the »Dutch« way ;). Let’s just say that everyone does his own thing :).