Last weekend I was on the bus with my kids on the way home from a museum. Niko loves sitting in the high up seats where he can get a good view of the traffic, but I prefer to keep Odin strapped into the stroller because the boy is dang menace.
On this particular day, the bus became fairly quiet and there were lots of seats open, so I told Niko to jump up there and have a seat. It was close enough that I was sort of standing in the middle of the stroller and the seat and could keep a good eye on both of my kids.
Nikes sat there with his blanks, looking out the window, and happily swinging his legs, thumping them back against his seat. I didn’t think of it until a lady at the other end of the bus started yelling at him, “Stop kicking your legs! It’s not ok to sit and kick your legs on the bus! Does this child have no parents here?!”
I turned around – I was between him and her – and said yes of course he has parents on the bus and his parent was me, but she just ignored me.
I could tell that Niko was a bit upset and shot him a look that said don’t worry about it. When we got off the bus, I asked him if he was ok and he said he was sad, so we talked about how sometimes people are just grumps and we can’t let it bug us.
He hadn’t done anything wrong in my eyes. He was at the very front of his section, so he wasn’t kicking anyone else’s seat, and really wasn’t making a lot of noise. The lady who yelled at him was sitting well away from him, and was wearing big over-the-ear headphones, so I have a hard time believing she was really affected by a little bit of foot thumping by a three-year-old boy.
I’m VERY anxious about my kids disturbing people, so am hyper vigilant about them doing annoying things like kicking seats, and really didn’t think this was anything to get in a twitch about.
Still, a full week has gone by and I’m still bothered by it. Why? Because my Swedish skills aren’t good enough to have gone all mamma bear on this cranky old hag.
I feel like I failed to properly protect my child, even as small of a thing as it was.
I mean, I *could* have just done my best in Swedish. I could have taken it in English and assumed she was one of the 90% of Swedes who speak excellent English. But the language thing created a lack of confidence in me.
I know that situations like these will increase as my kids get older, do more activities, and are exposed to more people.
What will I do if they’re bullied? How will I respond if there is a conflict at school or at a sporting event? When they have friends over, how will I deal with that? Will I be able to help them with their homework?
So I suppose I feel the time has come to put my head down and move my Swedish skills from “functionally fluent” to actually for real legit fluent. Fluent enough to get into a fight with a lady on the bus if I need to.
Just one more thing to pile onto my to-do list.
Question: where do you eat lunch? At your desk? In a lunch room with colleagues? Out somewhere?
Starting contracts at two new offices has reminded me how introverted I can be at times. I’d be happiest just quietly eating my lunch at my desk and getting stuff done, but the Swedish office culture is very serious about pausing for lunch.
More than that, while my preference is to just eat straight from the lunch container I packed my lunch in (related: 10 Lunch Packing Tips) but the norm here is to transfer your lunch to a proper plate (why wash another dish?!) heat it up, and then sit and have a nice social lunch.
It’s a healthier approach, really, on many levels. It gets you away from your computer, moving a bit, and has a social aspect built into it. But you know what? I don’t like it! Especially when I’m somewhere new.
I have, however, put on my big girl pants and marched myself into the lunch room each and every day, albeit timing things so I’m taking a bit of a late lunch when the social crowd is starting to dwindle. And packing my lunch instead of going out is not only saving money, but it’s how I eat up all the food I made when I’m recipe testing for the blog.
I won a couple of photo backdrops from my favourite producer, and since the Swedish post office is a giant pain in the ass (for so many reasons, I could fill a book with my grievances) they send all packages to your local post outlet. Mine is about a 15 minute walk away, so getting some bigger packages home can be a bit of a challenge.
The boys and I went and brought this enormous and heavy package home balanced on the side of the stroller. Niko is really into opening packages, especially if he gets to wield the scissors (omg, so nerve wracking). Opening these was fun, and then he lost his ever-loving mind when he realized that the boards were not for him.
He wants to pretend they’re TVs, he says.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This week I kicked things off with a reboot of my favourite Thanksgiving dessert: Naturally Sweetened Pumpkin Pie. I’m extra excited about this one because, not only is it delicious, but there’s an actual cooking video in the post!
Next up, an update of my Amazing Vegan Gravy. This stuff is legit delicious, and if you’re looking for vegetarian gravy for thanksgiving dinner or any other gravy occasion, this is the one!
And last but not least, since it’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, I pulled together a complete Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu. This includes a protein-packed main dish, four sides, and, of course, dessert. There’s also a printable grocery list to make things easier!
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
1. Homemade Pumpkin Purée. This one is hot hot hot right now!
2. Turmeric Latte Mix. Mmmmmhmm.
3. Is Popcorn Healthy? The people want answers!
4. Cinnamon Roasted Apples. So easy and delicious!
5. Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps. A fan favourite!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Emily left this comment and 5-star review on my Vegan Lentil Loaf recipe:
Yuuuuuuum. Made this today for dinner and it was amazing. So tasty, cannot wait for leftovers!!
The leftovers are the best part, you guys. You gotta try this lentil loaf!
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB