Friday, July 20, 2007

Learning to live the good life at a young age.

This morning, I got up and went to a cafe to start studying for finals tomorrow. While I was there reading the course materials, two different families came in with their young children. The first was a young couple who had an infant (probably 8-9 months old) in a stroller. The second was a lady and her friend who had a 19 month old boy. A couple of observations of Dutch child rearing thus far...

They don't seem obsessed with germs. No anti-bacterial wipes, no boiling the bottles. The infant dropped his pacifier on the floor. The dad picked it up, put it in his own mouth to clean it off and gave it back to his son. Now, that's an immunity builder for sure.

When the lady with the 19 month old ordered her coffee, she also ordered a drink for her son. When his came out, it was a little demi-tasse cup with a saucer - in glass. No sippy cups or plastic cups with straws. I mentioned it to the lady how remarkable it was - that in America one would not likely see a child served with an open cup, let alone a glass cup with a saucer. But he didn't spill, even at such a young age.

The other thing I've noticed is that Dutch children are very well-behaved in public. No screaming, no tantrums. I'm sure they have them. I just haven't witnessed one. If a child does start getting upset, the parents take the child outside immediately instead of having the entire restaurant witness them trying to reason with their child. The other thing I've noticed is that the Dutch don't really reprimand their children, but instruct them instead. No, "I told you not to XYZ!" but rather, "You need to XYZ."

I wish I had gotten the picture of the 19 month old with his little coffee cup. It was remarkable.

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