Leave your baby outside please | Welcome to Norway


Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

 A few years back

During my first winter in Norway

I saw a baby left outside on a cold winter day

I stopped

I looked all around me nervously

The mother* was nowhere to be found

A baby was left alone on the sidewalk

It was less than a year old

As I was approaching to see if it was still alive

Two women came out of the coffeshop next door

One looked at me suspiciously 

She did not smile nor said anything

She came closer

She looked at the baby

She then took the stroller with the baby inside

And walked away

Without saying anything

I did not know what to do

I assumed it was the mother

I stayed there looking at the woman walking away with the baby

Did she really leave her baby outside while having a coffee with her friend?

I thought Norway had governmental institutions which made sure children were treated well

I called my own mother** to tell her the story

She smiled and said that my grandmother did the same with her when she was a baby

My grandmother just turned 95 years old

It was common long ago in Canada to leave babies outside unattended

My grandmother said that it was good for them to breath fresh air

My mother said she would have liked to do the same with my brother and I

But it felt unsafe in Canada at the time I was born and the tradition stopped

Norway is a safe country

People are highly trustful

It is a place where babies can get used to the winter realities from the very start

Where they can get used to enjoying being alone

In the cold and in the dark

This is good as Norwegian winters are rather intense

Half of the country is plunged into darkness for several months

With temperature below 0C for half the year

If you see a baby left outside in the cold

This is normal

The mother or father are probably next door

Nothing will happen to it

And it will grow up to become a strong Norwegian 

Norwegians love physical pain and suffering

Babies need to get use to it early

Norwegians just leave them outside under freezing temperature

The government finds this acceptable 

And no one reacts to it

--

Read more about our amazing Norwegian friends in Our Social Guidebooks to Norway 

 

 

By Julien S. Bourrelle

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