Sweden is a small country. Stockholm, for all its beauty and international renown, is a relatively small city, with a population just below that of Kansas City (going by wider metro area).
So when one diaper company, say Libero, decides to flood hospitals around Stockholm with new baby bags, you notice. You notice because in those baby bags is a flower made by Lamaze. It is a good flower, with a smiling face and lots of colors and textures and a ribbon or two. It crinkles when you hold it, and has a solid plastic hook for strollers or baby seats.
It is such a good flower that you think you might be obsessed with it. Did I just see it there? And there?
For the flower hangs from every stroller rolling down the sidewalk. Every baby born in Sweden in 2009 will have this flower in common, burned into their earliest consciousness, whether they are wearing Libero diapers or not.
This uniformity is not possible in America, where even in our little town of Port Jervis, people drove all over, into New Jersey, into Pennsylvania, into New York City to have their babies.
But in Stockholm, fashions sweep through town, one day every woman seemingly wearing the same new scarf tied the same new way.
Or, in my life, every baby grabs for the same new flower. Or two. We got two.