the silence of open preschool and sweden in general

It gets quiet in Daddyland because Daddyland is in Sweden, and Sweden is not a loud place.

It gets especially quiet, and I get especially quiet, at open preschool – the public-funded play place for parents on leave with their kids.

It seems more quiet this second time around.  This is partially me, in that I have lost most of my desire to talk about baby puke, diapers, sleep, teething and the like.

And that is all anyone talks about at open preschool.  It is truly like you left the world behind when you went on parental leave – you have no job, you have no politics, you do not care about the Olympics or sports or that magazine article you just read.

But even the baby conversations are sporadic.  Mostly, people are quiet, cooing with their kids.  Maybe.

The guys are especially quiet.  I love living in Daddyland, but sometimes I do wish Daddyland was not filled with so many Swedish men.

They are simply hard to get through to.

And it is not just me, and it is not just a language barrier.  See a post by the Hairy Swede here.

Lots of people say this is because Swedes are shy. I say that. Lots of people say it is because Sweden is somewhat of an insular country. I say that. Lots of people say it is because Swedes make friends at early ages and that’s who they stick with. I say that. But still.

Let’s just say moving to Sweden and making a friend, isn’t always easy.

I do understand that this is what I get for being an immigrant, that this Swedish silence does not reflect on their souls, that it is born of climate and culture and history.

But then yesterday I walked into the kitchen at open preschool and saw a mom I know.  There was an empty baby seat so I moved towards it.  This guy – whose kid had gotten up and left the table – glanced at me, moved the baby seat away, glanced at me again, and went on talking to the mom.

I seethed, mostly because it was not an unusual interaction.

And got more quiet.


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