The Summer of Infant Travel is complete and autumn has arrived in Oslo. I know this because (1) it’s raining and (2) the skoposer have appeared. “Skoposer” (literally, “shoe bags”) are blue plastic shoe covers that are placed inside the doorway of nearly every building you enter in Norway. They look like this:
(Note that not all places have such fancy application devices for your skoposer. Usually it’s just a basketful of blue bags that you apply manually…)
Everywhere you go – coffee shops, office buildings, even the gym – you’re expected to stop and slip the skoposer over your shoes before trailing your wet, slimy mess into the corridors. This is important because (1) it’s raining and (2) Norwegians don’t care.
Seriously – Norwegians are fearless about the weather. Rain or shine, they’re outside. There’s a famous saying in Norway that everyone learns as soon as they step off the plane: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” I’ve been hearing this for nearly three years, but I’m still the stupid American wearing ballet flats in the rain when everyone else is in ponchos and wellie boots.
A case in point this rainy Monday morning. The Svendsen family awoke to a smiling, happy baby at 8am (yeah! more about that next time….) and promptly dashed through our usual morning rituals before baby swimming class. Per and I were the chumps who drove three minutes to the pool and then spent 10 minutes looking for parking rather than schlepping through the rainstorm. Trust me, we were the minority. Within minutes, the entire entrance hall was filled with families in all assortment of rain gear. Parents covered in plastic ponchos wearing plastic boots and maneuvering plastic-wrapped baby strollers. No matter what the weather, those babies were going to swimming class gosh darn it.
And of course, right inside the entrance — the large basket of blue skoposer. My first of the season. It brought back memories of my last skoposer experience five months ago when I had to struggle over my enormous baby bump and reach my feet. Now I’ve joined the legions of mommies pushing their plastic bubbles around Oslo. (And yes – I’m finally on the hunt for a good pair of wellies to fit inside my skoposer. In case you have any suggestions….)
Today’s photo album has snippets from Per Christian’s recent baby swimming classes. His reactions to the water have varied from sheer joy to absolute misery, all captured for me to proudly share during my CNN interview after my son upsets Michael Phelps’ world records. This will of course happen.
Enjoy, and stay dry!