Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For your listening/viewing pleasure

We are really enjoying our summer. The weather is cool this week, too cool for much swimming but what a nice break from the mid-80F to mid-90F temperatures we had for a couple weeks. It was a little uncomfortable at times with no air conditioning.

The girls have enjoyed having friends over, playing at home and running around with me (I think?).

Thought I'd share two vid's with you. One from our hike the other day near our friends mountain apartment - we love the cowbell's while hiking - and the other from our Terrasse (please ignore my dorky commentary).

As a funny culture commentary, thought I would share the following:

Europe has different views on leaving children unattended than the US does. It is not uncommon, especially in Germany and Switzerland, for parents to put their kids in the hotel room for the night and then go back down to the restaurant or bar for dinner/drinks. Many parents leave their kids at home for an evening while they go out for dinner in town - kids are locked in and the neighbors/friends are aware and will keep a listen or the phone handy.

Part of the comfort is knowing that most houses are unlikely to burn down - most are concrete - and part is that most people live in multi-family homes. Kids are also taught practical self-help skills quite early here - in Kindergarten they are taught basic tool skills (hammer, screw-drivers, etc...) and by 2nd/3rd grade they're out building a fire to roast their brats on.

Not sure that last sentence brings peace of mind to American parents considering leaving their kids alone BUT the alternative is accidents when kids don't know how to do these things properly. OK, getting off-track now.......

We have certainly left our girls alone for various reasons at an earlier age than we might have in the States. Always within their comfort level. In fact, they 'babysat' themselves the other week while we were at dinner with friends moving out of Zurich - during the giant thunderstorm that wreaked havoc. In spite of several phone calls during the evening, they managed themselves well under the circumstances and we were proud of their growing maturity and independence.

I've taken a long time to get to my funny point. I was 'shopping' for an apartment for SkiWeek this next winter and came across the following additional service provided by the owners of the rental:

"child listening services provided"

Made me chuckle. It's a multi-unit chalet in which the owner lives and rents out apartments. On their quiet evenings during which they're watching Swiss News or Curling competitions, they're willing to "listen" for your children while you enjoy a nice Fondue or Pizza for the evening.

Don't think about the "I'd never leave my kids in a place where strangers are 'listening' for them if they're upset." Think about the "how nice it is to live in a place where strangers are willing to 'listen' for my kids(for money of course) and the strangers would not consider being inappropriate when entrusted with the task."

It's not that I would use the service, I just enjoy living in a place where overall, people still feel a sense of personal responsibility and kindergartener's still walk themselves to school.

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