3/25/15

#SwedeInMadrid: Turning a perfect Spaniard into a Swede

A kid screamed very loud. So loud that my Spanish colleague and I turned away from our dinner at Kista Galleria in Stockholm (we were on a business trip together) to see what the screaming was all about. Then we heard a parent scream back in Chinese.
We both turned back to continue eating. My colleague said:
"When we lived in Sweden (he and his famly lived in Sweden for 3 years) my wife and I noticed that whenever we heard loud kids in Sweden, they weren't Swedish. We always wondered how Swedes could get their kids so quiet."
Well, since I am Swedish and have three kids I know a lot about that.

Our youngest son Lukas talks more than the rest of the family combined. And he is loud. Already when he was very small my husband and I would tell him:
"Sh! We are right here, there is no need to scream. We can hear you anyway." 

We also showed him the volume button on the radio in the car and suggested he turned down his own volume button when he talked. (He did inform us that this was not always possible since his button was stuck on max...)

He also tends to interrupt. If I am talking to our middle-son Samuel, Lukas may come running and yell:
"Mummy, mummy, mummy, at school I..."
And I will tell him (not once or twice but over and over again):
"Wait a second Lukas, right now I am talking to Samuel. You need to wait a bit."
Then, when it is his turn to talk he talks. And talks and talks.
"Then this happened and then that and do you want to know how this works? If you unscrew this first and then that, look mummy, look!"

There is usually no end. So if someone else wants to talk to me, for instance our oldest son Sebastian, I tell Lukas to take a break now and then so someone else gets an opportunity to talk.

After a few months in Spain I had an insight. I told my husbandy:

"You know what we are doing? By telling Lukas to talk softly, wait for his turn when talking and leaving space for others to talk, we are trying to turn a perfect Spaniard into a Swede!" 

If we just let our Lukas be, he will integrate a lot better than the rest of us who still stand there waiting for our turn in a conversation. A turn that is as likely to happen in a conversation with a Spaniard as getting a slot in the traffic without pushing (after having lived here for some nine months this has yet to happen.)

Who knows, maybe now that we live in Madrid, Lukas feels more at home than ever.


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