By: Blonde Two
I find it satisfying (although maybe a bit cruel) as my own children have grown, to sit in a cafe, drinking my hot coffee and watch other people dealing with their offspring whilst their’s goes cold. I don’t feel bad about this, twenty or so year’s ago, whilst others my age were experiencing the freedom of university, I spent a whole decade being the size of a whale and breastfeeding. In fact, I believe I missed the 1990’s altogether in a happy blur of nappies, washing lines and earth-motherliness.
Mr Blonde Two and I have been denied this pleasure to some degree here in Austria because the children here seem so happy and well behaved. In fact, today, as we watched some play whilst their parents lounged, I found myself wishing a bit for my own little ones (this never happens).
There have to be reasons for this set of remarkably good humoured youngsters, here are a couple of Blonde theories;
1. All of the kids that we have seen on this holiday have been out marching or cycling up hills so steep that they present me with a challenge. They stride ahead of their (equally happy and fit) parents carrying their own backpacks and supported by their own miniature walking poles. If this is not an advert for getting kids out exercising, providing opportunities for families to get fit together and (for heaven’s sake will someone in the government listen) encouraging instead of marginalising outdoor activity in schools (allow me to say that one more time – encouraging instead of marginalising outdoor activity in schools) then I don’t know what is.
2. It would appear the the Austrians are far better at providing good quality outdoor entertainment for their young ones than we are. By good quality here, I mean activities that will encourage exploration, things that will encourage them to try new physical experiences and even just little incentives that will keep them walking from a to b. On our walks so far we have seen (all free); a wood full of strange gnomes peeping out from behind the trees … climbing frames, an old tractor to play on, climbing nets, a snow park (3000 metres) … giant scooters, water shoots emerging from the hillside, barefoot walks with different surfaces and yesterday my favourite, an alpine (at 2000 metres) water park with ponds, dams, fountains and a fabulous raft. What child could possibly be unhappy or refuse to walk with such motivating opportunities? What parent would wish to deny their children these things? What Blonde could resist playing with most of them? (Not this one!)