My Double Life as a Parent

Okay, so not really, but sort of. In the states I have certain rules that I follow because they are the rules. Like car seats. Anyone who is my friend in the states knows that I can be a little crazy when it comes to Maisie’s car seat being installed properly. No way would I ever have it any other way. Well, I get to Europe and right away (the first day in Amsterdam) she is riding in the middle seat with a seat belt, no car seat or or booster or anything! And for some reason I tell myself this is okay because the cab driver is allowing me to do it and I don’t know the rules/laws anyways for this sort of thing in Europe. We now have a car seat, but I still don’t have the piece to it that makes the seat belt really tight. :s We don’t really ride in the car that much anyways.  Maybe just once a week.

Today we rode bicycles to the market which is across the city.  Normally, Maisie would be in a bike seat either on the front of the bike or the back, but we don’t yet have all the parts to install it onto a bike. So anyways, Justin put her in The Ergo Baby Carrier on his back and off we went!  It was a pretty cute sight! Another weird European (or Dutch) thing is that nobody here wears helmets.  Not even the kids.  So yeah, Maisie didn’t wear one either. We don’t even have one.

I just find it interesting how when I am in the states, I view things differently than when I am in Europe. Some things seem more okay here than other things. Maybe it is my ignorance of not REALLY understanding the culture and laws or maybe it is just that people here aren’t as driven by fear as us Americans are.  I’m not sure, but it is seriously weird how quickly I can go from car seat psycho to what Americans might think of as a neglecting parent.


  1. Mom on August 30, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    the only thing that bothered me about your post is that we have no pictures accompanying it! you’re such a ‘go with the flow’ mama, jen. not altogether a bad thing, given the amount of times you’ve moved in your parenting life! 🙂

  2. Svest on August 30, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    I agree with mom! I was hoping to see a picture of Justin and Maisie on the bike.
    yeah, I like this post. It goes back to “When in Rome do as the Romans do” Or in your case “When in Holland, Do as the Dutch do”.

  3. eva on August 31, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Spaniards think I am really uptight, because I don’t let Arianna sit in smoke-filled rooms.. I guess I am uptight, but for a very good reason! I also have a very different idea about schedules: I try to put Ari to bed early enough, whereas most Spanish kids don’t have a strict schedule.

    The laws regarding baby/toddler car-seats are actually pretty strict in Holland. The seats have to be in a specific place; depending on whether it is a baby- or toddler seat. And on whether the car has airbag or not. I guess it must be different for taxi-rides, though. It’s true, not having the helmet is actually kind of dangerous, especially with how intense the traffic is. I always thought it was strange in the US, that all the bikers had helmets, because I was used to bike-riding without one. I guess bike-riding in Holland is considered safer because there are specific bike-paths, and the country is so flat??? But plenty of accidents do happen..

    Enjoy life there- I sure miss it!

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