We’re Basically Norwegian Now

My plans to move our family in a more minimalistic direction have been hijacked by Norway.  No doubt about it, we are under seige.  Enemy forces from the north have surrounded us and cut off all supply routes.  They infiltrated our troops and took us down from within.  Here’s what a Norwegian home invasion looks like:


Here’s a completely fabricated statistic for you:  Norwegians own 10 – 15 times more gear than their average American counterparts.  At the same time, houses tend to have fewer closets and less storage space than typical American homes.  And that leads me to the question that if Norwegians have all this gear, where do they put it?

Let me offer a quick primer on rain gear.  Kindergarten children (here, that means ages 1-5) are required to keep the following rain gear at school:


Rubber jacket, pants, boots and mittens

That’s a set per kid, but if you plan on being in the rain outside of school hours, you’ll need a separate set to keep at home.


Which is why I have 4.

And then there’s the winter gear.

You know, when we moved to Norway, I read about these year-round, outdoor-only kindergartens called barneparks where crazy Norwegians sent their kids during the day. This is what a crazy Norwegian looks like:

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And here is the crazy Norwegian’s child at a barnepark:


In the raindress


In the winterdress after 4 hours in 10ºF

I pick him up with mud smeared on his cheeks and all over his outerwear.  He is potentially the happiest kid in the world and bonus, he’s never once complained of the cold.  Inside, he is dry, toasty and happy.

Speaking of winter layers, here’s the run down:

  1. Skin-tight wool layer (don’t you dare try to get away with cotton)
  2. Fleece layer
  3. Waterproof shell layer known as the winterdress
  4. Then wool hat and wool socks and fleece neckwarmer and Goretex mittens and insulated rubber boots, then stirrups over the boots, then adjust Goretex mittens, adjust mittens again, then “for crying out loud, the mitten is fine!”

The winterdress itself is potentially the most genius thing that has come out of Scandinavia. It’s plastered with reflectors for the dark days.  It has stirrups at the feet that go over the boots and keep snow out.  It’s the impenetreble force field that allows kids to roll in the mud, flail on the melting ice, and essentially sit in water without consequence.

As much as I loathe the gear, I love it in equal measure.  It gets us outdoors more often and for longer periods.  It’s been our salvation during the cold, dark rainy season.  It’s the thing that prompted me to look up at the stars exclaim, “i love the cold!”

I think what I meant to say is that I’m never actually cold anymore.  That’s basically the same thing, right?