One of my very first memories is from kindergarten. To this day, I vividly remember the pattern on the gate I was railing against with my tiny palms as I wailed for my mommy to come back and get me. The place wasn’t very far from our home at the time—probably half a block away—but it felt really far away. Being cooped up in there had this really isolating feeling, like there was no escape. And even if you could get away, there was no point in trying.
My next memory from kindergarten is falling for my class-teacher at the time. For the life of me I can’t remember her name, but I can’t forget the sweet smile on her adorable face as I presented to her today’s little trinket. Each day, my tiny hands would painfully fashion for her a necklace or a pendant or some other trifle out of multi-coloured clay, hoping today would be the day I finally won her over.
But that’s a story for another day. For the purposes of today’s tale, I need you to imagine how isolating and unfun my kindergarten experience might have been.
It’s a common sight whenever I am out. Groups of teeny-tiny tots excitedly hobbling around and being prammed about town by their kindergarten teachers. Their cute little faces all smiling and wide-eyed; their brightly coloured clothes easily keeping them in view; their fluorescent name tags having printed on them big, bold contact info, should they still manage to wander off.
Sun or rain or snow, it doesn’t matter. Spend a couple of days in Oslo and this is a sight you’re guaranteed to run into. And it’s not just kiddies from school. The number of people pushing their (freakishly huge) prams around as they go about their days is just astounding. The Scandinavian trait of spending so much of their time outdoors is passed onto their kids when they are really young. And I think this is a very good thing.
Seeing the spring in the step of the tots leads me to believe it would’ve been pretty cool to go to kindergarten here. Spending all my time singing and playing and being carted around town sounds a hell of a lot more fun than wasting my days on those fucking pre-alphabet squiggles. I think I wouldn’t have felt so isolated, and actually realised how many fun and colourful things there were going on outside.
At least, I wouldn’t have been bored out of my mind.