Monday, August 31, 2009

Whatever the reason, DO NOT BE LATE

Oh boy...One thing I've noticed since moving to this country is that Swedes are chronically ON TIME. If you're having a party, like we did for hubby this weekend and tell guests the party starts at 7pm, the guests either arrive at 6:45pm or right on the nose at 7pm. So my usual buffer of "casually late" which I've become accustomed to in North America is gone. This is not so much a problem for me, really. But my chronically-late husband needs to get his ass in gear.

So my poor son has been sick with a cold since Friday. No fever. Just a runny nose. They called from his school to suggest that I pick him up early. And sure enough, hubby and I both fell ill after our party guests left Saturday night. Today is Monday and time for school. After gauging that Joe was just fine, save for a runny nose, it was off to school for him. Last night I decided we were sleeping in. No waking up at 7am to get him to school for 8am. In fact, we woke up at 8am and my plan was to call the school (like a good and respectful parent) to advise them Joe would be late.

I proceed to explain to the teacher that answered the outdoor phone, to which she replied, clearly aghast, "Oh no, what happened?" I was not expecting that kind of What-terrible-thing-could-have-happened-to-prevent-you-from-respecting-the-rules-and-being-on-time reaction so I blubber, "Son's sick, I'm sick and we slept in". I then had to backpeddle a bit to explain that son was actually feeling better (really, he's well enough to come to school, I swear). "Oh, I think you should speak to Anna" (the boss).

I had composed myself again, apologized, but my son would be late. He would arrive at 9:15am. "Oh...well...you know that the children are inside at that time and that you will be interrupting things. Please make sure we make eye contact before you leave. That's very important."

Suddenly sleeping in didn't seem like a good idea anymore.

So we show up at 9:15am (on time, the new time that is). Of course, son had expected to walk down the rock path to join the children in the park and was visibly upset the routine had changed and we were going inside instead. I am not stupid. I do realize that this change of routine would impact him. But in my defense, I had planned to make it on time for the park drop-off and blame my boss for calling me with a work emergency that delayed the "getting ready for school routine". Anyway, I drag him inside and Anna comes over to greet us as the other children look on. She, of course, notices son is a bit "out of sorts".

"The reason for your lateness doesn't concern me," she states, "Please remember that it is extremely important to follow the routine and that your son is confused now because the routine was broken."

"Yes, I realize that," I try to explain. "It was a bad morning."
"I'm sure it was," she said. "But please try to be on time."

Translation: Dear Bad Mother, Get your lazy ass out of bed in the morning and get your son to school on time.

4 comments:

septembermom said...

I think she could have been more understanding. I didn't know that Swedes are so concerned with being on time. They should see what goes on here in the US :)

H F W said...

It's not funny because she was mean, but it's a little funny because they are so serious! I cannot imagine something like that happening here in the Chicago suburbs ... I would never make it in Sweden while pregnant and trying to wrangle a toddler. We're never on time.

SwedishJenn said...

It was funny and embarassing and a tad "enlightening"?

Showing up late to anything here is so disrespectful (obviously even when you CALL), you wouldn't believe it. I used to get so annoyed back home when I'd tell people to come for 6 and they'd show up at 7 or later. Even if I'd flat out say, "Dinner will be served at 6pm sharp"...in would walk the stragglers at least an hour later. And NOW, here I am with folks who actually show up ON TIME and I'm even more freaked out..ha!

Mon said...

"The reason for your lateness doesn't concern me,"
Man that's so severe!! lol

What does 'make eye contact' mean anyway?