I wrote a lot already about the cultural differences between Spain and the Netherlands in raising kids but a subject that I have been thinking about quite a lot to write about is the amazing spoiled Spanish kids, because my god this is not anywhere close to normal!
Ok, I am the first to admit that I also love to buy stuff for the bichin and sometimes have a hard time to hold my horses (seriously, why are there so many super cute baby clothes?) but this all reaches a whole other level with Spanish (grand)parents. Only the best, most expensive, and most beautiful is good enough for the little Prince(ss) and second hand seems to be a nasty word.
When we started with the baby buying process during my pregnancy and I started to dive into the world of different baby brands and prices (shocking!) for the first time I realised the insane amount of Bugaboo´s driving around the city here. Quite interesting if you think about the huge unemployment numbers and the crisis Spain is in, I mean a Bugaboo is not exactly cheap. But Spanish style obviously only one of the best strollers can be bought and to make this happen the whole family will contribute even if they have to be on a very tight budget the rest of the month. Everything for the little one!
And that´s basically how it goes with the whole baby preparation shopping. Everything is very expensive and at the baby department of the Corte Ingles you have to make a lot of effort to get someone to help you, that´s how busy they are, as if they are giving it away for free!
During family lunches I literally need to mark my words because if I even make the slightest hint towards something I am planning to buy for the bichin or something we still need, I can be sure that the next morning the grandparents will go on a shopping spree.
Spoiled with gifts
All of this is also very clear in the baby shower gifts that were completely out of proportion in my Dutch mind. For example, we received quite expensive gifts from friends of my parents in law, like the Baby Bjorn bouncer or a kitchen robot to be able to prepare baby food (both of them easily 150€). And this were friends of the family, not our best friends ever or something! So this kinda raised my expectations of a cute baby outfit. Speaking of outfits, we also got a lot of expensive brand clothes from parents of kids that C teaches. Something that would definitely not happen in the Netherlands! But yet again, everything and only the best for the newest family member!
Solving it all…
And it´s not just material spoiling, but also in daily life: literally everything will be arranged for the kids. Take the bus at a working day around 5pm and you will see masses of grandpa´s and grandma´s literally packed with backpacks because hey letting the kids carry their own bag is so not done. So there is the poor grandpa trying to keep his balance in the moving bus with 3 huge Frozen backpacks making his biggest effort to not let them slid from his shoulder (backpacks that even have wheels so I think the “poor” kid could probably pull it herself easily). And yes, trying to maintain his balance standing up because the cute littlies obviously took the seats and it´s impossible to hold your backpack yourself then.
I don´t know what bothers me more, the material spoiling or the attitude of always solving everything for the kid and making his / her life as easy as possible with no need for failing. I guess we´re going to have quite a tough job to balance that out a bit with some cold Dutch do-it-yourself-so-you-will-learn!
This post was written originally (in Dutch) for Go,Mommy,Go