Christine Gross-Loh Blog

The Finnish Baby Box

I visited Michele Simeon, her husband Janne Hukka, and their baby girl Hilla in Helsinki while on a research trip to Finland when I was writing Parenting Without Borders. Over a dinner of pea soup, traditional Karelian rice pies, salad (foraged by Michele and Janne), and Finnish berry soup with cream, we chatted about the many fascinating and surprising differences between Finnish and American new parenthood.  In this guest post (originally published in 2011 on, Michele shares with us some information about the Finnish baby box, one of the key ways that Finland ensures all babies get off to the same good start in life.

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Parenting Lessons from Around the World

The book launches today!  If you’re curious what you’ll find in it, here are a few recent articles highlighting some of the lessons I learned from parents around the world that I would love to share with you.

In this article in Parenting Magazine and on, I write about my surprise over how many chores Japanese children are expected to do to help their schools and their families.

And in this slideshow on, I introduce readers to different cultural norms on topics as varied as eating, sleeping, and safety in a number of countries.

There’s more to come, too.

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Three Myths About Diaperless Babies We Need to Put To Rest

Baby Anna and me; photo by Sara Colket

Baby Anna and me; photo by Sara Colket

Diaper free babies are in the news again, just as they were 8 years ago, when this front page article in the NYTimes set off a wave of media interest. At that time, my two boys were 4 and 2, both well past the diaper stage. I’d felt almost guilty about having them out of diapers when so many around me were struggling with potty training (or hadn’t even begun, hadn’t a clue how to). And there weren’t a lot of people who felt supportive of or understood the concept of pottying babies.

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The Great Mother’s Day Giveaway

Mothering is hard work and who better to get a huge prize package than you or the mother of your choice?

The list of prizes is amazing. A team of bloggers (including me) got together to assemble a massive gift package that includes a diverse assortment of books, DVDs, jewelry, and a very cool gift certificate.

Here’s the short version of the rules: To enter, leave a comment on this post. For more chances, leave a comment on the other blogs listed below. Enter by midnight ET on May 12, 2013. Detailed rules at the bottom of this post. Find a more detailed version of the rules at the end of this post.

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A Non-Snow Day

It’s the sound of sirens that first woke me up.

Then a cursory check on my phone only to find out what had happened overnight.

Then a call from our school, saying school was cancelled today.

So here I sit, writing this in a room resonating with kid noise, against the backdrop of sirens, because there won’t be school today. It’s not a snow day. It’s a …what-do-you-call-it day. No school because of the hunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon attacks, not far from where we live, which has caused all schools, businesses, and public transportation to close down, lock down.

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First Peek

Here’s a first peek at the finished book, which arrived in my mailbox just yesterday:



This book has been two years in the making, and I’m excited it’s finally just about ready to share.

Lots of people have asked me how I came up with the idea of writing a book on parenting around the world.  I’ve always been interested in cross-cultural parenting, since I was raised in a Korean immigrant family in a small town in Pennsylvania. I came up against cultural differences just about every day of my childhood. But when I became a parent myself, I was pretty sure the American way – the way other new parents around me were raising their own kids – was the gold standard for me.

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Forest kindergarten

Imagine being at a school where you look up and see, not a ceiling, but a canopy of leaves and branches high above you.


Or being told you can shout all you want – just shout out into the forest. Where you can climb trees, use a saw or pocket knife to cut wood, fashion your own seesaw out of a rope and logs, and watch the lifecycle of bugs and birds in real time.

That's what it's like for children at a "forest kindergarten," where I spent a serene morning one day last week when I visited Germany. 

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Blue, blue hat

Oh….has it been this long since I've posted? Over two months? I can't believe it! A computer crash, camera problems, another international move, six family members felled one by one by winter colds…'s been quite a hectic last few months. But here I am again.

I'll keep this brief for now, but want to share this hat – another one of those fun, gratifying, one-day projects I love so much.


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The last first birthday

Anna is our last baby, so it was a poignant thing to celebrate her first birthday. First birthdays are big in Korean culture, and all our other children had a dol, or Korean first birthday ceremony, where they sit in front of a low table piled high with fruit, rice cakes, and symbolic items. Everyone watches while they choose one item which, according to tradition, predicts their future life. Noodles or thread: longevity. A calligraphy brush: a writer. Pencil: a scholar. Knitting needles or scissors: nimble with the hands, perhaps a career involving handwork. Money: a head for business. And so forth.

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The sight of a little person in muddy rainboots never fails to cheer me up immensely. It's even better when the little person is stomping around in actual mud puddles in actual rain, but I've yet to figure out how to take my beloved camera out in the rain. Any suggestions?

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