Welcome to expatparent.ch

Hi, my name is Michelle and I am the expat parent behind this website.  As a hobby and passion, I put together this page to help parents, parents-to-be, and new arrivals to Switzerland.  In addition to my full-time work and parenting commitments, I offer this website, moderate e-groups and offer telephone and online consultations to expectant parents and newcomers to Switzerland.  I also lead breastfeeding workshops for perinatal professionals. Take a look through my pages, below at the blogs, or use the search to browse through old topics.


Spring has Sprung: Troc Season

troc troccransToday marks the official start of Troc Season with the troc de Coppet kicking off this morning.   But, what is a troc, anyway?

What is a troc?

A troc is like a large indoor jumble sale or boot sale organized by communes, women’s or parents’ associations, or others.  Families are invited to  sell on their gently used items allowing other families to stock up their kids’ wardrobes and toy chests for the upcoming season.   But instead of having a table for all your stuff, you label your gently used items (usually with your name or seller number, what the item is, the size & price you are looking to sell for), bring them in to the “réception des articles” where they are either accepted or declined, and then the accepted items are placed on tables with other people’s items.   There are tables for baby toys, baby accessories, kids toys, books & puzzles, clothes of all sizes, jackets/coats, costumes, shoes, kids sports equipment, maternity clothes, etc. etc. etc.  Volunteers (often all in the same colour shirt, even if different styles) fold and sort the clothes, volunteers man the cash desks, and approximately 10% is added to the total – that amount a fundraiser for the organisation running the troc.

If you’ve given toys/clothes, whatever you don’t sell you can often give to a chosen charity or come back at the end of the troc to collect your sales monies and any items not sold, that is “la restitution”.

Who can attend?

Anyone!   You don’t have to be a seller and you don’t even have to volunteer (though it’s a great way to meet local mothers).  On the day of the troc, you head over (if you bring your baby/toddler, better to do so with a sling/wrap/carrier as there’s no space for strollers/pushchairs), with the largest bag  you can find (the big blue IKEA ones usually works really well), and some cash.  Once inside, you go from table to table and pick what you like and put it in your bag (as I’ve blogged before, troc veterans KNOW what they are looking for and head straight for the table with those items).

Throughout the day, volunteers re-fold and re-organize as people go through the tables, but they usually cannot keep up and the nicely organised tables are usually piles of clothes quite quickly!   After you’ve walked through and chosen what you like/want, and then decided what to actually buy,  you go stand in line for the cashier (la caisse) where more volunteers welcome you (always remember to say Bonjour Mesdames!).  The cashiers cut the tags off the items you wish to buy, one enters the amount into their calculators & adds the commission (as mentioned above, usually 10-20%) and then you pay the total.

When to go?

This is the tricky part.   If you are looking for something specific, you may want to arrive early.   In which case,  not only will you get a parking spot nearby, but you’ll get in the queue to get in when the door opens.  Which means, you’ll “get right in there” and will have first dibs at the items.

If you aren’t looking for anything specific and don’t like crowds or queueing, you may prefer to arrive shortly after it starts or even half-way into the troc.   Sure, you might have to park further away, but there’s no line and no waiting to get in (downside is that there might be a long line to pay).  If you do this, the “great” items are usually already snatched up, but there are usually still items for you.  It really depends on who troc-ed their clothes/toys that year (and how old their kids are!).   If the sellers are organised and have a lot of good stuff, it’ll be a good troc year (no matter what time  you arrive).   If, on the other hand, families have been too busy to sort and tag, price things too high, or have not much to sell, or the stuff that is on sale is for the wrong aged/sized-child, it’ll be mediocre for you (but could be great for another family).  No matter what, you should leave with at least one or two items (whether you NEED these items is debatable, but your kids will likely use/play with whatever you get!).

Things of note

If “rough & tumble” describes your child, then there are slim pickings for clothes for this age group — mostly because cuffs are worn, knees have wholes, sleeves are stained, which means the clothes are not accepted by the troc.  Trocs only accepts items in good nick/condition.   Stained and holed clothes and other unaccepted items don’t make it onto the tables at the troc, but they do often go into the donation bin, which means they do reach families, especially those in desperate need, in Switzerland and abroad.

Got the TROC bug yet?

Other popular trocs in La Côte include:

Further afield:


Support for Parenting

circlesofsupport

WBW 2008: Circles of Support

I haven’t blogged in A LONG TIME, but there is a marketing campaign that is going viral on the Internet this week, which is bringing me back to the keyboard.  I am not going to link to it here, as that will bring hits to their page, but I do have to comment.

“Oooh”, “ahh”, “how sweet”, “yes!”, “it’s making me cry!” are some of the posts I have seen under the said campaign.  But the campaign makes my blood boil (and in these instances, I am not very eloquent in my writing) so I want to get these thoughts out there, especially to the expatriate parenting community where parent-to-parent support is ever so important:

    1. Media Mommy Wars:  Mommy wars, themselves, were created by the media.  So “Mommy Wars” alone really should never be said. It’s only been the last 25-50 years or so, when the media has created an “us vs. them” dialogue that it is now seen, once again IN THE MEDIA, as something that not only exists, but is inevitable.
      This is demeaning and degrading TO WOMEN!
      It’s not inevitable and doesn’t really exist outside the media.  Sure we as parents and individuals gravitate towards others who do things in a similar fashion, but that doesn’t mean we judge or hate people who are doing things differently.  Our best friends may even go about things in their own way.  And that’s GREAT.  Diversity is what makes the world such a great place.
    2. Formula vs. Breastfeeding, stroller vs. babycarrier, etc:  This is that “us vs. them” thing that I referenced above.  In this advertisement they are pitting one against the other.  Yet they aren’t really, if you look closely it is one-sided: the “mean” and “antagonistic” ones in the advertisement are the mothers who are breastfeeding (and who are doing so with shame: i.e. with a cover because OH MY GOD you cannot show a nipple or use your breasts in a non-erotic way) or babywearing (yoga and baby-wearing mothers).   Their facial expressions show hatred and the negative comments, the belittling, the name calling that is “thrown around” come from these “attachment parenting” mothers, they are not launched in the other direction (except one veiled comment about “being lazy” which implies the non-lazy mothers are “better” as they “do more work” and another about the “breastfeeding police”).
    3. Everyone should just ignore each other and let them make their own choices:  I call bullshit.  The reason the video has gone viral is because of the opposite: mothers are online, in greater numbers every year, because they are tired of being ignored, they are online looking for SUPPORT from others, for help in making their choices.  As parents we need the support from all of society (hence my chosen image above we need circles of support).  The video has gone viral because we know the “media mommy wars” and “antagonism” do not exist and we think the video shows this message.But we’ve been duped.  The subtle messages we have not seen: after less than 24 hours many of those who have watched it are feeling judged for their choices and feel that the “media mommy wars” exist.  Just look at the comments under the thread :  “I’m tired of ‘breast is best’ we all do what is best for our babies” (not knowing that the “breast vs. best” line was coined by the very same industry that put out this latest video), “I had no choice but to use formula!”, etc. etc.  In less than 24 hours, those who do not believe in the mommy wars sorta do…. they are feeling judged for their choices. The “media mommy wars” are omnipresent and clever marketing has worked.
    4. Men are better than women:  did you notice that the men didn’t throw negative comments around?  That they were just jokey and fun.  And did you notice at the end when EVERYONE WAS FIGHTING to do the right thing (and save the baby) that it was actually a man that got to that baby first?

 

With the four above points, as a woman, as a parent, as a member of society, think about this: in one week, one month, one year, what will you remember about the advertisement?   Will you remember how it made you feel “in the moment” (the awww we should all work together — which is what we all believe) or the “media mommy wars” that have been battling under the thread ever since?   Will you remember which formula you “should use” when things get rough?  Or will you remember that you can call on other women who have been there before for support?

SIMILAR ELOQUENT RESPONSES:

  • http://www.kveller.com/mayim-bialik-dont-fall-for-that-similac-commercial/
  • http://www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com/fathers-perspective-similac-ad/
  • http://evolutionaryparenting.com/that-similac-ad-you-know-the-one/
  • http://littlebgcg.com/2015/01/wont-share-similac-commercial.html
  • http://www.daddydoctrines.com/2015/01/23/where-similac-and-the-mother-hood-go-wrong-and-why-it-matters/