One thing we noticed in Italy this past week is that kids are completely adored, showered with attention, kisses, cheek pinches (ask Cece, it was her favorite part) but very little is set up specifically for kids. Kids are expected to do everything like the adults.
I like this assumption and the girls were at the perfect age to meet those expectations. They had plenty of time to splash in the pool, hang out with cousins, and act like kids but they also carried their own bags, did all the tours, and talked with the family. It was a great vacation for kids just not a kid-centric vacation.
If you think elementary school body humor has peaked in your house just try introducing an Italian bidet to the equation. It opens up whole new avenues of humor.
After a whirlwind 36 hours in Rome, we have now made it to Sicily. This is the first long plane/travel trip since Ally was about 18 months old and we’ve found that the rules have changed slightly, or at least no longer involve diapers. Here are our six rules of engagement for this trip:
- Avoid boredom. They are mostly old enough to entertain themselves but having random shiny objects they’ve never seen before doesn’t hurt.
- Anticipation is half the fun. We got the kids involved in the planning. Ce is also keeping a travel journal. Also, start packing a week out by putting things in piles to avoid last minute stress.
- Avoid hunger. Snacks in a strange land work just as well as at home.
- Always be bribing. In Italy, gelato works really well for this.
- Energy is infectious. This is Michelle’s speciality. Her mantra is “It’s an adventure.” She is very going at spinning anything.
- There are mostly no rules. My mantra? I’m on vacation and I don’t care.
Of course, tantrums and meltdowns happen on vacation as well as in your own living room but it’s worth it for the great moments, right? Cecilia has now had a “memorable” moment in the Roman forum. Daddy has had one in the Hertz line in Palmero. It’s the cost of doing business and if the kids (and Dad) are ever to learn how to master these behaviors, it may as well be on the go.
One unlikely pitfall of working from home most days is the unexplainable urge to constantly vacuum. I can only chalk it up to how ineffective I find most work meetings or just how strong my need to procrastinate is that I’ll clean before sitting down at my desk.
This week, I was straightening up (in preparation for the addictive vacuuming) and came across a Sharpie cap in the living room. Just the cap. Is there a scarier thing to find as a parent? I immediately checked the walls, carpet, and fur around Dash’s mouth. No joy.
So far the other half of the marker remains missing…
I realized I might have made a mistake just about a mile into the race when my foot slipped off a root and I felt a twinge run up my ankle. We have a big vacation coming up with a lot of walking and if I broke an ankle running a race, my wife might divorce me.
Spoiler: I didn’t break an ankle but it was a little dicier than I expected.
We’ve reached the point in the year where every day at the breakfast table the girls delight in providing an update on the number of school days left. Of my favorite things about Cecilia’s teacher this year is that she lets the kids do so much on their own. Yes, the results are rarely perfect or picture-worthy but they own it. I’m hoping this keeps going next year and translates into a deeper belief in herself and her abilities.
Pushing, prodding, and electro-shocking the kids to get things done day-to-day can be challenging and that carrot/stick type of motivation is just not practical long term. It doesn’t do anything. It’s not useful. It’s the funfetti cake of motivation. It fades all too quickly.
Belief, on the other hand, is a tool that’s extremely useful. I’m not talking about hope. Hope is not a life strategy. I’m talking about practical and pragmatic belief. Believing if you put in the work and take action, you can make things happen.
If school can teach the kids that it might even be worth the pain of new math.
“Keep showing up.” I’m not sure Des Linden meant her now famous quote quite so literally but that’s what I did and just like it eventually worked out for Linden, it also worked out nicely for me, too.
HMEA is where Michelle works and we run the 5k fundraiser each year. The last few years I’ve been chasing a young (fast) kid around the course in Franklin, MA. Just like a few recent races this year where I’ve been chasing a young (fast) woman, I just haven’t been able to catch him. Would this year be any different? Yup. He wasn’t there.
Allison had her first field trip this week. They went to the zoo. There were multiple email reminders about sunscreen. That meant multiple reminders to me that it’s okay not to love being a parent all the time. Some parts just suck. Like dealing with sunscreen at 7:30 in the morning. It’s the black licorice of summer.