Mar 18, 2012

Paris With Kids: The Story of a Regrettable Family Vacation

Every family has a bad vacation story. Our recent trip to Paris wasn't our worst, but it wasn't our finest either. In 2010, Mark and I took the kids on a road trip that we fondly call the Western States Rotavirus Tour. That was a bad vacation. Puking your way through most of the Western US, and passing out in Disneyland does not make for happy, pleasant memories. But it does get you a wheelchair and a pass to the front of the line. In case you don't believe me, I offer this:

Moving on to Paris. Lovely, amazing Paris. Fantastic bakeries. Incredible art. Rich history. Everything that is entirely unimpressive to our kids in other words. Also not impressive: our traveling skills. I should say, our lack of traveling skills. And with all the whining, crying, and fighting, we may have done some irreparable damage to US-French relations. It didn't help that Mia woke up sick on the morning we were left. Actually, at first it did. Weirdly, Mia gets more easy going and sweet-natured the worse she feels. So at first it was great. We had to kick Nate out of the stroller and carry around a barf bag, but we spent a perfectly enchanted evening at the Eiffel tower (and now have 9 Eiffel Tower chotchkies to prove it). As far as anyone could tell, we were just a nice family who gets along on vacation and enjoys buying overpriced, pointless souvenirs (as if there any other kind).

But as the trip progressed, Mia started feeling better and better, and the rest of us kept wishing she was still sick. Not that she alone ruined everything. Certainly none of us were getting enough sleep, and even mouth-watering croissants can't be your only form of sustenance for too long. Wait, I take that back. Yes, yes, they can. Generally however, Sam and Nate are usually game for whatever we drag them along to, assuming there are adequate snacks and bribes provided. Mia, on the other hand, will make you pay for one excruciating hour of being dragged through the Louvre, and will continue to make you regret it even the next day when you take her to an wonderful(ly expensive) little park with rides, animals, treats, playgrounds, and not a single piece of art or culture in sight. She won't enjoy that outing, oh no, or let anyone else for that matter, and will end up screaming at everyone until someone (who may or may not have been me) screams back and we leave the park with the majority of the family in tears. That's just speaking generally though. I wouldn't know any of the details because I've pushed them deep, deep down where they'll be sure to fester and turn into some obsessive compulsive disorder in a few years.

Mark and I were discussing what was worse, dealing with whining or vomit while traveling. My initial stance was that repeatedly cleaning up barf from car seats was way worse, hands down, any day. Mark was team whining. I still disagree, but admit he has a point. External viral threats make you miserable, but you rally together and get through it. Internal bickering and conflict? I thought we might not speak to each other again.

It's guilt-inducing to admit to a sub-par vacation in Paris. The fact that we even have the chance to travel there, and so easily (3 1/2 hours by train) is mind-blowing. We're traveling in Europe. touring 900 year old cathedrals, standing in front of master-pieces, and arguing in front of UNESCO World Heritage sights. I'm in awe of how incredibly lucky we are. After all, not everybody gets to have such bad vacations.

Time for some pictures. If it makes you feel better, even if we look happy, we were probably miserable inside.

(Don't let these happy, hugging children fool you. 
Three minutes later they were trying to kill each other. )

You know you've been married a long time when you try 
to take a picture kissing in the most romantic city in 
the world, but mostly just feel really silly. 

Fighting in a park. Ah, how sweet. 

My favorite picture from the trip: Nate asleep in front of the Venus de Milo. 

And Mia, when you read this when you are much older, I want you to understand that we love you, and we hope that one day you have a child that makes your vacations just as miserable. (As your parents we only wish the very best revenge on you.)


LAURA said...

love it. you are hilarious.

Saskia said...

Oh, subways, the way you manage to make even the most rebellious siblings stand together.

And I think it wasn't your fault, it was France's. Our supreme bad family vacation took place there too.

Courtney @ Ordinary Happily Ever After said...

Love Mia's face.

Grupposancarloforever said...

Beautyfull! complimenti!

Jen said...

My favorite picture is Mia with the thumbs-down in front of the cathedral. So awesome! The food alone, though, had to be worth it.

visio2010sale said...
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DizzyMamma said...

Oh my!! Mia's face and the face of my 7 year old, Freyja, could have been separated at birth! Maybe they take classes in how to look as bored and miserable as is humanly possible when faced with the prospect of being asked to "learn something" or "enjoy culture". Apparently the only culture my daughter intends coming into contact with are the ones she breeds in the dishes that appear under her bed.... sigh!!

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