My kids are angels. Usually. But being kids, they’re often little devils too. Thus parenthood survival often requires more than patience; it also calls for the occasional manipulating, bribing and hiding—as in, hiding the truth. They’ll find out soon enough, right?
This list is far from complete. But now that we’ve been here 6 days, here are 11 suggestions on how to sneak your offspring to a foreign place without scaring them away before you even land…
Don’t tell the kids about…
Time zone changes. We’ll move the clocks ahead 7 hours when we arrive in Italy—and it may take a week (or 2) before your body understands. Your brain never will.
Flight funk. When you’re a kid, flying is fun. For an hour or two. Then you grow up fast, and the body aches, the stomach churns, and the legs won’t fit (just like your carry-on).
Language barriers. When we visit Denmark and Sweden, most people can speak English—can; we’ll see if they will. In Italy? Few do—so you’ll have to learn some Italian. Or do like they do: speak with your hands.
Junk food. Sure, they have it here, but with different names. Tell them they won’t like it, or that the label says “Made with boar guts.” Oh and by the way, there are no hot dogs, hamburgers, or Subways. (Not to worry: Pizza is omnipresent.)
Boars. They’re here. People eat them. And by the way, there are quite a few running around in the woods right below our casa. Hear that grunting noise? That’s not the honeymooners next door.
Blood sausage. They eat that, too. And you just did! It’s been on every salami sampler plate, and you don’t want to know how it’s made!
Whole foods. Tiny birds are a delicacy—and served with the head attached. Most fish comes plated whole (you’ll learn to filet); on the coast, they eat whole tiny fish in one bite. And that big roasted head at the rosticceria? Is it a pig? A boar? Or a kid who misbehaved?!
Dining protocol. Breakfast barely exists. Lunch is late and lasts 2-4 hours. Dinner is way after 8 and can last even longer. And tomorrow morning, we’ll get up and do it all over again.
TV. Most of our temporary residences have none. And if they do? You won’t underword a stand it says. See: Language barriers.
Digital sabbatical. That’s right: No texting; we didn’t fly to Europe to stare at 2” screens with 2-syllable communiques. Allowed, maybe: Photos, translation help, music.
Music mix-up. They play lots of bad American 80s music here, just like home. They also play zippy Italian pop. And lots and lots of opera—O Sole Mio!