Wednesday, April 15, 2009

European Picnics on the Bathroom Floor

When traveling through Europe with a toddler, the only way to get by is to perfect skills of creative parenting. You have to learn to be flexible with schedules and routine. While at the same time trying to create a semblance of order and stability on the road.

Right now Kirk and I are sitting on the bathroom floor of our hotel room in the Loire River Valley in France. It is the Saturday night before Easter and we are pooped from a day of travel and touring. It is 7:45 PM and Connor is in our main room in the dark singing and talking away. We are hopeful she will be asleep soon. But right now she keeps calling out “Easter Bunny, The Easter Bunny!” so we may be here for a while reading and computing on this cold floor. Instead of taking in a fancy restaurant dinner we stopped by a French grocery and boulangerie picking up the following:

a baguette
a wheel of fresh goat cheese
2 tomatoes
a bag of chips
2 pears
a bottle of Chinon red wine
a slice of flan for dessert
All for the bargain price of 15 euros. Now you know where we save our money for additional travel!

We laid the bath towels for our bathroom picnic and realized we forgot to ask for a knife and a corkscrew when we came in. So we pulled the soft cheese apart with our hands and scooped it with the bread pieces and then ate the tomatoes like you would eat an apple. The wine will have to wait!

Our previous hotel in Ephesus did not allow food to be brought in from the outside. So when I tried to go to town and retrieve take-away dinners for Kirk and Connor the hotel nixed the idea. What a pain. Of course the hotel restaurant was too fancy for us and room service 10x more expensive than in the town. So we again got creative and ate the Cheerios and lollipops stashed in our bags for dinner that night. We made up for it the next morning at the free breakfast buffet. Take that, snotty Ephesus resort that won’t allow outside food – even for babies!

And then at our Istanbul hotel Connor had us in stitches as we tried to stay still (the bathroom too small to hide out in), but dad gum if she didn’t grab her “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” book, flip it open to the page about the sheep going from near to far and hold it open for us as a story teller would chanting “Baa Baa, Baa Baa!” She definitely has a harder time settling in and falling asleep in new places and with us right with her. Sometimes if we have to move around she will sit and narrate everything we do, "Daddy's shoes" as Kirk takes off his shoes or "Mommy's hair" if I brush my hair and on and on. It is impossible to be discreet.

Anyway, I just think the entire phenomenon of hoteling with a toddler is hysterical. We have tried hiding on one side of the bed, but this doesn’t work. So we make sure when booking hotel rooms to ask about the bathroom floors. And we are constantly reaching into our bag of tricks for creative parenting techniques!!!


Dallas said...

I never would have thought about where you go while she's falling asleep. It's kind of funny imagining you two picnicking on the bathroom floor - if it works, it works. :) This post also reminds me that I need to get a travel corkscrew. When we went on our honeymoon, the hotel gave us a bottle of wine but no way to open it. We ended up bringing it back to the US with us. It would be much easier to just get a travel one. :)

Heather said...

Reid, we do the exact opposite with Drew. We set him up in the hotel bathroom in his pak'n'play, with blankets around the edges of the pak'n'play to make it cozy. Donne's mom gave us the idea and it works well (until one of us needs the potty!).