It's Julie again.....
We've just finished our first month in Nice, and I thought it would be nice to reflect on how things are going so far.
As Sean mentioned in his last post we've had to adjust to traveling as a family. We have little ones that need to eat at certain times and sleep at certain times. On the surface, it seems that we have done nearly everything possible to accommodate and consider their needs. For example, we bought Emily a little sleep tent which pops up in an instant and VOILA, somewhere to have a nap on the occasional day trip. Add a little portable white noise machine (just like at home) and we're good to go right? Mostly, yes. Things should go well, right? We'll be able to carry on and see everything we want to and everyone will be happy, right? We are learning that there are little nuances to traveling with children and you can't always control everything to make things run smoothly and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Those of you who know me well would be very proud of the way I'm learning to "let go" of things on this trip....
Sean's parents spent some time with us over the last couple of weeks. We were musing over the challenges of traveling with small children, and talking about how we don't see many other families with toddlers and babies traveling around (apparently we are the only gluttons for punishment!). They told us of a trip they attempted to take when Sean was a toddler and his brother was a baby. Apparently his father said to his mother a few days into the trip, "why don't we just go home now, the thing is, I can bang my head repeatedly with a 2x4 for free at home and have just as much fun as I'm having on this trip"! So, home they went!
While we won't be going home (that's not easily accomplished either, it's a full day of travel home!), it's nice to know that it's not just our family! What we have reminded ourselves of often though is that we would be having these same challenges at home too, we'd just be much colder :)
At any rate, being the gluttons for punishment that we are, we headed out on the train to Cannes (after a disastrous trip to Monaco earlier in the week, I think both Sean and I were eager to prove that a day trip could go better) today. We decided to head out after Emily's morning nap in order to not compromise her sleep completely. Then, of course, the train was delayed over an hour. We thought of getting our tickets refunded and going another day, but Chloe was SOOOO looking forward to taking the "big big train" to Cannes. When we discussed the possibility with her of going another day, she started crying in the train station that she "wanted to go to the Can". How could we back down after that - she'd been looking forward to it all morning! So off we went. We had a fantastic train ride there. Chloe was engaged in the scenery and enjoyed watching the engineer exit the train at each stop and blow the whistle for "all aboard!".
In fact, the day went very smoothly, all around (aside from an incident where Chloe and I got locked in a washroom for 20 minutes - more on that in another post). Emily had a good nap in her tent on the beach, and Chloe enjoyed playing in the sand. The sun was shinning and we enjoyed an ice cream together as a family. We walked a bit around Cannes and then took the train home. Here's where it gets interesting......
We got on the train (which was super busy because it was rush hour) and I staked out a group of four seats together (two seats facing two seats). I put my purse and some bags down on the seats in order to set them aside for Sean and Chloe while Sean secured the stroller. A lady got on after us and was not impressed at all that I had "reserved" the seats with the bags, and she basically just pushed them out of the way and sat down (leaving three seats in the group of four - one for me, one for Sean and one for Chloe). You should have seen her eyes when Sean brought a chattering toddler and all of our stuff into the group of seats. She looked like she'd wished she'd just kept on walking and sat somewhere else! She quickly realized why I had been "reserving" the seats.
We had bought some dinner for Chloe to eat on the train, as it was close to her dinner time. So there Chloe was, eating cheese pasta right beside the lady. Her hands were covered in it and she was kind of dancing in her chair while she ate, and we were trying our best to keep cheese sauce from getting all over the lady (who looked like she was out of a Louis Vuitton add). You could tell she wished that she could just get up and move, but she had made such a stink about sitting down, that she really couldn't have changed seats now!!
At any rate, the day went quite well really. Sean and I basically crashed once we put the girls to bed tonight. It's easy to attribute it to the day trip, but we quickly reminded ourselves that we likely would have crashed at home at the end of a day as well. The fact is, when you are parents of young children, nothing is easy. Having fun is hard work. When we put Chloe to bed tonight, and asked her what her favourite part of the day was (as we do every night), she said "going to the beach on the big big train". This made it worth it for me. Fortunately, over time, the memories that stick are usually the fun ones, and the ones that quickly fade are the ones that make you want to stay home and bang your head with a 2x4.