Thursday, June 02, 2005

Kids and travel - don’t forget handi-wipes

"Parents need to let their kids explore so that they can find new places. If parents don’t follow their kids, they won’t find new places." Alexander, 5

The highlight of our first day in Paris was when the kids got stuck in the elevator. In a city where no building is used for the purpose it was originally intended, elevators are improvised affairs and can be prone to sudden work stoppages, just like the rest of Paris.

After 15 minutes, we got the doors open and could pass provisions through a narrow opening. For the next hour, the boys gorged themselves on bonbons, played gameboy and read comic books. Their greatest disappointment was that their rescuer was not a fireman in an exotic uniform, but a plainly-dressed elevator repairman.

At breakfast the next day, Alexander complained that the milk tasted funny (in fact, because it hasn’t been pasteurized, it actually has taste). Shortly thereafter, we got on the subway to visit an apartment we hoped to rent. During the trip, Alexander decorated our subway car and a good part of the station with the colorful remains of his breakfast.

Following an emergency stop at the pharmacy for handi-wipes, we raced to the apartment, fragrant but determined. We hit it off with the landlord, who stayed well upwind of Alexander during the interview. We ended up renting the apartment, a beautiful but very small 2-bedroom place near metro La Muette in the 16th arrondisement.
Despite, or maybe because of these adventures, Alexander and Austen are having the time of their lives. They don’t really walk anywhere: they flit, they skip, they leap to the next adventure.

"Dad, I really like all this new stuff. San Francisco was getting a little boring." Austen, 8