No, I don’t mean that as in “high school crush”, I mean it as in the entire EU-benefits-entitled population of western Europe was following us around attempting to eat at the same snack bar and get into the same elevator as us. France isn’t supposed to go on vacation for another week or so (when we’re safely on another continent), so maybe these were Germans. Or Americans with really obscure accents. God knows. But there they were.
Day 0.5: Met up with T-mom/Savta/Tamara, visited Sylvia for lunch, and checked into Hotel Tremoille – blissfully more than adequate. Staving off fatigue, in an attempt to get the kids on Paris time (yes, the kids – we’re…fine…really), dragged ourselves to les Bateaux Mouche for the obligatory “See Paris from the Seine” boat ride. And fell asleep on deck. Actually, I think D&T stayed awake the whole way, but the kids keeled over pretty quickly, and it seemed that we’d travelled a few miles downriver after one particularly long “blink”.
Dinner at Sylvia’s, hotel, tuck kids in, and calculate out that I don’t actually have to make it all the way to my bed before I fall asleep – recent results in biokinematics suggest that my brain can shut off about five or six feet before I get there and momentum, along with the beautifully-evolved clockwork of muscle, tendon and bone that became human locomotion will carry me the rest of the way. Realize that I don’t trust my math even on a good day, and am thankful that, by the time I figure this out, my head’s already over the pillow, tray table stowed, prepared for immediate landing.
Next morning: up at a jaunty 11:30 a.m. after almost 12 hours of sleep. Had to drag the kids up even after that. So much for the alpine start. Ah well – it’s vacation, and we desperately needed that sleep. In an unfortunate role reversal, poor Devon had been up since 8:30 and was bored out of her skull.
Breakfasted (as is now our Paris tradition) on a middle-of-the-hotel-room-floor picnic of fruits and berries that Eduardo had brought us the night before. Off to the Eiffel Tower. Along with the rest of Europe and some parts of the deep south.
Kids are troopers throughout the waiting and lines. And waiting. And lines. Kids are now addicted to Nintendo (“Intendo”, as J calls it). We bake in the heat, we get personal with the body odors of a dozen countries, we take pictures of other peoples’ stray limbs. It’s everything we’d hoped for. We keep them pumped on sugar, caffeine – other addictions to supplement the little electronic worlds into which they’ve disappeared.
Post-tower (geez – did that really take the entire afternoon?) we promise rides at Tuleries, in the small amusement park off the gardens between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. More sugar and caffeine, but the heat’s finally cooled, the ‘tendos are put away, and we’re all feeling a lot better. Even find a playground straight out of some Putumayo collection, teeming with kids chattering a billion different languages, but speaking the lingua franca of playgroundese. M&J finally get to cut loose and have some real fun. Yeah, we can find playgrounds anywhere, but as the sun goes down behind the Champs Elysees, casting shadows through the ancient chestnuts, we sit on a park bench and listen to the sound all those kids spinning their guts out on the merry-go-round – “Plus vite!” “Ahrbes!” “I’m gonna throw up!”. Yeah, this where we want to be.