S has visited the Netherlands several times: first on a full day layover on her way back from study abroad in Ghana; then again for a two-week research project for her college thesis; and finally with her parents for a week-long vacation when she was pregnant with Munchkin. Over the course of our six-and-a-half years in the Foreign Service, Amsterdam has become our transit hub of choice, especially considering the dearth of flight options into East Africa. Instead of simply flying through on her way to and from Tuscany, S decided to tack on a one-day layover in Amsterdam to see a close friend and explore a bit deeper one of her favorite European capitals.
Posts tagged ‘fun and games’
Tuscany’s richly deserved fame as one of the world’s premier art, food, and wine destinations draws millions of visitors every year. While adults flock to Florence, for young travelers, one of the region’s highlights is hidden away in the tiny town of Collodi, roughly halfway between Florence and the Ligurian coast. Carlo Lorenzini, the Florentine writer who created Pinocchio, had family in Collodi and adopted the town’s name for his pseudonym. Modern-day Collodi is replete with all things Pinocchio, and its quirky amusement park dedicated to the famous long-nosed marionette is a must.
Old habits die hard, and the temptation to venture out from the cozy Tuscan farmhouse to explore the Italian countryside proved too great to resist. S and her family visited San Gimignano, Lucca, Siena, Pisa, and Florence, the hour-long car rides proving perfect for Junebug’s naps.
Coming home from the airport, the kids in their car seats and the trunk stuffed to capacity with bags and travel car seats, it would not be immediately clear to the casual observer which one of us had just returned from a two-week vacation. S, coming off an all-day flight alone with two kids, did not project the picture-perfect image of relaxation. D, meanwhile, looked liked he had gotten some sun and leisure during his family’s absence.
At four months, Junebug is definitely putting us through our paces. The fear of missing out apparently runs strong in her because no sooner do we get her to fall asleep than her eyes pop open again. D’s sister used to take ten-minute naps when she was Junebug’s age; the first time she slept more than half an hour in one stretch, D’s mom must have checked on her at least a dozen times to make sure she was still breathing. Junebug is trending in the same direction, with each “nap” typically requiring multiple interventions to lull her to sleep.
Munchkin turned three-and-a-half over the weekend, which means he is almost but not quite on the cusp of reaching self-sufficiency. At lunch the other day, he gave S a rundown of all the things he can do by himself. Unfortunately, getting dressed, feeding himself, and putting himself to bed are milestones that remain miles away. He’s made some progress on independent play, but only when we’re around – as soon as S heads upstairs to nurse Junebug, for example, Munchkin breaks down.