I was trying to come up with a pithy encapsulation of experiencing the glamor and wonder thousands of years of culture with my two tiny terrors in tow, but all I could muster was a Graham Greene knock off and some annoying alliteration. English-turned-Mental Health and Human Services degree, don’t fail me now.
1. Yesterday we did the Vatican museums. And by that I mean we rolled in at 3 pm, shamefacedly admitted our desire to proceed di-rectly to the Sistine Chapel, and were escorted VIP-style by a Vaticano guard (sadly, not of the Swiss varietal) backwards through the tunnels of frescos, etc. that lead to the Cappela Sistina. Once inside, Christina was properly awed, I was surprisingly moved, and Joey and JP were both weirdly good. And by good I mean that JP slept in the stroller, (yes, we brought it in…and got to use the wheelchair lifts to ascend and descend stairways. 2 parts baller 1 part humiliation.) and Joey strolled around through the throngs of tourists and art students craning his tiny neck and studying the ceiling. Seriously. He let us stay for 20 minutes. What. And on the way out, he started playing kissyface with an older Italian lady and her adult daughter, and what began as innocent blown kisses and ‘ciaos!’ ended with full-on lipsmacking and shouts of ‘love you!’ Put a leash on it, son.
2. I was determined to show Tia at least one Caravaggio, (though she ended up preferring Renit, go figure) so we roamed the museums for another 2 hours, the highlights of which were definitely Joey’s identification of the antichamber to the Sistine Chapel as a ‘troll cave,’ and his scholarly interpretation of some bronze papal jewelry from the 3rd century. ‘Sick Mommy, poop.’
4. For every meanie in a smartcar who tries to run us down in the (absence of a) crosswalk or every crotchety old lady who steals our 3rd chair at a cafe, there are at least 2 kindhearted souls content to carry one of the boys around on their shoulders and play with them while mommy relaxes and has a drink of something wonderful. Italians truly love children, though they’re not having nearly enough of their own. I’m hoping that we can somehow be a tiny encouragement in this area to people we meet or even briefly interact with, which is probably too much to hope for, but maybe not? I try not to look angry/ugly/bitter/exhausted in public for this very reason, and 78% of the time I probably succeed with a C average.
5. The buses and the metro. Oh my effity eff what were we thinking buying this stroller of ours? Just kidding, I love it so much. Except when I’m trying to mount curbs or ascend a set or 20 of steep marble stairs, and then I just curse Jillian Michaels, Michelle Obama, etc. for their toned and capable upper arms and tight-lipped sneers. (What, you don’t ever take Jillian’s name in vain? I guess you’ve never Shredded.)
6. Have you ever tried to be gluten free in Italy? Hahahahahahahahahahaha….sob…hiccup…cackle…sigh. Poor Joey. He subsists on rice, yogurt, apple squeezies and gelato. He doesn’t seem to mind, but I feel like a failure. Still working through this one.
7. We now determine whether or not a restaurant is ‘kid friendly’ or not by the staff’s reaction to one of the boys shattering a wine/water/espresso glass or flinging a plate onto the floor. Oppa! Why do they set the table with 14 pieces of china and glassware at each setting? Joey will take care of that for you, good sir, don’t you worry about removing the crystal stemware from the toddler’s seat. What’s that, no high chair? No problem, we’ll just strap him to our lap with this human leash we purchased at the local baby shop and let him smear us with meat sauce and wine for the next hour or 3.
Until next time, dear takers. We’re off to Piazza del Popolo to ring in Carnavale Romana properly: with cheap, spiced wine and confetti.
P.s. Sorry for the lack of pictures and the sporadic posting. We’re still using internet from 1999 until the visa situation clears up.