Parking Him Off│Rome Date. We absolutely LOVE traveling as a family, but there are certain aspects to this type of adventure that make things a little complicated. The first would be that we never really get any alone time. Occasionally, along our journey, we rent an apartment instead of a hotel room – but let’s face it, that is pretty pricey, and definitely not feasible for an entire two month journey. We are therefore almost always sharing a room. We have to go to sleep shortly after Eli, and we are up at the same time as him. In fact, this might be the hardest thing about travel with Eli. When we are at home, we can leave him in his crib until a “decent” hour if he wakes up too early. But when his pack ‘n play is a few feet away – there’s no use trying to pretend you that he don’t hear him. I have to admit that he’s a really good kid, so he will play in his bed… sometime for ages, but he’s not always quiet. He chats away, sometimes he “sings” really loud. Needless to say, when he’s up, our sleep is done.
The second negative aspect about traveling with a toddler for an extended period is that we barely ever really get to do anything romantic. Even when we have him in bed, and asleep, and try to put the tv back on and drink some wine… we have to whisper and keep the lights to a minimum. This child of ours is a wonderful sleeper, but he is definitely not used to a tv and talking right next to him during the night. Even with his sound machine on loud, we don’t feel the same freedom that we do at home after he goes to sleep.
We are always excited when we read that a hotel has a babysitting service, but whenever we get there it always seems to be unavailable, untrustworthy, or unnecessary. We don’t feel safe leaving Eli with a complete stranger, but we are open to considering a situation that feels completely secure…. However we are yet to come across a situation that feels that way!
We are therefore MOST HAPPY when we get to have him close to us, but still get to “be on a date”. That only happens when Eli falls asleep and we are able to have a little impromptu date. Sometimes it happens after a long day of explorations, when he falls asleep in his stroller, and we stop somewhere to enjoy a quiet dinner. There have been times when he has fallen asleep in the carrier, and we are able to lie him down. Like the time in Bali, when he slept across our laps while we ate tapas and drank beer.
On this particular afternoon in Rome, we had enjoyed quite a full day. It had started to rain in the afternoon, so we stopped to eat pasta and drink wine. On our walk back to the area where our hotel was located, Eli fell asleep. We were not particularly hungry, however we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity…
We walked through some beautiful side streets – art cafes, museums, restaurants and cafes.
Since it had just been raining all afternoon, the streets were quieter than we had seen them in the last three days. This was our last night in Rome, so we wanted to enjoy a relaxing evening out of our hotel. We finally stopped at a small bar/ cafe that had a couple of tiny tables outside.
We had covered the stroller with a scarf of mine, and put the iPad inside the stroller to keep it dry. While we were walking through a noisy, high-traffic, area, we didn’t look down into the transparent window of the stroller for some time. When things got quiet around us though, we glanced down to check on Eli. We noticed that he had the iPad lying on his body, one hand behind his head, and we could hear a very familiar sound!!! We paused to listen closely… and then both started to laugh!
Every night, since he was a newborn, we have played the same static sound in Eli’s room while he sleeps. This has always drowned out other noises and helped Eli to sleep soundly. We are HUGE fans of white noise!
When we realized that he had turned on his sound app — we were both amazed and HIGHLY IMPRESSED!
Thankfully, Eli was sleeping – with only his little bare-feet sticking out from the scarf that covered his stroller – when we sat down at the cafe. We had a strong urge to enjoy some cheese, but the cafe didn’t have anything like that on the menu. We ordered a couple of IPA’s and Justin went inside to see what else we could snack on.
After a little chat with the owner, he return to our table with a big grin on his face. Somehow he had organized us a little bit of cheese and bread. What simple folk we are – just simple bread and cheese can make us so happy. We sipped on our beers while Eli lay sleeping in his stroller. The funny part was that we ended up moving him across the road from us. It was drizzling and we were sitting under a tiny overhang. Our table was on a small step, and we couldn’t fit the stroller on there with us. We saw a similar type of awning across the road, and a protected spot between some large potted-plants. It was the perfect spot to park off our little guy. We could see him, and he would stay dry.
While we enjoyed our little impromptu date, we also enjoyed the amusing responses of people who walked by and realized that there was a kid sleeping all by himself by the side of the road. It was quite funny to see their responses, and also quite surprising how many people didn’t notice him at all!
The cheese, bread, sides, and of course, the beer… were all amazing!
A perfect impromptu date for this mommy and daddy. Thank you Eli!