The second challenge? Entertaining three toddlers in a pristine city.
Paris, can you handle them?
I can definitely keep her entertained with food and sugar.
Biggest Concern: Everything else.
My 4 1/2 year old.
He will have a sweet eye for the French girls. He is my Casanova. I also know that Paris has enough fromage to go with his whine.
Biggest Concern: Throwing spit balls at the Mona Lisa
or taking a dive into the Seine during our boat ride.
My 6 1/2 year old.
Is there golfing in Paris? How about orca whales? Non?
Oh, I know, chocolat....oui, that will buy me some time.
Biggest Concern: He will wrestle his brother
inside the Notre-Dame or hop on the Metro without us.
I love my kids and for the most part they are well behaved, but not to French standards by any means. I could really relate to a passage in the book Paris Times Eight, by Deirdre Kelly, where she takes a moment to make the comparison between the Parisian children at the Jardin du Luxembourg with the children she was babysitting.
"That was where the other children of Paris were-never scattered in the street but enclosed in leafy green spaces where you could admire them, as you did the outdoor sculpture ringing the periphery. I stood by, watching the little girls in starched white dresses, patent shoes, and ribbons in their neatly plaited hair, little boys in seer sucker shorts, knee socks, and handsome cotton vests worn over their linen short-sleeved shirts."
"...I let the children run wild. I forbade them to read out of the doors. I dressed them in T-shirts and shorts. We looked like vagabonds, loitering around the large fountain pools, making smacking noises at the large gold carp swimming brightly beneath the surface. Christopher once threw a handful of sand into the pool, eliciting stares and hissing sounds."
My children's pediatrician got wind of the fact that we are planning to go to France and her suggestion....stay in Paris a couple of days and then take your kids to the beach in Nice or the Provence countryside. Fodor's France 2009 also recommends only 2 days of Paris with the rascals. I'm sorry but I will not be saving for 2 years to go visit Paris for 2 days.
Should I enlist my kids in an etiquette academy?
Should I send them to school in starched shirts and trousers?
Should I start sending them to bed during daytime so the time difference doesn't make them impossible?
Should I teach them to play an acoustic guitar and recite poetry simultaneously, so they feel at home in the artistic Parisian cafes?
Should I sign them up for oil painting classes in order for them to appreciate the works of Monet?
If I can conjure up the perfect balance and come back from Paris feeling successful, I will definitely write my own book called
Mini-Paris: A Child's Point Of View.