Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Travels with Children

Since I've gone out of my way to complain about my traveling woes, I'd like to spend some quality blogging time detailing some of the more lovely aspects of being abroad with my just four and two year-old.

Or perhaps you can think of these as pointers. If you plan to hike/walk with children along the many public footpaths in England definitely do bring chocolate and candies so that you can, in Pavlovian fashion, train your children to continue to walk by feeding them. Do not, however, bring along your stroller. It will not fit over, around or through. Anything.

Some might believe that there is no good food in England. This is not so. We have enjoyed a number of culinary products, chief among them: cheese. No food is enjoyed more by my two children, my eldest in particular. However, like most indulgences, it has its down side. "Sweetie, can you say constipation?" Some of the other foods we have loved: milk chocolate by Cadbury (nothing like the way it's made in the states), fresh peas in a pod, every kind of berry, grown here locally in Kent, carrots and broccoli (even the brown broccoli tastes good), beer (I'm not drinking but my husband claims it's excellent), and bread. You can buy delicious bread here from the grocery store for the equivalent of less than two American dollars. Amazing.

Finally, there is the wee issue of translation. As my husband instructed me on the plane over, do not ask for a napkin when you want to wipe your hands or they'll give you a maxi-pad. (Apparently the word "napkin" is coming into favor more, which I appreciate, since I felt silly asking for a serviette.) If an old man approaches you and says, "Hello, love," he's not a pervert, he's merely British. My son was asked the other day by a school age child, "Do you speak English?" Clearly we don't. In this country, your backyard is your garden. The mailbox is the postbox. The garbage can is the dustbin. And that diaper, it's a nappy. I have, on occasion, resorted to baby sign language (the only kind I know), with sales clerks in the hopes of conveying my meaning.

There is one thing I have noticed the English do very well. Strollers. They are so sexy, so fantastic, so stylish, I may well pay to bring one home. They have these cute little umbrellas that attach and old-fashioned style pram tops with jog-stroller type wheels. Luckily, I am having another baby or how else could I justify such an indulgence? I will buy one, load it up with cheese and chocolate, and bring it home.


  1. well, I'm fairly certain that children and women are the same in that respect - give either group chocolate and they'll follow you anywhere :)

  2. It's amazing, isn't it? We're really smart, I guess that's it. Trained by chocolate. Much better than responding to dog biscuits.