Hotel living could be charming if you’re a see-and-be-seen type. For us, living in a hotel with our two small children is more of a hurry-up-and-shovel-down-your-food-before-the-kids-cause-a-scene experience.
The restaurant and front desk staff no longer ask our room number. The boys are sure to say “ciao-ciao-ciaoy-ciao” to Andrea the Maintenance Guy daily now that he has fixed our AC. The worker at the pool next door doesn’t need us to explain that we’re staying at the hotel any more. We’re fixtures.
We have no kitchen. Not even a microwave to heat prepared foods from the grocery store. We eat out every. single. meal. I used to make every. single. meal. (Excluding the times my husband cooked breakfast; his fried eggs are the best.) Now I have all that time back.
This is not a good thing, not for me at at least.
Our routine is upended, though a new one is starting to flicker as we have fewer errands to run. The hardest part is that Bertie has been fighting naps so hard that he’s only napped in his bed twice since we arrived. My quiet time is now bought with screen time. One-on-one time with each kid just doesn’t happen.
My infrastructure for self-care has disappeared. Walden isn’t in school; we don’t have his bike or the jogging stroller to break up the day with a run. I don’t have my weekly babysitting swap. I haven’t established any group activities (which is hard to do in summer anyway). Because we’re staying in a studio loft, my husband and I don’t even get to talk with the lights on after the kids fall asleep (two hours later than their bedtime in the US).
So I’m left with Being in Charge of the Kids as my Thing to Do. It’s really hard not to take it personally when I’ve asked five times, with no response, for Walden to come stand in line with me if he really wants grocery store sushi for lunch. Or when Bertie pushes over a chair. Or when they both run away from me to play hide and seek at a super store. Or when Bertie throws his food on the ground at a restaurant because it isn’t a f***ing peanut butter sandwich that’s cut just the right way. Or when they run off through the sprinklers before dinner arrives. Or when they play the “do that to ME!” game. And so on.
But. They have been really great with other children, at parks, around the hotel. The language barrier is tremendous, and my guys have been so very brave and considerate with other children as they struggle to understand each other. It has been a great learning experience, to have to stop and consider how to approach someone who doesn’t immediately understand. I am so proud of them.
Anyway. The hotel. I’m done. I’m ready to build a home again, to have a kitchen and couch and bedrooms. To have a bathroom with a solid door. Our household shipment will be weeks behind us, but I’m ready to settle into the community we’ll be living in for the next three years. To walk to the park, the bakery, the cafe; to make that mega trip to IKEA that’s inevitable with every European PCS.