pardon my french.

For the past couple of days, John and I have both had subtle “am I getting sick?” symptoms. The kind that you can usually talk yourself out of with some positive thoughts and a shot of DayQuil.

But last night, my immune system threw in the towel. And I haven’t gotten out of bed since.

I am 100% certain that my irrational fears of breathing the same air as hundreds of people in a big metal box for over 10 hours during a transatlantic flight have finally been realized.

This is the real deal, my friends. I mean, you KNOW you’re sick when you can’t even get out of bed to go hug your neighbor’s brand-new baby goat.

I’m pretty sure this is what we get to do all day in heaven. Except it smells a lot better. But I digress.

The only thing more annoying than BEING sick is listening to someone whine about it, so instead, I thought we might all appreciate a little distraction from the news-at-hand with a little story.

Once upon a time (about two years ago), John and I took Olivia (then 3-1/2) to Europe for her first time. The plan was to spend about a week visiting John’s extended family in Germany and then treat ourselves to two nights in Paris at this fabulous place before returning home.

The trip was going great. Beautiful weather, lots of laughs, very few meltdowns. And Olivia did great, too.

Since we only had two days in Paris, I had it scheduled down to the minute:


Land in Paris.

Check in to hotel.

Ditch our bags.

Grab the stroller.

Cruise over to the Eiffel Tower.

Get the mandatory tourist shot.

Convince our 3-1/2 year old that “the tower is closed on Wednesdays” to avoid the 2+ hour long line to go to the top.

Enjoy some French food.

Go to bed.


Get up bright and early.

Schlep our 3-1/2 year old and her stroller through the many down-up-down-ups of the Paris Metro system.

Head out of the city, bound for EuroDisney.

Spend the day in search of Le Mickey Mouse.

Wait in a one hour long line for a one minute Dumbo ride.

Repeat Paris Metro system shlepping, in reverse.

Enjoy some French food.

Go to bed.

SCCCRREEEEEEEEACH! Put on the brakes and tighten your seatbelt. Here’s where it gets interesting.

I called the front desk to request a taxi to the airport for our flight home the next morning. It was a lovely direct-to-Seattle flight and we were all set to go.

What’s this you say? Mother Nature has decided to show us Who’s Boss and erupt a volcano in Iceland? But wait, we’re all the way over here in PARIS?! What do you MEAN Charles de Gaulle airport is “delaying” flights tomorrow?

I’ll spare you the details – you can google this event for more info – but let’s just say that the next (unplanned and unbudgeted) week in Paris proved to be a test to see how much our patience, perseverance and pocketbook would stretch. *

*Disclaimer: yes, yes, we DO realize that we were VERY LUCKY and could have been stuck in MUCH WORSE places.

One of the many great things about traveling with kids, is that they force you to buck up and get your act together. We would spend hours on the phone with the airline each day, trying to sort out the flight situation.

We would search the internet and pour over the news, wondering when airports would re-open, when we would get home.

And we usually maintained a calm and cool composure in front of the mini traveler.

But also, we’re human. And I won’t lie: one or two F-bombs might have slipped out during our frustrations.

Fast-forward to one afternoon in our hotel room. I was relaxing on the bed, reading my book. John was at the sink and Olivia was in the “toilet room” (I’m sure the Europeans have a classier name for this separate little space).

And she is taking forever in there.

So John says, “Olivia! What are you doing in there?!”

And we hear this small yet powerful voice exclaim, “I’M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT MY FUCKING PANTIES!”

I look at John. He looks at me. We both scratch our heads and start laughing. What else could we do?

She enunciated it perfectly and used it correctly in a sentence.

Do we want our small child to use words like this? NO.

Do we make every effort to ensure she doesn’t hear them? YES.

Are we ALL human, sometimes making mistakes and saying the wrong thing? HELL YES.

In summary, I am going to use a Sharpie marker to add “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” to my to-do list.

P.S. My scheduled run today was 6 miles. Seeing as I was not able to get out of bed let alone figure out how to put one foot in front of the other without getting dizzy, I am moving this run to tomorrow. Maybe Tuesday. I’ll keep you posted.

Have you ever had something unforeseen happen on vacation? I’d love to hear from you!

16 thoughts on “pardon my french.

  1. I’ve heard this story many times (and have told it to others as well), so I know the punchline. But it still makes me laugh hysterically. 🙂

  2. When my husband and I were in Rome a few years back we had booked a flight out of the airport (bad idea #1) to the island of Sardinia. We weren’t sure what to expect but, since I am SO noodle-esque, it was a spur of the moment decision. We woke up the next morning to a complete power outage – not just the hotel but the entire country of Italy!!! We barely got a cab since the trains weren’t working. At the airport we weren’t even sure if we could get out on a flight and, if we did, if there would be power on the island. We made it out – small plane, crazy Italians, dead dog, whole other story – and the island ended up having power (they get theirs from a totally different line than Italy did) and it was beautiful. We got to spend the last three nights of our vacation basking in the sun. Not too shabby.

  3. Tears in my eyes over this story!! Yesterday I made a big goof in the kitchen and exclaimed “Sh**!” ,only for the child who refuses to develop her language with my prompting, promptly parrot the word for 10 minutes full of giggles. Oh my. And what an adventure for you all, certainly a real test of wills/patience/creativity to say the least!

  4. The best part of this is not so much the swearing, although that’s funny, but that she was so frustrated with her underwear in that way that only three-year-olds can be. Underwear isn’t that complicated. Also, she used the word “panties.” Hee.

  5. That is HILARIOUS about your daughter!! My kids have said it too. Actually, Eli came home from the bus one day and told me that someone wrote the word “FUCK” on the stop sign. I asked him how he knew that was the word, and he spelled it to me (correctly, which shocked me). I then asked him to spell the word “STOP” and he said he didn’t know how. Bahahaha! I shouldn’t laugh, but it was funny.

  6. Pingback: stage fright, you’re not the boss of me. | just begin from here.

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