By MIA FREEDMAN
You’re Beyonce and when you visit Paris, you can book a private tour of the Louvre so you can walk around in peace. You are happy about this because it means you and your husband Jay-Z can take your 2-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, to see some of the most famous paintings in the world.
Except Blue doesn’t care about the Mona Lisa. She wants to play with the air vent in the floor. So you take pictures of that instead because it’s adorable.
But Social Media are not happy about this. Social Media feel you should not be taking photos of yourselves or your kid in a place like The Louvre. Social Media think you should be experiencing this famous art museum in a different, better, less frivolous way.
Social Media has clearly never taken a child to a historical monument.
I have. And it’s half a day of my life I will never get back. A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be in Italy for our first European Family Vacation. Starting in Rome, I was excited about the prospect of taking our kids (aged 6,8 and 17) to see all the things.
We started with the Colosseum. We also ended with the Colosseum.
What can I tell you….. I have come to the conclusion that children and tourist attractions are not compatible. Not my children anyway. My teenager, of course, was awesome and totally into it. But the little ones not so much.
My son at the Colosseum
I won’t bore you with the details, just the big picture. It was really hot and really crowded. From a kid’s point of view, it’s just a really old falling down building. My 6yo was quite interested in the tales of gladiators but his attention quickly shifted to getting a sword from one of the tourist vendors outside. This became an obsession.
There were a lot of steps to climb.
So the next day at breakfast, when we were looking down the barrel of a pre-arranged tour of the Vatican for which we’d already bought tickets, I began to desperately back-pedal my way out of it.
“I’m not so keen on this whole Vatican business,” I confided to my husband. “Because you know, I’m not a huge fan of the way the Catholic Church has handled child sex abuse cases. Then there are their attitudes towards women and divorce and fertility choices.”
Mia: I survived.
And I do believe all that, I do. But frankly, I was grasping for reasons to pull the pin on what I knew would be a massively massively punishing morning, dragging the kids around the Sistine Chapel and telling them to be quiet and stop whining and no you can’t buy a souvenir and this holiday isn’t about buying things or just having gelato and no, you can’t have another gelato because you already had one today and shhhhhhh, you have to keep your voice down in here and no we can’t go back to the hotel yet and if you’re hot you should take off that ridiculous jumper and didn’t I tell you you’d be too hot if you wore it and no you can carry it yourself there’s no room in my handbag and do you really need another bandaid and no you can’t drink in here you’ll have to wait until we get outside and I don’t know where there’s a bathroom why couldn’t you have gone before we left like I told you to and please stop tormenting your sister and no you may not hit your brother even if he was being mean to you.