Yes, folks, even in Paris there are days when all you want to do is tuck inside. Call it what you want: staycation, pajama day, the art of doing nothing. We sometimes find ourselves in a very small sliver of the pie between a huge wedge of people that are here on vacation and the other wedge of long-term residents. The urge (and sometimes guilty feeling) to accomplish something in this City of Light is always very strong. So many museums to see we’ll never, ever get to them all. I subscribe to way too many blogs telling me about the best new restaurants, the new vintage store where you pay by the weight of the clothes you are buying, or the top ten list for just about everything like the Top Ten Terraces. I can’t keep up with all the information so I tuck all those subscribed emails away in a particular folder that is referred to a lot but there is just too much. And sometimes you just don’t want to be a tourist.
In any case, we are on holiday right now which means a full two weeks from school. The kids have quite a bit of homework, though. Each has a French book that had to be read during the break with a test the day they return. Sarah has spent part of each day studying and has her next set of exams the second week of April. And we did fill most of our first week of the holiday in Barcelona. Plus, Tom and I enjoyed a fabulous day on Saturday…a day that reached 65 degrees…strolling and eating our way through what felt like every neighborhood on the East side of the city. We’ve run errands, gone to church, had sleepovers and playdates. So we haven’t been complete slackers.
But this week? Well, we are enjoying doing not much more above the threshold of nothing. Lots and lots of pajama time…lots of reading…lots of Legos…lots of YouTube and music and video games. And since I knew today was a day without anything on the schedule, last night the agenda was created for a Parisian version of an Engle Staycation.
Now typically if I go in to the kids’ room to wake them up on a day when they have nothing to get up for, I’m either met with groans or complete silence. But when I stepped into the dark room today (okay, it wasn’t dark outside…it was already 8:45 and their curtains were drawn…I’m not THAT mean) and whispered, “Good morning! Happy Staycation!” with a little lilt in my voice, I heard a distinct (yet still morning-voice quiet) “Yeah!” from all three. Breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit was already on the table. The sun was shining and everyone enjoyed reviewing the agenda for the day. Oh, we had Arts & Crafts, a mini-dance party, Tom reading “The Hobbit” while the rest of us listened while snuggled back in bed (that was a highlight for them: “We’re reading? Back in bed? In the middle of the morning?” Well, why not?!) We had a little mini photo-shoot (a funny picture that Elizabeth and Julian sent off to some friends) during which Sarah scampered up the street to the bakery for some bread for our lunch. After filling ourselves, we (minus working Tom) headed off on our sortie (field trip) to the Louvre. Because we have an Annual Pass (which is quite fun just to say we have), we will go periodically with no particular agenda in mind. Today we ended up touring Napoleon III’s apartment in the Louvre. It’s slightly larger than our apartment. The audio guides we automatically get with our annual passes are so nice and I am now an advocate of those things everywhere I go. Of course a trip to the Louvre (at least with my kids) must be followed by some shopping in the Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping mall with mostly specialty shops that are fun for window shopping. We have our favorites. We returned home happy that Tom had already been to the market to get the few things we needed for our dinner. Our Cooking Class agenda item was simple for today’s staycation: just lots of peeling and chopping to prepare our weekly soup night. While the soup simmered we had about an hour of Rest & Relaxation which means most people were on electronic devices. And while we were doing so I yelled out, “There’s white smoke!” Yes, we had the Pope Cam going most of the day so instead of our regular Modern Family soup night tradition, we joined millions who were waiting and then watching Pope Francis. Such fun to hear kids to say things like, “We were there! Old Bridge (gelato) is down that street! The Swiss Guard are back! That is where we sat when we saw Pope Benedict! I wonder if Stephanina (our wonderful new Italian friend) is there.” This is exactly why we made the journey: to give our kids these connections to the world…to world events…to our history…to our future. Oh, they won’t remember everything but I hope the good stuff sticks.
So the Pope required us to slightly modify our evening events. We watched Modern Family later, skipped pre-bed yoga and went straight into more of “The Hobbit” and back rubs, just about the best way to end any day. And I had big hugs tonight after prayers as well as a “Thanks, Mom, for the staycation” as I pulled the door shut.