Traveling with young kids can be a challenge. They are grumpy little people with short attention spans and not much interest in history or art. So when my wife and I decided to take our kids to Europe for the first time there were many challenges we had to overcome: How do you keep your kids entertained without spending the whole day at places like Chuck E Cheese? How do you avoid eating at places like McDonalds? How do you introduce your children to a world that will be vastly different than the one they are accustomed to? And how do you get from location to location without carrying them everywhere?
I wasn’t sure how I would overcome all of these challenges but I did decide right up front that I was not going to lug a stroller around London and Paris and I was not going to spend my vacation time like a pack mule carrying my kids from location to location, so I did what parents have been doing for centuries, I lied to my kids. It was a simple lie, a beautiful lie, and a lie I would suggest for any American family traveling overseas.
“Did you know it is against the law to carry children in Europe?”
There it is. One day, probably after carrying my kids around Seattle, this little gem popped out of my mouth. At first I really didn’t know how valuable this gem was but if you are a parent you know that carrying a 40 pound kid around for 20 minutes can be tiring, so carrying two kids around Europe for two weeks is not anything any parent wants to do unless they are some kind of super-parent who wants to brag about how great they are. I am not that parent.
Now some of you out there might be skeptical about how well this would work, but let me assure you that once we arrived in London we saw very few children being carried. Most people who live there take their kids in strollers and on the couple occasions we did see children being carried my children actually believed that the parents were breaking the law.
My kids walked everywhere. They were little troopers. They walked to the Tube station, they walked through museums, they walked long distances (okay, we did have to buy a lot of ice cream), but I did not carry my children. Did I have any guilt over this lie? Nope, not a bit. Were there any problems? Well, my daughter did get angry once or twice, but that story is for tomorrow.