Mishaps: Our Not-Exactly-Perfect Italian Adventure

Thrifty Travel Mama | Our Not-Exactly-Perfect Italian AdventureOkay, this is my LAST Italy post, and then I’ll shut up… promise!

When I post personal vacation pictures from our travels, I often get comments about how great it is that we travel the world.  And it is…. and, it’s not.

We are so, SO blessed to have this experience.  It’s awesome to pack up the kids and head to Italy for two weeks.  However, I just want to bring things down to earth, and share some of the utter chaos that often accompanies us when traveling as a family.

What follows is a short recap of our mishaps – the Italian edition.

Saturday… 330am

We wake the kids up in the middle of the night in order to knock out several hours of driving while they sleep.  We discover that Big Foot has a massive squidgy poo in his pants.  Annoying, but this is life with a baby, right?
Somewhere between Basel and the infamous Gotthard Tunnel, the poor thing has another blowout.  This one is even more epic and reminiscent of the early infant days, creeping its way up all over every possible surface within a six inch radius, including his car seat that conveniently does not have a washable cover…
And we wondered why he only slept about ten minutes of the first 3 hours of driving.  Huh.

Saturday… 330pm

By this time, we have been sitting in standstill traffic on the Italian highway for nearly three hours longer than expected.  We can’t exit the highway because the rest stops are clogged with other travelers escaping the eternal gridlock, and we are about to go bonkers listening to the bored boys in the backseat… screaming, crying, fighting, tired.

Saturday… 830pm

We realize that due to the morning’s unforeseen fecal fiasco, we seem to have forgotten the older boys’ stuffed animals that they sleep with every night.


Screech is playing in the yard in front of our villa, being creative with the available materials.  He pretends the gravel is chicken and stuffs it in the stone grill.  He rips the unripe pears off the tree and uses them to bomb the “bad guys.”
He then picks up a terra cotta vase that is used to decorate the yard.  As I warn him not to use the (ancient? irreplaceable? collectible?) artifact,  he promptly drops it like a hot potato and laughs as it smashes to bits.  There goes our security deposit…


In Siena, T-Rex tumbles head first down a flight of stone steps.  He lands on his face, bruising his nose and knocking three front teeth loose.  I have nothing more to say on this since I’m still *slightly* traumatized.


Doc Sci tries to hop onto the swing where I am sitting on the playground just outside Pienza, and splits the front of his one good pair of shorts wide open.  Daily photo ops are now over.
Later that evening, I am doing cartwheels with T-Rex in the front yard when I accidentally kick him square in the mouth, in the exact spot where he had injured his teeth the day before… I could not have aimed more perfectly if I’d tried.


The boys have managed to break half of the pool toys we brought along, including two brand new super squirters.  In just a few more days, they will have managed to reduce every last pool toy – literally – to pieces.


Despite our harrowing experience the previous Saturday, we decide to risk taking the highway for a short distance between Chianti and a pit stop near Pistoia.  We have not learned our lesson… and endure an unnecessary hour in standstill traffic.


I leave my brain by the pool instead of taking it with me to Firenze.  I grab the wrong paper map, fail to pre-load my “Tuscany with Kids” Google map on my phone, and forget the Frommers guidebook in the car.
We know our way to Brunelleschi’s Dome.. but after that?  No clue.  We wasted hours (hours!!) looking for a wifi spot in order to revive the map and trip notes on my phone.
I could go on, but you get the idea.  Life with kids is unpredictable and wonky in the best of circumstances; traveling with them just takes the pandemonium up a notch (or ten).
May our mishaps serve as the catalyst to bring contentment to the place you’re currently at (traveling or not) and anchor your dreams to reality (traveling with kids is only done by crazy people).
Got any good traveling-with-kids horror stories?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below!Signature-Marigold

13 thoughts on “Mishaps: Our Not-Exactly-Perfect Italian Adventure

  1. Seriously laughing out loud! I laughed most with the parental mishap on the Doc Sci’s shorts because the parents usually sacrifice the suitcase space for the millions of changes of clothes and kid accessories so I know the one good pair is like gold. I usually feel worst on the longer trip when someone runs their chocolate covered hand down the front of my jeans knowing that we don’t have time to wash or dry anything within the next 48 hours. Your adventures are great ones. Thank you for sharing and reminding us that life happens in all places and in all ways!

  2. I think the worst part about looking for wifi in Firenze is that it said all over the city, Free Wifi. Free 2 hours of Wifi anywhere in the city… yeah right. IF, you speak Italian, and IF you can somehow manage to navigate their rediculous website that doesn’t care you are on a smart phone and the screen is tiny.
    Resize the font??? why do that? use a tiny box that is unclickable by normal sized fingers.. sounds great!! Oh, were you not trying to highlight the text underneath said box… sorry about that..
    If you can’t tell I am still not over it.

  3. Horror stories… how about the time when we at the end of a 6 week holiday were about to board the 13 hr flight home at midnight, and our then 1 yo started to vomit so heavily, literally at the gate, that we were bumped off the plane and rushed to the hospital? 48 hrs later he was cleared for the flight (48 hrs with not too much sleep nor clean clothes for anyone, and credit cards temporaly frozen due to a fuck up of the insurance company), we got on the plane, and then my husband got sick…

    • Wow, that belongs in the hall of shame – that’s awful! It seems whenever we travel, one of the kids always throws up or gets crazy diarrhea. But we’ve never had to go to the hospital because of it. Sheesh!

    • I called our dentist in Germany the day after the second blow, and she said if he is not in pain (he wasn’t) and the teeth weren’t cracked, that we probably could wait until we got home. When he finally saw a dentist 2 weeks later, she said they looked okay and she recommended letting them fall out naturally. So far, they’re still wobbling on!

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