We rented a villa in the Tuscany region in a little village called Casiglion Fiorentino, just outside of Cortona. Braeden was 17 months old, and I was five months pregnant with Raegan.
After enjoying warm nights of al fresco dining and drinking delicious bottles of local wine at our villa, we decided to venture out to a neighborhood restaurant we had heard about from the local grocer.
We pulled into the unpaved lot and saw a large Italian man with a mustache and big bald head unlocking the front door. We were early. He was the owner and, as we came to find out, also the chef.
We noisily situated ourselves at a long rustic table, my eyes were still on the owner. His lack of discretion caught me by surprise. He had pulled off his tee-shirt, revealing a large, hairy belly. With a metal mallet, he started to bang loudly on raw meat laid out on an oversized wooden cutting board.
He now had caught all of our attention, including Braeden’s, who let out a small cry as he reached his arms towards me.
When finished with his tenderizing, the chef put on a white but well-stained chef jacket, picked up his order notebook, and headed our way. He dove confidently in by recommending the special—beef with gravy, mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.
We adopted his recommendation, knowing the meat he was pounding would soon be dripping with gravy from our forks.
Braeden, secure on my lap, looked up at me and giggled. We touched noses as I hugged him closer.
Talking chattily to Sean, I started to notice my thigh getting warm. Oh shit, had we brought the diapers? I gave Sean that knowing look and we headed to the car to assess the damage. Braeden stood in the rocky parking lot, his bottom bare. “Oh-oh,” he said. We couldn’t help but laugh.
In the parking lot we quickly realized what kind of moment we were in: the kind with only two options. Forgo our delicious tuscan dish and make do with what we had to eat back at the villa, or, get really resourceful with what we had available in this moment and make it work.
I walked back into the restaurant to see how resourceful I could be. One of the women from the kitchen greeted me with a smile. In broken Italian I endeavored to explain our situation. It didn’t take much. She laughed and with no words exchanged, followed me to the car.
Taking Braeden into her arms, she confidently walked back into the restaurant. I hesitated for a moment, wondering humbly what her plan might be. I felt a mix of emotions ranging from embarrassment to worry, sprinkled with a healthy dose of gratitude.
I shared her confidence that she would solve our dilemma. Sean seemed unaffected and sat back down to enjoy the vino.
I stood awkwardly by the kitchen entrance. A few minutes later she and Braeden returned—fresh cloth diaper securely fastened, a smiling boy with his bald carrot top head and bright blue eyes searching the room for me.
I reached for him, taking in his fresh scent and warm touch, my gratitude again rising. “Grazie, signora.”
Later that night as I watched Braeden sleep peacefully, I promised to remember tonight. While our little problem, in the scope of life, was small, it was common. No matter where we go in the world we will be surrounded by other families—parents and kids who have many of the same needs we do. While their solutions may differ, they all will work. It was early in our traveling with kids journey, and that brought me peace.
Travel Moment Learning
I often get questions about what supplies or foods a country might offer and if for example, you have a picky eater, what I do. Kids are amazingly adaptable and resilient. They may not love the new diaper you found as it doesn’t quite fit or feel the same, or give you that ‘yuck’ face when they try a new food. But those are not the make or break moments to be worried about. They will quickly reconcile their expectations and I can promise you, will not go hungry.
I want to hear from you!
When have your kids surprised you with their ability to adapt to a new situation?
What convenience do you most worry won’t be available in places you visit? Does this keep you from traveling?
What have been your experiences that have led you to believe you can find whatever you really need when traveling?