Traveling with kids: Never teach them the local language

Lots of different trips, lots of different places, dozens of countries and towns and cities but one thing is certain…

England is my favorite.

Maybe it’s that this is the first place we’ve traveled where I spoke the language and didn’t feel like an idiot every time I opened my mouth. Believe me, that gets old. It was like they were impressed that I could communicate with an American accent and apparently all Americans are from Texas. Most other countries we visit I feel like an uneducated interloper because I can’t communicate. I actually conversed with the natives on this trip, it was amazing.

Then again, I realized that having kids that speak the local language in public isn’t such a great thing.

Frequently heard phrases from the children on this trip:

“I wish I was the only one in our family,” “Can I have some candy?” “Why did we have to bring her?” “Did you buy any candy?” “No, it’s MY turn to hold Mommy’s hand!” “I think I’m gonna throw up…” “I need to use the bathroom right NOW!” “I think I pooped my pants a little,” “He sneezed on me again!” “Don’t puke on me!” “Who ate all the candy?”

This trip was epic. Mostly because all four kids rotated through the three-day, coming-out-of-both-ends, possibly candy related, flu. We threw a lot of undies away on this trip. By the end I think every kid had ruined at least two pair and no way was I carting those babies around with us. We stayed at 5 hotels on this trip and the children christened each one with vomit. This bug would not let up, it followed us all the way home and then some.

On day 6 we finally made it to London. Our first stop was the much anticipated¬†Wicked matinee. Up to this point Jason and I had both been exempt from said flu but let’s just say the show really moved me. During the intermission I had to run to the bathroom. Unfortunately so did 200 other females including my two little daughters. The bathroom was wall to wall people waiting for a stall and I needed a little…privacy.

I made June use the next stall over but Georgia was having none of it so she had to follow me in. After a moment she started to converse with me.

“Mama,” Georgia (3) says really loudly, “I think you gots DY-AH-WEE-AH…”

“Georgia, shhh!!”

“What? I can heew youw DY-AH-WEE-AH and…ooh!!! I can thmew youw DY-AH-WEE-AH! That is weawy thtinky!”

“Georgia, stop!”


“Mom!?” June (6) trying to get in, BAM BAM BAM “Are you STILL in there? You’ve been in there for HOURS!”

“SHE GOTS DY-AH-WEE-AH JUNIE! Wemembew that I had DY-AH-WEE-AH too?!”

“Oh!” June yells back, “We ALL had diarrhea this week Georgia, not just YOU! I had it FIRST!” Because obviously this is something to be proud of.

We might have missed the beginning of the second act so I could escape with a little dignity.

That was Rex’s worst day of flu. At dinner a gentleman asked, “So where are you from?”

Rex (8) leans really close and says, “We’re from Germany, but I’ve got the flu. I threw up twice today!”

“Ah,” I quickly interrupted and kind of lied my head off. “We had a long car trip, he gets really car sick.” This is true, Rex does get car sick and we were in the car a lot. I reminded the kids again to not talk about such things in public.

Waste of breath.

That night on the Tube it was wall to wall people and no one would give up a seat for our family. 35 minutes crammed in like sardines meant I couldn’t get close enough to supervise this conversation. Clustered around one center pole, they were the only ones talking out loud and they all inherited my vocal projection gene so I’m pretty sure everyone heard it.

“Boy,” Rex says, “I sure had that flu bug today! I threw up two times!”

“Yeah,” June says, “But I had the flu FIRST. I puked all over the bathroom in our cabin, remember? AND I pooped two pairs of undies!”

“Hey guys,” Harry (10) says, “Remember last night when I barfed up all that McDonald’s food? McDonald’s queso!”


And the fun didn’t stop there.

Right when you think your kids can’t embarrass you any more…they do. The next night on the tube I sat next to a nice English girl, not overly attractive, with Georgia on my lap. I struck up a conversation and we chatted for about 15 minutes when Georgia finally started to get friendly.

“Wow,” the girl says, “She’s such a nice little girl!”

“Thanks,” I proudly agreed, “She’s a sweetheart, she really gives us no trouble.”

“Yes,” Georgia importantly piped in addressing the girl, “And I think you fowgot to bwush youw teeth today!”

Silence. Horrible, awful silence. I kind of wanted to die and I’m pretty sure the girl with the yellow teeth wanted to die as well.

I suddenly remembered all those “funny” Little Annie stories my mother tells and for the first time, they weren’t very funny.

Needless to say I was completely relieved that the doors opened and she gave me a hasty farewell.

Traveling with kids. Such a kill and such a joy.