The other day Elspeth looks me in the eye and says “I can’t wait to be an adult.” Gauging from the smirk on her face, I don’t believe her for a second - but I play along. “Really. Why?” I ask. “Because I want to drink wine! And coffee!!” She cracks herself up laughing. I reassure her that being a child is infinitely better and we need to do those things to bring back the imagination and energy levels of our inner child.
I didn’t think too much about the wine reference until I overhear it being integrated into their games, in lieu of tea parties presumably, at home, fom the backseat of the car, and in other public spaces, much to the amusement of passing tourists. I note that we have been eating at restaurants 2-3 times a day for the entire time we have been in Italy, so quite a lot of wine has been consumed at dinner #andcoughlunch. I vow to run a corrective course of action on this habit, and hopefully influence theirs, when we are back in Australia. Because I am not doing it when the house red is consistently fucking amazing.
This is actually really long. Sorry.
Meanwhile. We have been using a star chart to encourage positive behaviour from the children. One of the behaviours is “being engaged.”
Tonight we discovered a quaint restaurant, walls lined in black and white art photography, and shelves of wine. Matisse points out the exceptionally massive bottles and wants to know if they are full or empty.
I have also been encouraging her to be brave and speak confidently to strangers - rather than stick her fists in her mouth - so when the waiter comes back, I let him know that my daughter has a question. She sits up and asks him in a delightful voice “I would like to know if those really big wine bottles are full of wine? or empty?” Bravo. They are 15L bottles, but fortunately for the liver, they are empty.
Karl seizes the moment to bring out the chart and give her a star for being engaged. Then I realise that she isn’t the only one exhibiting engaging behaviour. The couple beside us are trying to contain a mixture of laughter and disgust at the classless parents celebrating their child for her keen interest in the largest vessels of wine available.
Thankfully the food arrives and I make the kids eat some lettuce to show that I possess 1% class. Then Elspeth starts enthralling us with a story. And my favourite part went exactly like this.
”The MUM, she drank ALL THE WINE! So then they had to buy... a bottle of HOUSE RED! But it turns out, that it was MOULDY. So they gave it to their pet crocodile to drink.”
Ah, good old mould. The endemic in our house a few wet seasons ago has clearly scarred the kids with a lifelong association between the words “mould” and “house.” I only noticed now.
Our english speaking neighbours got another star for their intrigue in this literary feast; wine, house red, a mother, mould and crocodiles. Who is surprised to see the three year old churning out this first class narrative after her older sister gets applauded for asking about the availability of vats of wine? Not me.
Moments later, Matisse asks another compelling question, “How do they make wine glasses?” Not normal glasses, which we have never had a line of enquiry about, not even when we were on Murano and they were blowing colourful glass.
If they paint all Australian parents with the same brush, I will feel vindicated. Accomplished even.
Children obtaining cultural insights from travelling: 10/10.
Since this is meant to be a photography site, here are some pictures of the restaurant. Sadly I didn’t take a loving portrait of the 15L bottles under the watchful gaze of the other guests in the restaurant.
I did photograph the pizza.
Which is hindsight, is probably worse. I have eaten at least 100 pizzas in Eatily and the concoction below is my favourite; bresaola, parmesan and rocket on a mozzarella and olive oil base. Whoever can recreate this for me in Australia gets to have my next unborn child. Droooooool.
And yes. That is Matisse sucking on lemons. She has done it ever since we did the lemon trick on her as an infant.