Monday, January 14, 2013

Travel Log #9 Soaking it Up and Sucking it Up

The next morning, we got ready and went over to the train station to reserve seats for our train ride to Sweden (see previous post). While at the station, we tried to get lunch at the food court and figured with all the choices we could please everyone. Emerson decided he wouldn’t eat anything except crackers and it dissolved into a huge fight that ended with me dragging him kicking and screaming through the streets of Copenhagen back to our hotel. Normally I would take that kind of Emerson catastrophe into the bathroom for privacy until he cooled down, but once again, we were faced with bathrooms that charge money to be let in.

This kind of meltdown is embarrassing enough when it happens in our regular life, but it was infinitely worse in a crowded city where everybody already talks several decibels lower than the average American (so a heck of a lot quieter than our circus).

By the time I got him back to the hotel, I was shaking with anger and sick to my stomach that this was how we were wasting our one precious day in Copenhagen. In retrospect, this blowup was a long time in coming. He was having an extraordinarily good period for several months and actually won student of the month for his class in December. But as the principal was announcing his name for the award, his teacher was giving him an X for bad behavior. That was the beginning of a not so good period. Traveling, with all the schedule changes and constant pressure to be quiet and well-behaved, further turned him into a little devil who relished every opportunity to cause trouble.

I’d like to say our little blowout was a turn for the better, but honestly his behavior is about the same. But we vented just enough steam for me to step back and realize that trying to make my kids into quiet Scandinavian children was just not going to happen and I needed to reserve my energy for days like this. Maybe the pressure of constantly being with my husband and children for a month straight will improve my parenting in the end. Or maybe we’ll strangle each other. Only time will tell…

Anywho, we salvaged the rest of the day by going to the children’s museum inside the National Gallery. The kids got to be their crazy selves with no restrictions for several hours, including abandoning the Viking ship I thought was completely awesome so they could spend more time cooking in the pretend ancient kitchen. I love that I never know what my children are going to do from one minute to the next.

As we tried to leave the building, we were blocked by cameramen and photographers mobbing a couple who were coming in for a film event in the Gallery. Somewhere on Danish television there is a video of these (unknown to me) celebrities with Emerson in the background complaining about his sleeves being bunched up.

When we finally escaped, we went to Nyhavn (a harbor from the 1600s and the home of Hans Christian Andersen for 18 years) for dinner. Luckily we found an empty (i.e. kid-friendly) café that served great smorrebrod at a good price, so I finally got my wish:

We spent the rest of the night looking at the quaint houses and ornate buildings that would have looked straight out of a postcard if we could have taken pictures in the daytime. I thought Michigan winters were dark with cloudy skies and the sun setting around 5. But the skies here were just as cloudy and the sun set around 3. So here’s Copenhagen at night:

It was a short stop and we only touched on a few of the city’s highlights, but it was well worth it. Screaming kids and all.

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