Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Morning Visit to Italy

Yesterday, as I was lying on the couch trying to ignore a few pesky contractions, Abigail was thinking. I don't really know what she was thinking about, but she was pondering something. And as any of you who have ever had a conversation with a four-year-old can attest to, she ended up saying something both off-the-charts random and heart-wrenchingly sweet all at once. She looked up at me with those Precious Moments tear-shaped blue eyes, her blond curls pulled back into the most adorable pigtails, and her quizzical brow to ask, "Why can't we go on a airplane and visit Aryn?" Aryn is her cousin, a few months older than her, whose dad (my husband's brother) is in the Navy. They are currently stationed in Naples, Italy. She then asked if we could go to the store to get the plane. I told her airplanes live at airports, and we would have to buy a ticket, which to get to Italy are very expensive.

"And," I added, "you wouldn't want to fly by yourself would you? You'd get lonely. And they don't let mommies with big pregnant tummies on the airplanes."

"But I want to visit Aryn at her house," she sighed. I know, sweetie, I do too.

"I tell you what: Mommy will build a plane in our apartment, and we'll take a trip to Italy tomorrow morning and visit Aryn on the computer, what do you say?" Oh this was going to be fun!

She nodded enthusiastically. We drew a picture of an airplane on our calendar to remind us, not that she would need reminding. She talked about it all night! And the next morning we ate our oatmeal and got dressed quickly and gathered in the bedroom to "pack our bags." I instructed the girls on what they could pack in their carry-on and what they couldn't. They each packed a baby doll and a book in their backpacks, but I told Abi she'd better leave her plastic fireman's axe at home. She looked at me like, "why would I bring that anyway?" So I gave them their tickets and we prepared to board the plane!

The girls went through security with minimal problems (they both set off the metal detector, but it was just Lucie's belt buckle and Abi's flower barrettes). Then, proceeding to their gate, Lucie located our destination on the globe: Italy!

Playing their flight attendant, I took their tickets and showed them to their seats complete with 5-point harnesses! After giving the pre-flight instructions about exits in the event of an emergency (remembering that the nearest exit could be behind you!) we took off!

I served a beverage choice of apple juice or water, and then a snack of popcorn with craisins. The in-flight movie was Tom & Jerry, highlighting "Neapolitan Mouse." We watched for Aryn, but we didn't see her in the streets of animated Napoli :)

When the movie finished (through which the girls stayed strapped in the WHOLE time, even after I told them they were "free to move about the cabin") we watched a YouTube cockpit tour. Abi observed that the cockpit was small and they had small windows. Lucie liked all the light-up switches! Then we flipped through a book and saw how the world looks from an airplane. We located lakes, rivers, cities, farms, and oceans. I pre-screened an airplane landing videotaped from over the wing (I wanted to make sure it wasn't a crash landing) and we strapped ourselves in again for our bumpy landing :) Both girls earned their "wings."

We ate at an Italian restaurant while we "toured" Italy via our honeymoon photos. The girls munched on cheesy pasta while learning about the old buildings in Rome, the white beaches along the Mediterranean, the leaning buildings in Pisa, the Alps in the north, and the streets of water in Venice. Abi could not believe that people there didn't have cars, but drove around in boats instead!
After they finished their pasta, they got a Kinder egg for dessert! I found them in the back of my cupboard, which I believe my dear mother-in-law got for my kids some time ago. I explained that this is a treat that Aryn gets to eat, just like we like to eat Twizzlers and M&Ms.

Lucie got a little dragon inside her egg!

Abi got a little alligator!

After lunch we set up the computer to receive a call via Skype from Aunt Julie and Aryn! The girls sang the ABCs together and Lucie showed Aunt Julie how she can count (3, 11, 12, 11, 12, 11, 12, THE END!). Both mamas sported their respective bumps and held their daughters as best they could in their non-existent laps :) All-too-soon it was time for Aryn's bedtime and Abi & Lulu's naptime. We said "I love you" and "Arrivaderci!" And we returned back to Minneapolis with happy hearts! We had a very nice trip to Italy and back, all in a few hours!


Jenny said...

cute! What a wonderful and fun day! Print this blog post out for the memory books! :)
P.S. Welcome back home!

The Charlebois said...

Brenda, that is just awesome! Think of how much they learned BESIDES all the fun they had. You rock. Good job, mama! :)