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So my dad has hightailed it out of here.

Actually, I think they had to pry the cappuccino cup out of his hand as he boarded his flight from Rome to New York.

He was sad to go and the girls already miss their Tommy-Tom. Yes, my dad passed over “grandpa”, “gramps” and “pop pop” and instead asked to be called “Tommy -Tom.” At least his real name his Tom. Because if it was Bart, then I might have balked at the request.

It’s definitely not the same around here without our Barty-Bart, I mean Tommy-Tom.

My dad is the kind of guy who travels with bungee cords and a flashlight (you know, just in case). I had a laugh over that until we had an extended black-out in our little Italian town the night AFTER he left. Rick and I used the DVD player (with the Elmo DVD on mute) for light. Yeah, that flashlight would have been totally helpful. Why are parents (ours, not us) so smart like that?

Meanwhile, I am completely fascinated by Italian toddlers. First of all, their Italian is better than mine which sort of irritates me.

Secondly, they are so damn calm. And well behaved. They just chill out in their strollers while my kids tear around the piazza like gelato fueled wind up toys.

Are Italian children just more mellow? Are they drinking wine? Are they depressed? I just can’t figure it out.

And they look so pressed and clean.

My American girls? Grubby, grubby ladies. Happy. But very grungy.

I was hoping little Miss Summer might start to embrace the joys of cleanliness over here.

That girl is not a lover of grooming.

She hates baths. Despises showers. Dislikes hair brushing. Abhors nail clipping. Dreads diaper changing. She’s even protesting her pony tails now.

I know it’s all just a phase but I keep telling her, there are better things to sob over than clean fingernails.

And that’s not the only poignant tidbit I dolled out recently.

I offered these wise words to my girls tonight.

“Never eat anything you find in some random basket.”

Turns out Summer was just munching on some very old fusilli (she found in a random basket). But still, I think it’s sound advice for anyone.

19 Responses to then there were four

  • Cathy says:

    Italians vs Americans–who the hell knows why they are more laid back than we are. My dad moved from Bari to Denver when he was 21, and he’s extremely anal. Maybe he subconcisously moved to the US b/c he knew he’d fit in here more!

  • Jennifer H says:

    What if the thing that makes Italians mellow IS eating food from random baskets? It’s worth considering…

    No, you’re right. I’m going with what you said.

    It’s the wine.

  • Jessi says:

    Hope Tommy-Tom has a safe trip home. How long are you and the family in Italy for?
    I have a 2 yr old who LOVES dirt. Will find loose dirt in any random spot outside and be right in it. But as soon as he realizes it has made him dirty, he’s freaking out and begging to go wash his hands. (I’ll share a video with you via email when you get home – remind me;))
    Some days I wish he would like to be a little dirty for just a little while so we can all enjoy the moment. Wanna trade temperaments for a little while? Oh wait, nevermind, he doesn’t mind his nails being clipped & cleaned;)
    Have more fun in Italy!

  • Sandrine says:

    watch these baskets I remember being in Firenze and getting little breads from some
    very generous Hari Krishna guys and being surprisingly very light headed that evening!!!!

  • Lanie says:

    Hope that your dad had a good trip back – he probably did not have quite as much luggage on the way home. . .Will Rick take over as Sherpa?

  • Julia says:

    That is sound advice…I offer up another part that I wish my boy would take “If the dog has been chewing on it or has brought it home, don’t put it in your mouth.” Common sense, you’d think!

    I love Tommy-Tom. I have been trying to get my parents to come up with their grandparent names, but they refuse. I think they better watch out, because the kids can be creative!

  • francine Kasen says:

    My kids don’t even have significant others, yet alone babies, and I have MY grandparent name all picked out! SLIM!

  • Raz says:

    From my experience, of having 3 Italian cousins, it’s probably wine.

    Actually, I think they’re not as chilled as pure-bred Italians (having 2 English parents, but living in Italy), but only because of the influence of Teletubbies.

    I HATED baths when I was younger, too. I grew out of it at about 13. Is that bad? Or discouraging? I’m sorry for either.

  • Milena says:

    You are going to think this is funny but before my son was born, i always used to say that he was going to be as neat and pressed as a little Spanish or Italian boy. Have you noticed how they carry their cardigans over their shoulders just so, and they wear little red shorts and still look like manly little men even though they wear brightly colored clothes? Well I wanted that and I’ve achieved it. At least, for all of the 5 minutes after I’ve finished dressing him. Yes, that’s about right. 5 minutes max and that’s it. After that, he’s into the bum and homeless with a dash of hippie look. Caked on dirt optional. i don’t know how parents over on the other side of the pond manage to have their unnaturally clean children. Something shifty is going on. Missing you.

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kelcey kintner