We survived, we enjoyed, we relaxed on our vacation with kids

maria milojković
Oct 5, 2018 · 7 min read
How to enjoy the place, the kids, and the limited screen time on vacation

Two weeks ago we got back from the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia (Cephalonia).

My 4-year-olds had the time of their lives — splashing through the water, eating ice cream for dinner, and playing with local girls in a tavern. They also got the kick out of spreading wet sand over my back.

Our happy vacationing family

I’m more of a “See the fountains and the Spanish Steps“ kind of person. But you really can’t go to a museum without it being a torture to someone, so you opt for the seaside without works of art or drunk adolescents in the streets.

It was all beer and skittles (among all those British sexagenarians) until a language barrier occurred. Then our boy was forced to make a complaint about the host’s impertinence:

“Dad, this girl speaks Greek letters.“

But the vacation generally went on smoothly.

Except that one day someone’s partner got a sunstroke and collapsed on a beach bed like a walrus. Unable to move and with a large bag of ice on his head. With the kids wanting to run into the water at all costs. Then one felt as if she had defecated and there was no clean pair of panties to put on.

(From left to right) A park, pretty nails, and snails

But these troubles are all simple as ABC compared to last year when we spent 1 day at the beach. And the rest in an isolated hotel treating ear infection and a barking cough.

So, this time we just laid back and enjoyed their imaginations.

Their observations sometimes made deep impressions on us. Such as the one regarding the rock composition of the terrain:

“Mommy, look, this beach is made of brick!“

“It sure is, hon.“

A beach made of brick

My mind tranquilized among cicadas chirp occasionally interrupted by a motorbike buzzing down the local road.

From our balcony we enjoyed the blue sea and conifers oozing that fresh smell which the consumer industry never really learned how to copy. The Kefalonian vegetation is lush — firs, pines, olive groves, oranges, cactuses, some incredible flowery bushes (someone must have stolen the smell and put it into perfumes), and who knows what else teasing your nostrils from the backyards.

(Left to right) A beautiful gate, the sea, and just some flowers

The flora reminded me of Corfu from Gerald Durrell’s beautiful book “My family and other animals“ (read it, you really must if you love nature and a good sense of humor).

Pine cones having a ball

One day, as we walked down the steep and narrow pathway to the beach among the pines, the sight of needles on the ground reminded me of my own summer breaks in Croatia. I raised my head to see the cones clustering above us:

“God, how many cones are there on this tree!“

My daughter built it all up: “Mom, it’s as if they’d come to a party. It’s somebody’s birthday and they are up there waiting for a cake.“

Very soon, she took the initiative of admiring the seaside surrounding:

“Mom, I really like those stairs!“

Emergency evacuation stairs in all their beauty

One could say they were common hotel stairs in case of evacuation. But one really doesn’t know shit about fuck then.

Kids are so precious. They see beauty in a clothes peg.

In the evening, we would walk to Argostoli — the capital of Kefalonia, 2 kilometers away from our accommodation. I always had just one aim in mind — to set off on the road before dusk to avoid tight curves with no sidewalk. I would hurry them up to get dressed. One day my little girl took the initiative (again) while we were still in the bedroom:

“Hurry up, guys. It will get dark soon, and I can see a curve coming.“

Children can get it that time and space are the same, we can’t.

(Left) A bus and a truck; (right) a self-portrait: he and she

With kids everything is magical. Sometimes you get astounded at seeing things from new angles, such as noticing a line of cars on the road:

“Mom, look, these cars are like some kind of little choo choo trains.“

They can see what our eyes are incapable of perceiving. Sometimes amid discussion their sentence will easily win an argument:

“A mosquito has blue eyes and no hair. And it also has hair.“

(Left) a park — kids, swings, and a slide; (middle) a hand and a wrist watch; (right) an elevator

They are also really resourceful when they want to continue what they’re doing.

One time they were watching children’s songs on the phone for over an hour. They had seen it all from “Patitos Cua, Cua, Cua“ (the 5 little duckies deserve a Grammy), to “Un Éléphant qui se Balançait” (elephants swinging on a spider web), to “Down by the Bay“. We play them different languages like all nouveaux bourgeois who believe a child should learn a new language every year (not really; there are just not that many beautiful Serbian songs in animation).

We wanted to take them to a grocery store to change the dynamics of the day and prevent the destructive boredom, so I suggested:

“Let’s go to the grocery store. Daddy’s hungry, let’s buy something to eat.“

He: “No, we’re staying.“

She: “Mommy, all you wanna do is go shopping.“

Mommy has 4 identical H&M dresses and 4 identical C&A cardigans in different colors because she doesn’t know what fits anymore (Sup, Mark Zuckerberg). And always ends up in the kid’s department which is much more fun.

An unknowing soul creating bare-handed in the sand

Of course, on vacation, you cannot but have a meltdown or two.

Apparently, you must tie the boy down so that he does not stomp on a sandcastle a poor man is building with his bare hands. Lying in a hole, he was completely unaware of the looming danger of a little foot. So, we tied the boy to the tree and they nearly deported us.

Sometimes parents also decompensate.

Returning from the beach, we go up the steep narrow street. The sun is burning (like 95 degrees), we are trying to get to the nearest shade. With our beach bags full of wet towels and accessories in one hand, each one is dragging a kid with the other.

And then we heard “Footloose“ from the nearest tavern and I swear you Kevin Bacon was wiggling and dancing with us on the hot concrete.

Food porn with cheap lighting, but still a porn (of course, my partner was like: “WFT are you doing?!” but I decided to be a documentarian :))

What can I tell you? The moment has come at last — my kids are 4, I am finally able to pluck my eyebrows and write. When they are in the other room. Or not sick.

And I managed to enjoy eating local dishes with them, uttering all the linguistic expressions reserved for good food:

“Oh, my God. Mmmm… This is so… Ah…“

Yes, food is really important. Richard Gere backed me up on this when he told Winona that “Food is the only beautiful thing that truly nourishes“.

So, I was in my own little heaven in a tavern chewing and enjoying the sight of a Greek family: between two orders the hostess sat down and helped her daughter write homework two tables away from us.

Parenting at work everywhere.

How to serve ice cream with patriotism & takeaway food with hospitality to get tourists back home with joy

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maria milojković

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Serbian translator, children’s author, content marketer, twin mom, MA - posts about life and writing; find me at https://mariamilojkovic.com/

Athena Talks

A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.